Can my soon-to-be ex-spouse waive any claim to my FERS annuity?

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I took optional retirement in 2015 and have been collecting. I will be filing for divorce early in 2020. We’re trying to be cordial and only retain the services of an attorney to draw up the final documents. From comments here, I believe that he can waive any claim to my annuity, but he has bar stool lawyers telling him it’s not up to him – it’s mandated by law.

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 9)
Asked on December 30, 2019 7:08 pm
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Answers (15)

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When you retired, did you elect a survivor benefit for him or did he waive his rights to that benefit?

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Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 586)
Answered on December 30, 2019 7:25 pm
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We took 25%

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Answered on December 30, 2019 9:23 pm
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We took 25%

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Answered on December 30, 2019 9:23 pm
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Absolutely you can agree to no survivor annuity. When the divorce is final you will a copy of the decree to OPM and they will cease taking the 5% cost from your pension.

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Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 586)
Answered on December 31, 2019 2:08 pm
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So here’s a crazier question. Is there a way for him to waive claim while I’m alive but still get the survivor’s benefit if I die? I’m not worried about the 5%. We’re just agreeing that he won’t take any portion of my pension after the divorce. There isn’t much there to begin with, so half barely leaves me enough to cover my health benefits.

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 9)
Answered on December 31, 2019 2:38 pm
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So here’s a crazier question. Is there a way for him to waive claim while I’m alive but still get the survivor’s benefit if I die? I’m not worried about the 5%. We’re just agreeing that he won’t take any portion of my pension after the divorce. There isn’t much there to begin with, so half barely leaves me enough to cover my health benefits.

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 9)
Answered on December 31, 2019 2:38 pm
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Private answer

So here’s a crazier question. Is there a way for him to waive claim while I’m alive but still get the survivor’s benefit if I die? I’m not worried about the 5%. We’re just agreeing that he won’t take any portion of my pension after the divorce. There isn’t much there to begin with, so half barely leaves me enough to cover my health benefits.

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 9)
Answered on December 31, 2019 2:38 pm
0
Private answer

So here’s a crazier question. Is there a way for him to waive claim while I’m alive but still get the survivor’s benefit if I die? I’m not worried about the 5%. We’re just agreeing that he won’t take any portion of my pension after the divorce. There isn’t much there to begin with, so half barely leaves me enough to cover my health benefits.

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 9)
Answered on December 31, 2019 2:38 pm
0
Private answer

So here’s a crazier question. Is there a way for him to waive claim while I’m alive but still get the survivor’s benefit if I die? I’m not worried about the 5%. We’re just agreeing that he won’t take any portion of my pension after the divorce. There isn’t much there to begin with, so half barely leaves me enough to cover my health benefits.

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 9)
Answered on December 31, 2019 2:38 pm
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Yes, taking your pension while you are living is called an apportionment. He can be awarded the survivor benefit without receiving an apportionment. Everything must be clear in the decree.

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Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 586)
Answered on December 31, 2019 2:46 pm
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That’s great news! Thank you!

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Answered on December 31, 2019 2:49 pm
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That’s great news! Thank you!

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 9)
Answered on December 31, 2019 2:49 pm
I cannot find the suggested language in the handbook to clearly indicate that he is declining any portion of my annuity, and also now any survivor's benefit. Can you direct me to the correct place in the handbook so I can include it in our settlement agreement?
( at June 16, 2020 5:43 pm)
Also, I keep coming across a reference that says he cannot be awarded less than $1, and any award less than that will be considered $1. Thank you.
( at June 16, 2020 5:57 pm)
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There is no need to expressly state that he is not being awarded a survivor annuity. For annuitants, OPM requires language to expressly award a survivor annuity, so if an order is silent to the survivor annuity, it means there isn't one.

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Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 586)
Answered on June 16, 2020 8:17 pm
Thank you. That would explain why I couldn't find any model paragraphs. So if we simply do not mention the annuity or survivor benefits, the default is that there is no award. And my annuity will automatically be adjusted to stop paying for the survivor benefit? Is there harm to state something along the lines of "there is no award from the FERS annuity or survivor benefit" so that it is expressly stated? We were married for 30 years and all of my federal service. If he chooses to apply for health coverage, does he still need to have the survivor's benefit? This coverage is his most expensive option, but the easiest for him so he may decide to do it, at least in the short run while he looks for something else.
( at June 17, 2020 12:21 am)
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Private answer

In this particular situation, the less said the better so that OPM doesn’t misinterpret what you are wanting! The survivor annuity you elected, and he agreed to, at retirement, is voided by the issuance of the decree of divorce. On the date the decree is issued, the survivor annuity ends. However, you still need to send a certified copy of your decree to OPM, along with a request letter, so that OPM can stop reducing your annuity for the cost of a survivor annuity. Don't worry if it takes OPM some time to make the adjustment, because they will make the adjustment retroactive to the date of the decree. If you do not leave him a survivor annuity, he cannot continue your FEHB. He can file under TCC, Temporary Conversion of Coverage, for up to 36 months, but the cost is substantially higher than regular FEHB coverage.

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Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 586)
Answered on June 17, 2020 1:53 pm
Is there a document in which you can see the current value of a FERS? Is that value held separate from TSP value?
( at June 24, 2020 1:54 pm)
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Private answer

I am not sure what you are asking. On the leave and earning statement there is a box showing your contributions to FERS from your current agency however that is not the basis of how your retirement is calculated. You need to ask your HRO for a retirement estimate.

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Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 586)
Answered on June 24, 2020 2:02 pm