Former spouse retirement benefits of CSRF vs FERS

Answer Question

Jill had been married to (and had 4 children with) Jack for 12 years before getting divorced. Jack subsequently worked at a Naval Yard until retirement and either enrolled in CSRF or FERS. What kind of retirement benefits is Jill entitled to under the two systems? Jill learned that Jack was able to opt out of SS – does that indicate Jack enrolled in CSRF?

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 0)
Asked on September 14, 2018 2:01 pm


Private answer

Your question is very vague which makes responding difficult. However, here are some statements of fact which will hopefully answer your questions. Employees with the federal government are not able to elect to “opt out” of Social Security coverage. If the employee was first hired prior to January 1, 1984, they were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) which is a single defined benefit and is not covered by Social Security and if first hired after December 31, 1983, they would be covered by FERS which does have a Social Security component. Of course, the rules are never that cut and dried but for the most part these facts apply as stated. In the event of a divorce, the Court Order Acceptable for Processing must award a former spouse either a portion of the annuity when the former employee retires and/or a survivor benefit. If the decree did not award anything to the former spouse, then they are not entitled to anything from the federal retirement system. And, if I read your question correctly, “Jack” did not begin working at the Naval Yard until after the divorce, so how could “Jill” expect to receive a benefit from a retirement earned after their divorce?

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Posted by (Questions: 0, Answers: 589)
Answered on September 14, 2018 2:32 pm