Is divorce considered new qualifying event?

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Retired from USPS in 2001 on CSRS. Married in 2002. Didn’t elect survivor benefits for spouse at that time (my mistake.) Now considering divorce. Is divorce considered new qualifying event? Can I elect survivor benefits for soon to be ex-spouse after divorce? OPM info unclear; reps unclear too…

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Posted by (Questions: 1, Answers: 1)
Asked on August 28, 2017 6:50 pm
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No, a divorce is not considered a qualifying event for electing a survivor benefit. You had two years after the marriage to elect a survivor benefit for the newly acquired spouse. Since you did not make an election within OPM’s timeframe, you cannot elect one at this time. Upon your divorce, the divorce decree will document what will and will not be divided. Please see Chapter 52 of the CSRS FERS Handbook. Since you did not indicate whether you are CSRS or FERS, start on page 20. https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/csrsfers-handbook/c052.pdf

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Answered on August 28, 2017 8:52 pm

Thank you. I’m the OP and on CSRS retirement, as stated above. I’ve actually tried to wade through that OPM retirement booklet and it’s like reading foreign stereo instructions for this old geezer. I just read thru the entire section you referred, for CSRS, and I still don’t see the answer you provided or know what it said. But thanks for the information and the answer. I wish OPM reps at the phone desk were ask clear.

( at August 29, 2017 10:35 pm)
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My apology for missing that you are CSRS. Let me see if I can clarify…having been in HR for 28 years, it is still difficult to interpret everything OPM has to say. FYI, in 2000 OPM announced they were going to re-write the retirement handbook in plain English…we are all still waiting. With respect to your original question, on page 18 of the above chapter it states that you had 2 years from the date of marriage to elect a survivor benefit for a spouse acquired after retirement. Then on page 20 it states IF you had a survivor benefit election in place and that marriage ends, you can elect to continue that election within 2 years after the marriage ends. If I am reading your question correctly, you never had a survivor benefit in place therefore your eligibility to elect a survivor benefit for your current or your possibly soon to be former spouse does not exist. Loophole…if you divorce and remarry, you can elect a survivor benefit for her at that time but check out the cost, they go back to the day you retired and make you pay as if you had been married on the day you retired. That information can be found on the bottom of page 18 and top of page 19. I hope this is clearer.

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Answered on August 29, 2017 11:20 pm