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Federal Employees Benefits Q &A

Do you have questions about your federal employee CSRS or FERS pension/annuity or federal employee retirement planning? Concerns about your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account or what about federal employee pay and leave issues?

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The Q&A forum is moderated by Ed Zurndorfer -- an expert on federal employee benefits -- and a Certified Financial Planner, chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant in Maryland.

Zurndorfer is also the author of several federal employee benefits guides published by Federal Employees News Digest.

Your question will be put into a message queue and submitted for review. We cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered, however any answered questions will appear below, and some will also be featured in our daily Federal Daily e-newsletter (Subscribe here). Federal Soup users should not submit replies to the questions posted, as we leave the replies for the moderator only. Any replies to questions other than the moderator will be deleted.

Please do not submit employee benefits questions to the webmaster or the forum moderator.

Note: FederalSoup.com has attempted to compile information that is as accurate and current as possible for federal employees. Federal policies, laws, regulations, statistics and addresses continually change. Therefore, no warranties are made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this column. If additional clarification or information is needed, it is suggested that competent and professional assistance be sought. Mr. Zurndorfer does not moderate other forums on FederalSoup and will not reply to general FederalSoup inquiries submitted in this Q&A forum.

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Dazed & Confused  
#1 Posted : Thursday, March 14, 2019 9:02:06 AM(UTC)

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I was divorced in Nov. 1996 with an order granting my ex about 23% of my retirement (CSRS). It has always been my understanding that if she dies that 23% would automatically revert back to me. I recently heard that this is not the case. Could you please clear this up for me.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#2 Posted : Thursday, May 09, 2019 4:44:26 PM(UTC)

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Do not know where you read that upon the death of your ex, the portion of your CSRS annuity (23 percent) going to your ex does not revert to you. Consider the 23 percent of your CSRS annuity going to your ex as alimony. By law, when the alimony payee dies, the alimony payor ceases payment. In your case, this means the 23 percent of your CSRS annuity reverts back to you.
Dazed & Confused  
#3 Posted : Sunday, May 12, 2019 3:22:30 PM(UTC)

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Thank you Ed. I did end up calling OPM because I forgot how to find this post and your response. They confirmed what you said.
SD Analyst  
#4 Posted : Monday, May 20, 2019 3:43:23 PM(UTC)
SD Analyst

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You may want to read the publication on OPM's website, "Court-Ordered Benefits for Former Spouses," RI84-1, at: https://www.opm.gov/reti...rms/pamphlets/ri84-1.pdf

Many QDRO's do not meet OPM's requirements. The court order has to be sent to OPM and they have to accept it, called a "Court Order Acceptable for Processing." If Survivor Benefits (what happens to the former spouse's portion of the annuity upon their death) are not specified (and done correctly), they may not be valid. I would suggest you have your Attorney read the OPM Handbook RI38-116, Handbook for Attorneys on Court-ordered Retirement, Health Benefits and Life Insurance."
https://www.opm.gov/reti...s/pamphlets/ri38-116.pdf
Ed Zurndorfer  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, May 22, 2019 2:40:16 AM(UTC)

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Thank you for your input into this forum.
Dazed & Confused  
#6 Posted : Thursday, May 23, 2019 2:06:58 AM(UTC)

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SD Analyst - Thank You for your response. I will check with an attorney in case I outlive the ex.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#7 Posted : Thursday, May 23, 2019 2:12:45 AM(UTC)

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You are most welcome.
Dazed & Confused  
#8 Posted : Thursday, May 23, 2019 6:14:12 AM(UTC)

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I just sent for a certified copy of my divorce and QDRO, and I will have a lawyer review it.
Ed Zurndorfer  
#9 Posted : Thursday, May 23, 2019 7:27:49 AM(UTC)

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You did the right thing.
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