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Changes in Marital Status After Retirement

You must inform the State Department immediately of any change in your marital status to preclude over or under payment of your annuity. If your annuity was reduced at retirement to provide for a survivor benefit and your marriage terminates (by virtue of death or divorce, with no former-spouse entitlements), HR/RET can restore your annuity to the full amount (see “Restoration to Full Annuity” below). If you remarry and wish to elect survivor benefits for a new spouse, the election must be made within one year of the remarriage. If such election is filed, the new spouse will become qualified for a survivor benefit within nine months of the marriage, and your annuity will be reduced on the first of the month following one year of the remarriage. If you are unmarried at retirement and later marry, you may elect a survivor benefit.

The Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, entitles qualified former spouses potential benefits. The Office of Retirement will need a certified copy of your divorce decree, property settlement agreement, or any other court order or spousal agreement associated with the divorce in order to make a determination of any former spouse benefits and advise you of any implications for your annuity. It is important that the Department’s determination of benefits, if any, be conveyed to the retiree and the former spouse on a timely basis. In addition, the Civil Service Spouse Equity Act of 1984 provides qualified former spouses with entitlement to enroll in the Federal Health Benefits Program. Timely notification is necessary in order for the former spouse to apply for the enrollment within 60 days of the divorce (see also “Divorce/Former Spouse Benefits” on first page of this website).

Please follow carefully the instructions below to notify the Department of any changes in your marital status.

In the event of marriage/remarriage after retirement (single at time of retirement).

Download

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DS-5071 Notification of Marriage After Retirement and Election of Survivor Benefits (Annuity)

Complete and send the form to: 
HR Service Center
Annuitant Services
1269 Holland Street
Charleston, SC 29405
Fax to 1-866-300-7419

In the event of Remarriage After Retirement (married at time of retirement, later divorced / widowed)

Download

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DS-5072 Notification of Remarriage After Retirement and Election of Survivor Benefits (Annuity)

Complete and send the form to: 
HR Service Center
Annuitant Services
1269 Holland Street
Charleston, SC 29405
Fax to 1-866-300-7419

In the event of a Divorce after retirement
Submit a certified copy of the divorce decree, property settlement agreement, or any other court order or spousal agreement associated with the divorce, to:
U.S. Department of State
HR/RET
c/o Divorce/Policy Section
2401 E Street NW, H-620
Washington, DC 20522.

HR/RET will inform you if you need to complete any other forms.

Restoration to Full Annuity

By law an annuity that is reduced to provide a survivor benefit for a spouse shall, if the marriage of the participant to such spouse is dissolved by death or divorce, be recomputed and paid for each full month during which the annuitant is not married, as if the annuity had not been so reduced.  In the event of remarriage, there is no reduction unless there is a valid election of survivor benefits for the new spouse. Recomputation is subject to any reduction required by a spousal agreement or court order to provide benefits for a former spouse. The new rate is effective the first of the month after the one in which the marriage is terminated.

How to apply for restoration to full annuity

Complete the forms listed below and return them, along with a certified copy of the death certificate or divorce decree as appropriate, to:

Download - DS-5073 Statement of Eligibility for Restoration to Full Annuity
Download - SF 2809 (Only if enrolled for Family and Self)

Office of Retirement (HR/RET)
Room H-620
2401 E Street, NW
Washington, DC
Tel: 202 261-8960
Fax: 202 261-8988

Special Provisions for Spousal Annuities
For spouses of participants who died in service, retired, or initially elected a surviving spouse benefit after 9/30/1976, or reelected a surviving spouse benefit due to remarriage on or after 10/1/1976:

  • Bar against double annuities: A surviving spouse will be barred from simultaneous receipt of more than one survivor annuity form a government retirement system (excluding social security), based on the death of successive government employee spouses. A survivor may elect to receive whichever of the annuities is more to their financial advantage.
  • Termination of Survivor Annuity on Remarriage: a survivor annuity to a surviving spouse will be terminated upon remarriage prior to age 55, but may be resumed upon proper application if the remarriage is terminated.  Remarriage after age 55 will not cause the annuity to be terminated.

 

[Note: these special provisions do not apply to surviving spouses of annuitants or employees who died or retired prior to 10/1/1976, unless the annuitant was unmarried at the time of retirement and elected a surviving spouse annuity on or after 10/1/1976, or unless the annuitant remarried on or after that date.]

Designation of Beneficiary Forms may need to be updated.   

Download

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DS-5002 Designation of Beneficiary FSRDS or FSPS (For Unpaid Annuity up to Time of Death)

Download

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SF-2823 FEGLI Designation of Beneficiary (If enrolled in FEGLI)

HR Service Center
Annuitant Services
1269 Holland Street
Charleston, SC 29405
Fax to 1-866-300-7419

Download

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TSP 3 Designation of Beneficiary

Thrift Savings Plan
PO Box 385021
Birmingham, AL 35238

Fax to 1-866-817-5023

FEHB (Federal Employees Health Benefits)

In the event of marriage/remarriage after retirement (single at time of retirement), or in the event of Remarriage After Retirement (married at time of retirement, later divorced / widowed), you may need to change from Self only to Self and Family. Please fill out the following form,

Download - SF 2809

and submit it and a copy of the Qualifying Life Event, such as a Marriage Certificate to:

HR Service Center
Annuitant Services
1269 Holland Street
Charleston, SC 29405
Fax to 1-866-300-7419