Retirement & Financial Planning Report

A federal employee who marries has a number of decisions to make regarding benefits.

Survivor annuity–When you get married, you’ll need to notify your personnel office (or OPM if you are a retiree). While the law requires that you provide a survivor annuity for your spouse, that notification will assure that there won’t be any complications if the worst happens. Note: If you filled out a Standard Form 2808 (CSRS) or 3102 (FERS) when you were first hired and designated one or more people you wanted to receive any benefits in the event of your death, you may want to revise those designations as a result of your marriage.


Health insurance–If you weren’t enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program, you can do so upon marriage, even outside an open season.

If you were already enrolled, you can change your coverage. For example, if you were single, you can change from self only to self plus one. If you were enrolled in self plus one to cover a dependent child, you can change to self and family. On the other hand, if you were already enrolled in self and family to cover your eligible children, all you have to do is add your new spouse.

If you are enrolled in the self and family option, just contact your health plan and let them know that you have a new family member. In all other cases, you’ll have to submit your enrollment change from 31 days before the marriage to 60 days after. Use Standard Form 2809, Health Benefits Election Form.

Note: No matter which situation you are in, when you get married, you’ll also have the option of changing from one plan or option to another.

Other Insurance—Marriage makes your spouse eligible to enroll in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance program; for the first 60 days, only a shorter form of underwriting applies. You also can newly enroll for Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program coverage (one or the other types or both) or add your spouse to existing coverage; and newly enroll in the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance program or add to existing coverage.

Survivor Benefits for Post-Retirement Marriages

The Math Behind a Survivor Annuity Election TSP Spouse and Survivor Rights

2022 Federal Employees Handbook