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Provides a Special Survivor Annuity to Divorced Spouses

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This provision would make a special survivor annuity available to a small group of surviving former spouses of federal employees who were not originally eligible because of the timing of their divorces and the fact that their former husbands had remarried.

In 1984 Congress passed the Civil Service Retirement Spouse Equity Act of 1984 (CSRSEA). CSRSEA changed the pension system for federal employees so that former wives could obtain a share of their former husband’s pensions in a divorce property settlement.  CSRSEA also created a “Special Survivor Annuity” for surviving former wives who would have otherwise been left without a pension but only if their divorces occurred before 1984 and after September 14, 1978.  If the divorce occurred before September 14, 1978, then the Special Survivor Annuity was available only if the worker did not remarry. To qualify a surviving former spouse must have applied for the Special Survivor Annuity no later than May 7, 1989.

Section 203 of the Restoring Pension Promises to Workers Act of 2007 would allow surviving former wives of federal employees divorced before September 14, 1978 to collect the special annuity if they applied for the benefit prior to May 7, 1989 even if a widow from a second marriage is collecting a benefit.

This provision applies equally to all former spouses, both men and women.

Read Sec. 203 of the Restoring Pension Promises to Workers Act of 2007 (S. 1725) [PDF].

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