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I Have To Divide My Pension With My Ex-Spouse And Provide Said Former Spouse Protection Upon My Death. What Does This Mean? Who Has To Pay For This Additional Benefit?

Q. Steven P. of West Virginia asks: "I have worked for the government in the CSRS Plan for more than 30 years and am now going through a divorce. I have to divide my pension with my ex-spouse and provide said former spouse protection upon my death. What does this mean? Who has to pay for this additional benefit?"

A. Kim, from the QDRO Department of Pension Evaluators® at Troyan, Inc.®, answers: "Under Title 5 of the USC, the CSRS/FERS Plans offers what is known as a "Former Spouse Survivor Annuity (FSSA)." This means that should you predecease your former spouse, the "living benefit" shall continue beyond your death and become the "Former Spouse Survivor Annuity," benefit. In other words, the former spouse's benefit does not end regardless of the member's death. The cost to participate/provide in this annuity may be shared proportionately between the parties to the divorce or may be borne by either party. The amount of the "Former Spouse Survivor Annuity (FSSA)" may be a Pro-Rata Share or the 55% Maximum Allowable Option."

Kimberly O'Connor

QDRO Coordinator

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