FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) Regarding SWAR

Q. How can my new spouse receive a benefit?
If you marry after you leave Active Service, your Spouse is not automatically eligible to receive survivor benefits when you die. Your new Spouse will be entitled to a benefit only if you choose a special option. That option is called Spouse Wed After Retirement – or SWAR.

Q: How do I choose SWAR ?

For your Spouse to become eligible to receive survivor benefits, you must:

  • Choose a reduced pension for yourself that then provides a 50% death benefit to your surviving Spouse.
  • Choose this option within one year after your marriage.
  • Live for at least one year after choosing this option.

Q: How does this benefit work?

Your pension benefit is reduced based on your age and your Spouse's age.

  • On your death, your spouse will receive a survivor's benefit that is 50% of your benefit.
  • After you choose this option, you cannot change it.
  • The minimum benefit provision does not apply to benefits your Spouse receives under SWAR.
  • Whenever the Pension System provides an annual pension adjustment, your surviving Spouse will receive the adjustment.

Q: Is the SWAR option right for me?

Each person is different, so you will need to know the facts and decide what is right for you and your Spouse. First, you need to know how much your pension benefit would be reduced under this option. A Retirement Counselor can provide you written estimates of the reduced amount and explain the factors to consider in making your decision.