Former husbands and wives of federal workers would be entitled to a share of their former spouses' civil service pension and to a survivor annuity benefit under legislation that has been introduced by Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.)
Under the Schroeder bill, persons married to a civil servant for at least 10 years (and during a portion of his or her federal service) would automatically get a prorated share of the employes' pension and, when the retiree died, a survivor benefit from the government.
If the change becomes law, frequently married federal workers could be required to divide a major portion of their retirement checks with as many as three ex-spouses, over a typical 30-year government career. When the employe died his or her ex-mates could be entitled to a pro-rated share of the employes' civil service annuity.
Schroeder's bill is modeled after a program already in effect in the Foreign Service and the military. Since most military and FS officers are males most of the ex-spouses who benefit are women.
The Shroeder bill would establish the "presumption of entitlement" to a share of retirement annuities and survivor benefits. They would be paid automatically to a former spouse unless both parties agreed otherwise, or a divorce decree excluded the benefits.
The legislation would also allow federal retirees voluntarily to designate a survivor benefit for a long-time spouse, even if the marriage ended in divorce.