The advantage of waiving pension plan survivor benefits is that the worker with the pension plan will receive a higher monthly payment than he or she would receive by electing a reduced joint and survivor payment option.
The disadvantage is that benefits will end for the surviving spouse if the plan participant dies first. Federal law requires that a worker's spouse sign a notarized document when rights to survivor benefits are waived. One of the few times when it might be advisable to waive a spouse's rights to a worker's pension is when the spouse is very ill and not expected to live long.
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