What are the advantages and disadvantages of waiving pension plan survivor benefits?

Personal Finance February 24, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

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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