United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Oct 01, 2023
Retirement benefits for certain former spouses
Eligibility; percentage of benefits
Any individual who was a former spouse of a participant or former participant on
February 14, 1981, shall be entitled, to the extent of available appropriations, and except to the extent such former spouse is disqualified under subsection (b), to benefits—
if married to the participant throughout the creditable service of the participant, equal to 50 percent of the benefits of the participant; or
if not married to the participant throughout such creditable service, equal to that former spouse’s pro rata share of 50 percent of such benefits.
A former spouse shall not be entitled to benefits under this section if—
the former spouse remarries before age 55; or
the former spouse was not married to the participant at least 10 years during service of the participant which is creditable under this subchapter with at least 5 years occurring while the participant was a member of the Foreign Service.
Period of entitlement; construction with other provisions; application approval and payment
The entitlement of a former spouse to benefits under this section—
shall commence on the later of—
the day the participant upon whose service the benefits are based becomes entitled to benefits under this subchapter; or
the first day of the month in which the divorce or annulment involved becomes final; and
shall terminate on the earlier of—
the last day of the month before the former spouse dies or remarries before 55 years of age; or
the date of the benefits of the participant terminates.
Notwithstanding paragraph (1), in the case of any former spouse of a disability annuitant—
the benefits of the former spouse shall commence on the date the participant would qualify on the basis of his or her creditable service for benefits under this subchapter (other than a disability annuity) or the date the disability annuity begins, whichever is later, and
the amount of benefits of the former spouse shall be calculated on the basis of benefits for which the participant would otherwise so qualify.
Benefits under this section shall not be payable unless appropriate written application is provided to the Secretary, complete with any supporting documentation which the Secretary may by regulation require, within 30 months after the effective date of this section. The Secretary may waive the 30-month application requirement under this subparagraph in any case in which the Secretary determines that the circumstances so warrant.
Upon approval of an application provided under subparagraph (A), the appropriate benefits shall be payable to the former spouse with respect to all periods before such approval during which the former spouse was entitled to such benefits under this section, but in no event shall benefits be payable under this section with respect to any period before the effective date of this section.
For the purpose of this section, the term “benefits” means—
with respect to a participant or former participant subject to this part, the annuity of the participant or former participant; and
with respect to a participant or former participant subject to part II, the benefits of the participant or former participant under that part.
Effect of section on annuity
Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair, reduce, or otherwise affect the annuity or the entitlement to an annuity of a participant or former participant under this subchapter.
cite as: 22 USC 4069a-1