Before Retirement - If you are married while you are working, your qualified spouse becomes your beneficiary for any Plan benefits you have earned. In order for your spouse to be eligible for benefits, you must be legally married to one another under applicable state law or the laws of a foreign jurisdiction. In addition, one year of marriage is required in some cases. A spouse is also someone who is required to be treated as a spouse or surviving spouse under a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
If you die before your pension benefit begins, your spouse may be eligible to receive a pre-retirement surviving spouse pension or a pre-retirement death benefit.
After Retirement - Your pension benefit is not affected when you marry after you have begun to receive a pension benefit. It is not affected because once you begin to receive a pension benefit, you cannot change the form of payment you are receiving. Your new spouse will not qualify for a benefit regardless of the form of payment you are receiving.