When I got the mail today I saw both my spouse and I had received yet another "Important Information About Your IBM Benefits" letter. When I saw the letter I immediately wondered what new way they thought of to squeeze more money out of old people. And, they are indeed squeezing away. They are now at the bottom of the barrel scrounging for nickels and pennies.
Both my spouse and I worked for IBM so we each get our own subsidy. IBM just informed us that we are not eligible to leave survivor benefits to each other. HOWEVER, if we do not return the form selecting NO survivor benefits our HRA will still be reduced! Also, if we had a dependent and wanted to leave survivor benefits to that dependent - only one of us is allowed to do so.
We had no intention of leaving benefits to each other as it made no sense for us since we are both in good health (knock on wood). But, we do know a couple where the very ill spouse was going to do it so that the remaining spouse would get the extra benefit. My guess is other couples had decided to do the same thing. It must have messed up the "steal money from them" spreadsheet numbers and the bonus increases that would come from stealing old people money - ergo, this iteration of letters was sent out to make sure we understood the money is theirs and to not mess with it.
This latest action by IBM has moved the whole "transition" into the realm of being a ten act play in the Theatre of the Absurd.