Posted on Saturday, 6th July 2013 by

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I’ve received many emails over the years from annuitants, spouses of deceased annuitants, and estate executors that weren’t aware of the annuitant’s coverage and/or beneficiaries. A number of annuitants forget what coverage they elected (if any) or who they designated as beneficiary.

There are a number of things that you, your spouse, and estate executor need to know about the FEGLI coverage that you elected to continue in retirement.  Unfortunately, when you sign up for FEGLI coverage you don’t receive an insurance policy like private insurance companies provide.  This isn’t much of a concern until after the annuitant or covered family member dies.  The spouse or estate executor may not be aware of the FEGLI coverage amount, elected beneficiaries, or how to submit a claim.

Forward this article to others in your organization that may benefit from this information.

I kept a copy of my retirement paperwork when I retired including my SF-2818 FEGLI elections, copies of beneficiary forms, and I added these forms to my estate planning documents. Even with this paperwork it is best to contact OPM at 1-888-767-6738 to request a “Verification of Life Insurance” (VOLI).  The verification will list specifics about your coverage and other pertinent information.  When requesting a (VOLI) also request a copy of their FEGLI Retiree Phamphlet R1 76-12 and an Annuity Verification. Many banks require an annuity verification form to process loans including home equity loans. The OPM specialist will ask you for your CSA/CSF or SSN number when you call.

The annuity statement is also available through OPM’s online services at and you can download a copy of R1 76-12 as well. If you haven’t signed up for this service request access when you call OPM and they will send you your initial log-in information to get you started.  This service provides duplicate 1099-R statements, allows users to set up allotments, change federal and state tax withholdings, and more.

I requested both forms by phone recently and my wait time was 15 minute. It typically takes 3 to 5 business days to receive the forms by mail. OPM recently changed their hours of operation and the earlier you call the better chance you have of getting through. I called at 8:00 am.

Additional helpful FEGLI facts and information:

  • FEGLI is term insurance that does not have a cash value
  • MetLife underwrites the insurance
  • The plan’s administrator is the Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance. They settle claims and you must report the death of the policy holder and/or covered family members to them directly to initiate a claim and receive payment.  Many incorrectly assume that when they notify OPM of an annuitant’s death they are also initiating a FEGLI claim.

Contact the plan administrator at (1-800-633-4542) to initiate a claim.

  • If an annuitant elects the 75% reduction for their basic coverage when they turn 65 their basic coverage is free. Basic coverage is your salary rounded up to an even thousand dollars with an additional two thousand added. If your salary at the time you retired was $68,798, your basic coverage would be $71,000. If the 75% reduction is elected your coverage drops 75% to $17,750 starting at age 65 and you are covered for life.  Even if you have sufficient private insurance coverage I recommend keeping your basic coverage when you retire and elect the 75% reduction. It’s free when you turn age 65! That’s what I did when I retired in 2005 and I turn 65 next year.
  • Living Benefit payments are available to those who are terminally ill and have a documented medical prognosis showing a life expectancy of no more than nine months. You are eligible to elect a Living Benefit if you are an employee, annuitant, or compensationer and you are enrolled in the FEGLI Program. Employees can choose a full or partial Living Benefit. Annuitants and compensationers can elect only a full Living Benefit.
  • FEGLI basics
  • Understanding FEGLI Coverage
  • Evaluating Your Insurance Needs
  • Canceling FEGLI coverage  (Caution)
  • FEGLI Forms  (Beneficiary Changes, etc.)
  • Request a Retirement Benefits Summary & Analysis from a local adviser. Includes projected annuity payments, income verses
    expenses, FEGLI, and TSP projections.

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The information provided may not cover all aspect of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and financial information is subject to change. To ensure the accuracy of this information, contact your benefits coordinator and ask them to review your official personnel file and circumstances concerning this issue. Retirees can contact the OPM retirement center. Our article is not intended nor should it be considered investment advice and our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic economic factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with a financial or human resource professional where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.


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