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Death Benefits and Support

Nobody likes to think about the end of life, but it's important to make plans to ensure that our loved ones are cared for in the event of our death. The sections below will provide you with information on steps you can take to ensure that those who you love will be provided for.

Keep Your Forms Up-to-Date

When is the last time you looked at your beneficiary forms for Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program? In order to ensure that your final wishes are carried out, you should review your Electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF) for any current Designation of Beneficiary Forms that you may have on file. If there are none and you do not complete any new forms, upon your death all of your Federal benefits would go, by law, to your surviving spouse.

If you previously filed Designation of Beneficiary Forms and named one or more beneficiaries, you will need to review the forms to determine whether you wish to make any changes.

If you revise any beneficiary forms, the original forms should be sent to your human resources office. The designations are not valid until received and certified. Please visit OPM for more information about updating beneficiary forms.

Benefits Available to Beneficiaries

Some of the kinds of benefits payable surviving beneficiaries upon the death of an employee include:

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)

The Federal Government established the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program on August 29, 1954. It is the largest group life insurance program in the world, covering over 4 million Federal employees and retirees, as well as many of their family members. For full information about the FEGLI program, click the link above. View a short overview of the program (PDF, 1 page, 410 KB).

Increasing Life Insurance

Employees can increase their life insurance coverage under three conditions:

(1) During an open season period scheduled by Office of Personnel Management

(2) Due to a Qualifying Life Event: FEGLI life events are marriage, divorce, death of spouse, or acquisition of an eligible child. With a life event, you can enroll or increase coverage in Basic, Option A, up to five multiples of Option B, and/or up to five multiples of Option C. You must submit an SF 2817 (PDF, 5 pages, 1.0 MB) to your human resources office within 60 days after the life event.

(3) Eligible employees can enroll or increase their coverage by taking a physical exam. For more information about the physical exam, please see SF 2822 (PDF, 4 pages, 280 KB).

Reducing or Canceling Life Insurance

You can reduce or cancel your FEGLI life insurance at any time, without waiting for an open season.

If you are an employee, submit an SF 2817 (PDF, 5 pages, 1.0 MB) to your human resources office, signing only for the coverage you want to keep.

If you are retired, there is no form; you must write a signed letter to OPM's Retirement Office stating clearly the reduction or cancellation you want to make. Be sure to include your signature, annuity number (CSA/CSF) or social security number, and your phone number. Send the letter to:

Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
P.O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045

Please note that you cannot enroll, increase coverage, or restore canceled coverage after you have retired.

Changing Beneficiaries

You can change beneficiaries at any time, without waiting for an open season. Submit an SF 2823 (PDF, 3 pages, 882 KB) to your human resources office, or to OPM's Retirement Office if you have retired. The address for OPM's Retirement Office is on page 3 of the form.

Employee Support Programs

Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides employees and their eligible family members with up no cost counseling and legal and financial consultation. Your Employee Assistance Program can also assist you with your estate planning needs. All services are confidential. View contact information for your Component EAP.

Legal Advice

The EAP provides access to attorneys for legal advice and consultation for such matters as:

  • Housing/real estate
  • Civil and criminal law
  • Family law
  • Consumer/contract law
  • Estate planning
  • Personal injury and automobile issues
Last Published Date: March 7, 2019

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