Survivor Benefits & Support

Survivor Benefits & Support

Make sure your loved ones are secure in the event of an unexpected loss.

Several programs may provide survivor benefits to your family and loved ones in the event of your death. Be sure to keep your designation of beneficiary forms up-to-date for FERS, Thrift Savings Plan, Federal Employees Group Life Insurance, and Unpaid Compensation. If you don’t submit designation of beneficiary forms, survivor benefits will be paid based on a statutory order of precedence.

The sections below provide more information about survivor benefits and helpful resources for Federal employees and their family members.

For Federal Employees

Changing Beneficiaries

You can change beneficiaries at any time without waiting for an open enrollment period. First, review your Electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF) for any existing Designation of Beneficiary forms that you may have on file.

NOTE: You can only access your eOPF from a government-issued computer with a registered agency network IP address or government VPN.

If you’d like to designate a new beneficiary, complete and submit a new Designation of Beneficiary form (SF 2823) to your human resources office.

NOTE: If you are retired, submit an SF 2823 to the Office of Personnel Management’s Retirement Operations Center:

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

Visit the OPM website to access Designation of Beneficiary forms and instructions.

    Increasing, Reducing, or Cancelling Your Life Insurance Policy (FEGLI)

    Increase – DHS employees can increase their life insurance coverage under three conditions:

    1. During a Federal Benefits Open Season period
    2. After a Qualifying Life Event (marriage, divorce, death of spouse, or acquisition of an eligible child)
    3. After taking a physical exam

    Reduce or Cancel ­– You can reduce or cancel your FEGLI life insurance at any time without waiting for an open enrollment period.

    • Current DHS Employees - If you are a current DHS employee, submit a Life Insurance Election form (SF 2817) form to your human resources office.
    • Retired DHS Employees - There is no form to submit. Instead, you must write a signed letter to OPM's Retirement Office clearly stating the reduction or cancellation you wish to make. Be sure to include your signature, annuity number (CSA/CSF) or social security number, and your phone number. Send the letter to the Office of Personnel Management at the address below:

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

    NOTE: You cannot enroll, increase coverage, or restore cancelled coverage after you have retired.

    Estate Planning and Legal Consultation (EAP)

    DHS components provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that offer employees and their eligible family members no-cost estate planning assistance and legal consultation for a variety of life issues, including but not limited to the issues below:

    • Healthcare power of attorney
    • Living wills
    • Housing and real estate matters
    • Estate planning
    • Family law (divorce, custody, etc.)
    • Car accidents
    • Traffic violations
    • Civil and criminal law
    • Consumer/contract law
    • Personal injury

    NOTE: Consultations are free, confidential, and will not affect your security clearance.

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers vary by component. Visit the Employee Assistance Programs page to find contact information for your component's EAP provider.

    For Surviving Family Members

    Collecting Survivor Benefits

    If you are a surviving family member of a DHS employee who has recently passed away, please contact the Component Benefits Office where your family member was employed. A benefits officer will talk with you about the benefits that may be payable to you, help you complete the benefits applications, and submit the completed applications with your documentation (death certificate and marriage certificates) to the appropriate office.

    Estate Planning and Legal Consultation (EAP)

    DHS components provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that offer employees and their eligible family members no-cost estate planning assistance and legal consultation for a variety of issues that may arise due to the loss of a loved one, including, but not limited to:

    • Healthcare power of attorney
    • Living wills
    • Housing and real estate matters
    • Estate planning
    • Family law (divorce, custody, etc.)

    NOTE: Consultations are free, confidential, and will not affect your security clearance.

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers vary by component. Visit the Employee Assistance Programs page to find contact information for your component's EAP provider.

    Grief Counseling (EAP)

    DHS components provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that offer pre-paid, confidential counseling sessions and referral services to help DHS employees and their eligible family members cope with a variety of life events and challenges, including but not limited to grief from a loss in the family.

    NOTE: Consultations are free, confidential, and will not affect your security clearance.

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers vary by component. Visit the Employee Assistance Programs page to find contact information for your component's EAP provider.

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