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Frequently Asked Questions Insurance

Designations of Beneficiary



  • If you have a prior Designation of Beneficiary on file with your human resources office (or OPM's Retirement Office if retired), and you now wish for benefits to be paid by the order of precedence, file a new Designation of Beneficiary and state "Cancel Prior Designations" as instructed on page 2.

    To see the order of precedence, visit the FEGLI Handbook.
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  • No, you do not have to complete a designation form

    When you die, the Office of Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) will pay life insurance benefits in a particular order set by law:

    If you assigned ownership of your life insurance by filing an Assignment, Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (RI 76-10), OFEGLI will pay benefits:

    • First, to the beneficiary(ies) designated by your assignee(s), if any;
    • Second, if there is no such beneficiary, to your assignee(s).
    If you did not assign ownership and there is a valid court order on file, OFEGLI will pay benefits in accordance with that court order.

    If you did not assign ownership and there is no valid court order on file, OFEGLI will pay benefits:

    • First, to the beneficiary(ies) you designated;
    • Second, if there is no such beneficiary, to your widow or widower;
    • Third, if none of the above, to your child or children, with the share of any deceased child distributed among descendants of that child (a court will usually have to appoint a guardian to receive payment for a minor child);
    • Fourth, if none of the above, to your parents in equal shares or the entire amount to your surviving parent;
    • Fifth, if none of the above, to the executor or administrator of your estate;
    • Sixth, if none of the above, to your other next of kin as determined under the laws of the state where you lived. 
    If you did not assign your insurance and there isn't a valid court order on file, and you are not satisfied with the order of precedence described above, you should complete a designation form and indicate how you want OFEGLI to pay the benefits.
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  • This means that the person (a designated beneficiary or person entitled under the order of precedence) advised OFEGLI, in writing, that he/she does not want the money he/she is entitled to receive. A disclaimer by default means that the person doesn't ever file a claim form to claim the benefits.

    If someone entitled to benefits disclaims them, he/she cannot tell OFEGLI who should get the disclaimed benefits. Rather, OFEGLI must treat those benefits as if the person disclaiming had died before the Insured. If the person disclaiming was a designated beneficiary, OFEGLI would pay the disclaimed share equally to the remaining beneficiaries. If there are no remaining beneficiaries or the person disclaiming was not a designated beneficiary, OFEGLI will pay the proceeds according to the next step in the order of precedence.

    Perhaps a few examples will help.

    Mary designated John and Susan for 50% each. Mary dies. John disclaims his share. It does not matter that John wanted his mother, Laura, to receive the benefits. OFEGLI will pay 100% to Susan.

    Here's another example.

    Raul is single, childless, and did not designate a beneficiary. Raul dies. His parents are entitled to the benefits based on the order of precedence. His father disclaims his share of the benefits. OFEGLI will pay 100% to his mother.

    And here's a final example.

    Cyndi is married with one child. She did not designate a beneficiary. Cyndi dies. Her husband is entitled to the benefits based on the order of precedence. He disclaims the benefits. OFEGLI moves to the next step in the order of precedence and pays 100% to Cyndi's child.
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