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Office of the General Counsel

Date: March 11, 1999
Matter of: [xxx]
File Number: S002699

OPM Contact: Murray M. Meeker

The claimant, a Defense Commissary Agency employee at the [xxx] Commissary in [xxx], seeks dismemberment benefits under the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Act (FEGLI), 5 U.S.C. 8701 et seq. For the reasons discussed herein, the claim is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has authority to adjudicate claims against the United States for compensation and leave. See 31 U.S.C.  3702, as amended by the General Accounting Office Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-316,  202(n), 110 Stat. 3826. OPM does not have authority to review FEGLI claims.

Under FEGLI, OPM is authorized to purchase one or more life insurance policies from commercial life insurance companies. 5 U.S.C.  8709. Pursuant to this statutory provision, OPM's predecessor, the Civil Service Commission, purchased a group life insurance policy from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife). Under the terms of this policy, the Federal Government does not act as an insurer; there is no insurance policy or contract between the Federal Government and individual federal employees. See Chanda v. OPM, 841 F. Supp. 432 (D.D.C. 1993). In accordance with the terms of the policy, FEGLI claims are submitted to MetLife and FEGLI claims are adjudicated by MetLife. Any action at law or in equity in which there is not alleged a breach of an obligation undertaken by the United States, is brought against MetLife, and only MetLife may be liable under the policy. See Erickson v. United States, 178 Ct.Cl. 183 (1967); Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. v. Quilty, 92 F.2d 829 (7th Cir. 1937); and Boseman v. Connecticut Life Insurance Co., 84 F.2d 701 (5th Cir. 1936).

Because the claimant's only claim is under FEGLI and is not a claim for compensation against the United States, OPM lacks jurisdiction to review the claim. Accordingly, the claim is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. This settlement is final. No further administrative review is available within OPM. Nothing in this settlement limits the employee's right to bring an action in an appropriate United States Court.

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