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Support center / Learn more about life insurance benefits and retirement

Learn more about life insurance benefits and retirement

FAQs and answers about life insurance benefits and federal retirement.

Questions and answers

Yes, you can keep your existing basic life insurance coverage if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You're enrolled in basic life insurance under the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program when you retire
  • You haven't converted your life insurance coverage to an individual policy
  • You had life insurance coverage for the 5 years immediately preceding retirement or for the full periods of federal service when coverage was available (if the coverage was for less than 5 years)
  • Your annuity payments start within 30 days

If you're retiring under the Minimum Retirement Age (MRA) plus 10 provision of FERS, health care and life insurance coverage are suspended until your annuity starts, even if it is postponed.

Yes, you can keep your existing optional life insurance benefits if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You're eligible to continue your basic coverage
  • You had optional life insurance for the 5 years immediately preceding retirement or for the full periods of federal service when coverage was available (if the coverage was for less than 5 years)

You can cancel or decrease your coverage at any time. You cannot increase your coverage after you retire.

You can reduce your premiums by reducing your coverage. However, if you reduce your coverage, you cannot increase it again later. Any reduction or cancellation of coverage after you retire is permanent.

No. OPM has no authority to waive the requirements for continuing life insurance coverage. If you aren't eligible to continue coverage into retirement, then you'll be given an opportunity to convert to an individual policy.

Your Official Personnel Folder should contain everything OPM needs, including a record of all your life insurance election forms (SF-2817), and your Designation(s) of Beneficiary (SF-2823), if you have one on file. When you retire, make sure your records show a complete history of your life insurance enrollment for the last 5 years and any designations of beneficiary on file, that the most recent valid designation accurately reflects your intentions.

If you're satisfied with the statutory order of precedence as explained in FEGLI law (5 U.S.C. 8705), you do not need to complete a designation. If you wish your life insurance to be paid differently than the order of precedence, however, you need to complete a Designation of Beneficiary (SF-2823) form and send it to us at the address provided in the "Instructions" on the form.

You do not need to update your designation if the only reason is to change a beneficiary's address. If you do wish to update your beneficiary's address, however, the best way to do so is to complete a new Designation of Beneficiary (SF-2823) form and send it to us.

If there is no designation of beneficiary, assignment, or court order awarding FEGLI benefits on file, benefits will be paid to these people in the following order:

  • Your widow or widower
  • Your children (in equal shares)
  • Your parents (in equal shares)
  • Your appointed executor or administrator of your estate
  • Your next of kin under the laws of the state you live in when you die

You need to contact us. The deceased must be an eligible family member, defined as a spouse to whom you are still married (not separated or divorced), or a dependent child under age 22.

If you retired before December 9, 1980, your basic life insurance reduced by two percent of the face value each month, beginning with the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later. This reduction continues until your basic life insurance reaches 25 percent of the face value. This coverage is free.

If you retired on or after December 9, 1980, and before January 1, 1990, you elected one of the following reduction schedules for your basic life insurance using the form SF-2818 "Continuation of Life Insurance As an Annuitant or Compensationer:"

  • 75 percent reduction: If you elected this reduction schedule, your Basic life insurance reduces by two percent of the face value each month beginning with the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later. This reduction continues until your Basic life insurance reaches 25 percent of the face value. This coverage is free.
  • 50 percent reduction: If you elected this reduction schedule, your Basic life insurance reduces by one percent of the face value each month beginning with the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later. This reduction continues until your Basic life insurance reaches 50 percent of the face value. We withhold premiums for this coverage from your annuity beginning at retirement and continue the withholding for life.
  • No reduction: If you elected this reduction schedule, the full amount of your Basic life insurance remains in force after you reach age 65. There is no reduction in the value of your Basic insurance. We withhold premiums for this additional coverage from your annuity beginning at retirement and continue the withholding for life.

Effective January 1, 1990, you also pay the same regular Basic premium, on a monthly basis, that active employees pay, until you reach age 65. You stop paying this regular premium when you reach age 65. If you choose 50 percent or No Reduction, you also pay an extra premium. You continue to pay this extra premium for life or until you change to 75 percent Reduction or cancel your coverage.

There are three optional coverages: Option A-Standard, Option B-Additional, and Option C-Family. If you have any of these coverages and are eligible to continue them into retirement, you are entitled to make an election about how you want them to continue in retirement. You can do so by using form SF 2818 "Continuation of Life Insurance As an Annuitant or Compensationer."

Learn more about FEGLI coverage and options

Option A-Standard: The amount of insurance (formerly known as Optional Insurance) is $10,000 at retirement. If you retired before October 30, 1998, your Option A insurance may have been higher than $10,000. If you have this coverage, it reduces by two percent per month or $200, beginning the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later, until it reaches 25 percent of the face value, or $2,500. We withhold premiums for Option A insurance from your annuity through the end of the month in which you are 65, unless you elect to cancel this coverage.

Option B-Additional: The amount of Option B insurance is from one to five times an employee's salary at time of retirement. Effective April 24, 1999, or later, annuitants with Option B coverage are eligible to make an Option B reduction election at time of retirement. The election choices are "Full Reduction" or "No Reduction". Shortly before reaching age 65, we mail annuitants with Option B coverage a letter to ask if they want to change the Option B reduction election they made at retirement. If you have this coverage and this applies to you, at that time you may keep the coverage you elected at retirement or change it to the alternative. You also may elect full reduction or no reduction for each separate multiple of Option B you have, as applicable. For example, a person with five multiples may elect no reduction for two multiples, while the remaining three multiples fully reduce to $0 over 50 months.

  • If you elected full reduction, effective the first day of the second month after your 65th birthday or your retirement date, whichever is later, your Option B full-reduction multiples reduce by 2 percent of the face value per month for 50 months, at which time this coverage will end. We withhold premiums for this coverage from your annuity through the month in which you reach age 65. If you elect to continue some or all of your Option B multiples with no reduction, either at retirement or when you reach 65, whichever is later, we adjust the withholding for your Option B coverage based on your age and to reflect the number of multiples you decided to retain at no reduction. Any other multiples will reduce as described above.

Option C-Family: The amount of Option C insurance is from one to five multiples. Each multiple equals $5,000. Effective April 24, 1999, or later, annuitants with Option C coverage are eligible to make an Option C reduction election at time of retirement. The election choices are "Full Reduction" or "No Reduction." Shortly before reaching age 65, we contact annuitants with Option C coverage to ask if they want to change the Option C reduction election they made at retirement. If you have this coverage and this applies to you, at that time you may keep the coverage you elected at retirement or change it to the alternative. You also may elect full reduction or no reduction for each separate multiple of Option C you have, as applicable. For example, a person with five multiples may elect no reduction for two multiples, while the remaining three multiples fully reduce to $0 over 50 months.

  • If you elected full reduction, or if you separated for retirement before April 24, 1999, effective the first day of the second month after you reach age 65 or your retirement date, whichever is later, your Option C full reduction multiples reduce by two percent of the face value per month for 50 months, at which time this coverage ends. We withhold premiums for this coverage from your annuity through the month in which you reach age 65. If you elect to continue some or all your Option C multiples with no reduction, we adjust the withholding for your Option C coverage to reflect the number of multiples you decide to retain at no reduction. Any other multiples reduce as described above.

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