The Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program provides group term life insurance. In most cases, employees are automatically covered by Basic life insurance unless they decline it. In addition to the Basic, there are three forms of Optional insurance that you can elect. You must have Basic insurance in order to elect any of the options. Unlike Basic, enrollment in Optional insurance is not automatic—you must take action to elect the options.
As term insurance, FEGLI does not build up any paid-up value and enrollees cannot borrow against it.
The cost of Basic insurance is shared between you and the government. Executive branch employees pay 2/3 of the total cost and the government pays 1/3 (the U.S. Postal Service pays the entire cost of Basic coverage for its employees). Your age does not affect the cost of Basic insurance. You pay the full cost of Optional insurance; the cost of Optional insurance depends on your age. For insurance withholding purposes, the government assumes you reach an age in your first pay period that starts after your birthday.
The Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI), which is a private entity that has a contract with the government, processes and pays claims under the FEGLI program. Its address is P.O. Box 6080, Scranton, PA 18505-6080; for overnight deliveries only, the address is 10 Ed Preate Dr., Moosic, PA 18507. Phone (800) 633-4542, fax (570) 558-8659, online www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/life-insurance.
Most federal employees, including part-time employees, are eligible to enroll. However, temporary employees and employees working on seasonal or intermittent schedules are not eligible, even if they are eligible for health insurance.
Basic life insurance coverage is effective on the first day you enter in a pay and duty status unless you waive this coverage before the end of your first pay period. You may waive Basic at any time; the waiver will be effective at the end of the last day of the pay period in which your human resources office receives it. Optional insurance generally must be elected within 60 days of an appointment but can also be added later under certain circumstances.
A different policy applies to federal employees who are assigned in their civilian capacities—not as mobilized active duty military personnel—in support of military “contingency” operations, which generally means combat-type operations. Such employees who had previously waived FEGLI Basic or Option A or B coverage can elect or increase coverage within 60 days of the assignment, without providing proof of insurability. The same option applies to Defense Department employees who are designated as “emergency essential.” The policy does not provide rights to choose or increase Option C coverage.
Note: An open season was conducted in September 2016 for active employees (although not for retirees) to initially enroll or to elect or increase coverage among the options. (Note: In limited circumstances, belated enrollments were allowed; see Benefits Administration Letter 16-208 at www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/benefits-administration-letters.) New coverage, or increases in existing coverage, chosen during that period were effective a year later; therefore, the earliest those elections can be carried into retirement will be October 2022.
Basic life insurance
Basic provides term life insurance at group rates. Your Basic Insurance Amount (BIA) is equal to your annual basic pay rounded up to the next $1,000 plus $2,000.
Withholding per $1,000 Insurance:
Biweekly – $0.15
Monthly – $0.3250
FEGLI also offers an extra benefit to employees under age 45, at no additional cost. This doubles the amount of life insurance payable if you are age 35 or younger. Beginning on your 36th birthday, the extra benefit decreases 10 percent each year until, at age 45, there is no extra benefit.
Note: In situations where the combination of salary and premium pay reaches the employee’s annual salary cap, the amount of coverage is based on the capped amount (the actual amount of earnings received by the employee). The amount represents the employee’s BIA and is the basis for the premiums the employee pays. This calculation is done on an annual basis rather than each pay period.
Option A – Standard
You may elect Option A-Standard Life Insurance in the amount of $10,000.
Withholding for $10,000 Insurance:
$0.20 biweekly, $0.43 monthly
35 – 39
$0.30 biweekly, $0.65 monthly
40 – 44
$0.40 biweekly, $0.87 monthly
45 – 49
$0.70 biweekly, $1.52 monthly
50 – 54
$1.10 biweekly, $2.38 monthly
55 – 59
$2.00 biweekly, $4.33 monthly
60 and up
$6.00 biweekly, $13.00 monthly
You may elect Option B-Additional life insurance in an amount equal to one, two, three, four or five times your annual basic pay (after rounding up to the next $1,000).
Withholding for $1,000 Insurance:
$0.02 biweekly, $0.043 monthly
35 – 39
$0.03 biweekly, $0.065 monthly
40 – 44
$0.04 biweekly, $0.087 monthly
45 – 49
$0.07 biweekly, $0.152 monthly
50 – 54
$0.11 biweekly, $0.238 monthly
55 – 59
$0.20 biweekly, $0.433 monthly
60 – 64
$0.44 biweekly, $0.953 monthly
65 – 69
$0.54 biweekly, $1.170 monthly
70 – 74
$0.96 biweekly, $2.080 monthly
75 – 79
$1.80 biweekly, $3.900 monthly
80 and up
$2.64 biweekly, $5.720 monthly
Option C – Family
You may elect Option C-Family Life Insurance to provide coverage for your spouse and eligible dependent children (note: same-sex spouses who were married in a jurisdiction, including a foreign country, recognizing such a marriage, regardless of place of current residence, are covered, as are related children). When you elect Option C, all of your eligible family members are automatically covered. You may elect either one, two, three, four, or five multiples of coverage. Each multiple is equal to $5,000 for your spouse and $2,500 for each of your eligible dependent children.
For example, if you elect three multiples, that means that if your spouse dies, you would receive $15,000 (3 times $5,000). If one of your eligible dependent children dies, you would receive $7,500 (3 times $2,500).
Each multiple is a unit. For example, if you elect two multiples, that means you have two multiples on your spouse and two multiples on your eligible dependent children. You cannot elect a number of multiples for your spouse that is different from the number of multiples for your eligible dependent children.
To be eligible, children must be dependent, unmarried and under age 22, or if age 22 or over, incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before the child reached age 22. (Note: These eligibility rules differ from those under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program.) Eligible children include your natural children, adopted children, recognized natural children, and stepchildren and foster children if they live with you in a regular parent-child relationship.
You receive Option C benefits; you cannot designate a beneficiary.
Withholding per Multiple
$0.22 monthly, $0.48 monthly
35 – 39
$0.27 monthly, $0.59 monthly
40 – 44
$0.41 monthly, $0.89 monthly
45 – 49
$0.59 monthly, $1.28 monthly
50 – 54
$0.92 monthly, $1.99 monthly
55 – 59
$1.48 monthly, $3.21 monthly
60 – 64
$2.70 monthly, $5.85 monthly
65 – 69
$3.14 monthly, $6.80 monthly
70 – 74
$3.83 monthly, $8.30 monthly
75 – 79
$5.26 monthly, $11.40 monthly
80 and up
$7.20 monthly, $15.60 monthly
Applying for FEGLI benefits
Your beneficiary or other survivor should call OPM at (888) 767-6738, online www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/life-insurance/death-claims, or write to OPM at the above address in the event of your death.
The beneficiary or other survivor should provide your full name and CSA number or Social Security number, date of birth and date of death. OPM will furnish the proper form (Form FE-6, Claim for Death Benefits) and instructions for claiming benefits. The claim form should be filed with the OFEGLI, not with OPM; the address is on the Form FE-6.
It is the responsibility of the person to whom the benefits are payable to file the claim and to furnish proof of death and any other evidence which may be called for at that time.
If you have Option C-Family insurance, you are the beneficiary. No designation is permitted under the law. Payment will be made to you in a lump sum. If you should die after the death of an insured family member but prior to payment of your claim, payment will be made to the person (or persons) to whom your Basic Life insurance benefits are payable.
If an insured family member (your spouse or eligible child as described in Option C insurance) dies, you should file the appropriate claim form (Form FE6-DEP), also available at the points of contact above.
In the event of your death, any eligible family member can convert his or her own coverage to an individual policy within 31 days after your death or within 31 days after he or she receives notice of the right to convert.
Termination of life insurance
Your life insurance coverage (including Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance) as an employee will stop on the earliest of the following dates:
- The date you separate from federal service (although you may be eligible to continue coverage as an annuitant or while in receipt of workers’ compensation benefits).
- The end of a period of 12 months in nonpay status (although you may be eligible to continue coverage while in receipt of workers’ compensation benefits). The 12 months may be continuous or broken by periods of less than four consecutive months of pay status.
- At the end of the last pay period in which your agency withheld life insurance premiums from your pay, if it determines that your pay will be insufficient to cover the withholdings for the next six months or more, and you decide that you do not want to pay these premiums directly.
- The end of the last day of the pay period during which your human resources office receives your Life Insurance Election (SF 2817) on which you voluntarily cancel (waive) some or all life insurance.
You will have a temporary extension of coverage for 31 days after your life insurance terminates, unless you voluntarily cancel (waive) coverage, or your annuity or workers’ compensation benefits terminate. This temporary extension of coverage does not include AD&D insurance.
Canceling or reducing insurance
You may voluntarily cancel (waive) Basic, Option A, B, or C or reduce multiples of Option B and/or Option C at any time by completing a Life Insurance Election (SF 2817). Simply sign only for the insurance you wish to keep. If you do not sign for a particular type of insurance, you have cancelled (waived) it. If you cancel Basic insurance, you automatically cancel all forms of Optional insurance.
Life insurance coverage and deductions for the coverage you cancel stop at the end of the last day of the pay period in which your agency receives your election form canceling the coverage. Exception: For Option C, the effective date of the cancellation is retroactive to the end of the pay period in which you ceased to have any eligible family members. You will not have a temporary extension of coverage nor the right to convert any insurance that you voluntarily cancel.