By Reg Jones
February 27th, 2013 | Uncategorized
Q. My husband of six months passed away in April 2005 while an active federal employee. His will made me the personal representative and his daughter (my stepdaughter) as alternate if I should not wish to be the personal rep. After his death, his daughter said she would be the personal rep because I asked her to since the estate would be given to his three children. After his death, I was told that I had no claim on his FERS account since we were not married for a year. But do his grown children? If not, what happens to the funds that he paid in all those years?
A. Because no one was eligible for a survivor benefit, a lump sum benefit would be payable according to the standard order of precedence, the first two of which are relevant: first, to the beneficiary he designated on a Standard Form 2808 (CSRS) or 3102 (FERS); second, to the widow.
You need to consult an attorney who can make sure the benefits are properly distributed, including any Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance he may have had.
October 31st, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. I am 51 and have 32 years for FERS retirement now. I need to be at least 56 to retire. If I quit civil service now and work in the private sector, will I still receive FERS retirement and the FERS supplement when I turn 56? What other benefits would I lose, i.e. health insurance?
A. If you left government now, you could apply for a deferred annuity at age 60. You wouldn’t be eligible for the special retirement supplement, nor could you re-enroll in either the Federal Employees Health Benefits or Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance programs.
July 26th, 2012 | Uncategorized
Q. For FERS retirements, what are the differences between a deferred retirement and a postponed retirement, especially as they pertain to FEHB benefits?
A. Some employees who retire under the MRA+10 provision (minimum retirement age with at least 10 but fewer than 30 years of service) postpone the receipt of their annuities to reduce or eliminate the age penalty, which is 5 percent for every year they are younger than 62. Regardless of when they activate it, if they were enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefit and/or Federal Employees Group Life Insurance programs for the five consecutive years before they retired, they can re-enroll. However, even if they activate it before age 62, they aren’t eligible to receive the special retirement supplement, which approximates the Social Security benefit they earned while FERS employees.
Those who leave government before being eligible to retire and have at least five years of service as FERS employees can apply for deferred annuities at age 62, with at least 20 years at 60, with 30 at their MRA and, as described above, with 10 at their MRA, but with the 5 percent penalty for each year they are younger than 62. Deferred retirees aren’t eligible for the special retirement supplement, nor can they re-enroll in the FEHB or FEGLI programs.
December 20th, 2010 | LIFE INSURANCE
Q: I was hired in 1968 and had Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance deductions from the beginning of employment. However, in 1985 my branch of government was dissolved. As a result, the entire branch was transferred to the private sector (FHLBank). I would like to know what happened to the FEGLI deductions for those years of service. We were never refunded for those years worth of deductions.
A: The FEGLI is a term insurance program. As long as you were employed by the federal government and paid your share of the premiums through payroll deduction, you were covered. When you left the federal government, you received a free 31-day extension of coverage and were given the option of enrolling in a nongroup plan. After that, your FEGLI coverage ended. Because term insurance has no cash value, you weren’t entitled to a refund of your contributions.
December 20th, 2010 | LIFE INSURANCE
Q: My father passed away at age 79 on Oct. 29. He and my mother divorced Jan. 31, 1985, and she never remarried. He remarried, but his wife passed away Jan. 26, 2009. He has two adult children from his first marriage. Would his former spouse be entitled to any benefits before his children? There is no beneficiary and no court order on file.
A: She wouldn’t be entitled to any retirement benefits. Whether she would have title to any Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance benefits would depend on who he had designated as his beneficiary.
October 21st, 2010 | LIFE INSURANCE
Q: My brother retired from the U.S. Postal Service a few years ago. He passed away a few weeks ago, and his wife asked the San Antonio post office how she could apply for his insurance. She was told that he had no insurance. He specifically told me that he did: I retired from civil service and have insurance, and my brother said that he had the same sort of coverage. If he has a claim it would be a great aid to his widow.
A: His widow should call the Office of Personnel Management’s Retirement Information Office at 888-767-6738 and report his death. Make sure she has his retiree identification number at hand. It begins with the letters “CSA.” They will know whether she is entitled to a survivor annuity and a benefit from the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program. They will also provide her with the paperwork needed to file her claim.