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Insurance FAQs

Break in Service and LWOP (Leave Without Pay)

  • Your life insurance coverage continues for up to 12 months in a LWOP or nonpay status. You do not have to pay any premiums while you are on LWOP unless you are receiving benefits from the Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. The life insurance ends at the end of the 12 months with a 31-day extension of coverage and a right to convert to an individual policy.
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  • During the first 12 months of LWOP, your FEGLI coverage continues. If you die during the first 12 months, OFEGLI uses the salary at the time of death to compute the benefit. For example:
    Stan had Basic insurance only. He went on LWOP February 1, 2003. His salary at that time was $18,449. In September 2003, he got a within-grade increasing his salary to $20,849.00. He died November 15, 2003. Since he died during the first 12 months of LWOP, life insurance is payable. The basic salary used to compute the benefit is $20,849.00.
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  • When you return to work after a break in service of less than 180 days, your human resources office will automatically enroll you in the same coverage that you had before you left your prior position. You will have to qualify to elect other coverage (Open Season, physical exam or life event). When you return to work after a break in service of 180 days or more, your human resources office will automatically enroll you in Basic and the same Optional insurance that you had in your prior position. You will have this coverage the first day you are in pay and duty status. Any previous waiver of insurance is automatically cancelled. Unless you file a new waiver, Basic insurance becomes effective your first day in pay and duty status in a position in which you are eligible for coverage. You may elect more insurance (if you don't already have the maximum) within 31 days of returning to service in an eligible position, regardless of the coverage you had during previous employment. If you do not make a new election, you will automatically get back whatever Optional insurance you had immediately before your separation. Any coverage that you had previously waived will be waived again.
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  • Any insurance policy purchased under the conversion privilege is a private business transaction between you and the insurance company. The cost of the individual policy is determined by the insurance company and is based on your age and class of risk. If you return to Federal service and have converted your FEGLI coverage (including as a reemployed annuitant), you do not have to cancel your conversion policy. You can continue the conversion policy and have FEGLI coverage as an employee.
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  • Your insurance continues automatically for the first 12 months of nonpay status. If you return to pay status for a period of four consecutive months or more, you start a new 12-month period of continued coverage. Four consecutive months in pay status means any four-month period during which you are in pay status for at least part of each pay period. For example:
    Melissa was on leave without pay (LWOP) from January 1 to February 28, 2012. She returned to work on March 1, 2012. She worked through July 31, 2012, and again went on LWOP. Since she was in a pay and duty status for at least four consecutive months, she will start a new 12-month period of continued coverage. The period she was on LWOP from January 1 through February 28, 2012, will not count against the new 12-month period that starts August 1, 2012. 
    If you return to pay status for less than four consecutive months, and you then again go into a nonpay status, you continue in the same 12-month nonpay status period. Another example will help.
    Mai went on leave without pay (LWOP) on February 1, 2012. She then returned to work on May 1, 2012. She worked through July 31, 2012, and again went on LWOP beginning August 1, 2012. Since she was in a pay status for less than four months, we continue in the same 12-month LWOP status. If she does not return to pay and duty status, Mai's life insurance will end at the end of the day on April 30, 2013.
    If you return to pay status for less than four consecutive months after your insurance ends due to 12 months in nonpay status, you do not get another 12-month period of continued coverage. You have insurance while you are again in pay status, but your insurance will stop on the last day of your last pay period in pay status. Here is an example of this situation.
    Carlos' insurance ended on August 31, 2012 which was the end of 12 months in a nonpay status. Carlos returned to work on October 1, 2012. His life insurance is reinstated. On November 16, 2012, Carlos again goes into a LWOP status. Since he was in a pay status for less than four consecutive months, his life insurance ends at the end of the last day of the pay period in which Carlos went on LWOP or November 20, 2012. He does not begin a new 12-month period of continued coverage.
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  • If you had a life event during a break in service, you may still be able to enroll or increase your coverage. You normally have 60 days from the date of a life event (marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, acquisition of a child) to enroll or increase your coverage. Your agency can extend this 60-day time limit if you had a change in your family status during a break in service of less than 180 days or during the 60-day period immediately before separation. You will have 31 days from the date of reinstatement or 60 days from the date of the event, whichever gives you more time, to enroll or increase the number of multiples in Option B and/or Option C. In order to make a change based on a life event, you must submit a Life Insurance Election (SF 2817) to your human resources office within the appropriate time limit.
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  • If you separate from service to enter the military you are considered to be in a nonpay status for FEGLI Purposes. As long as you have reemployment rights under USERRA, you can keep your FEGLI coverage for up to 12 months, or until 90 days after your military service ends, whichever date comes first. This coverage is free. At the end of 12 months (or 90 days after the military service ends), the coverage terminates. You also get the 31-day extension of coverage and the right to convert. Public Law 110-181, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, enacted January 28, 2008, authorizes the continuation of FEGLI coverage for an additional 12 months for Federal employees called to active duty whose coverage terminated after the law's enactment. The law allows employees who enter on active duty or active duty for training in one of the uniformed services for more than 30 days to continue their FEGLI for up to 24 months. FEGLI coverage is free for the first 12 months. However, employees must pay both the employee and agency share of the premiums for their Basic coverage, and also pay the entire cost (there is no agency share) for any Optional insurance they may have for the additional 12 months of coverage. See more details in BAL 08-203 and Questions and Answers. At the end of 12 months, or 90 days after your military service ends, whichever date comes first, your former agency must complete an Agency Certification of Insurance Status (SF 2821) and a Notice of Conversion Privilege (SF 2819). If a claim needs to be filed while you are still covered under FEGLI, you or your survivors should contact your former employing agency.
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