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Your Future: Life Insurance and Retirement  

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Office of Personnel Management Information and Services

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Chances are quite good that you carry term life insurance under the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program, since most federal employees sign up for it when they begin their career in federal service.

So now that you are giving some thought to possible retirement, one of the important matters you need to review is your FEGLI insurance because you can carry it with you into retirement, if you choose.

FEGLI provides basic term life insurance—you pay two-thirds of the cost of the basic coverage, with your agency paying one-third, regardless of your age. It also provides options for additional coverage; you pay the full cost of any optional life insurance, and your age doesn’t impact that cost.

To take it with you when you retire, you have to meet three requirements: 1) you are entitled to an immediate annuity under a federal civilian employee retirement system; 2) you have been insured for the five years of service immediately before the date of your annuity (there’s an exception here; the Office of Personnel [OPM] web site explains it); 3) and you haven’t converted to an individual policy.

One good place to ask the questions you have about FEGLI is at an agency retirement seminar. NTEU has long encouraged OPM and individual agencies to conduct such seminars; and NTEU agreements and local practice in some agencies and workplaces provide you with administrative time to do so.

Beyond that, you should plan on visiting the OPM website, which you can reach at There’s an entire section on FEGLI including a FEGLI calculator that helps you determine how retirement will impact your benefit.

You’ll also want to talk with your agency’s human resources staff, because while carrying your group life insurance into retirement is a boon, it can get complicated.

There are a variety of rules covering the basic and optional insurance portions, survivor options, and much more. Your decisions about insurance prior to retirement will impact your cost over time, so each decision has to be considered carefully in light of your circumstances and your wishes. And you will want to ask the experts how your FEGLI coverage works with any other life insurance you might have.

To help with all this, the OPM web site offers an interesting FEGLI interactive calculator you might find useful. Among the tasks it will perform, with your help, is to show you how the amount of your federal group life insurance carried into retirement will change over time, depending on the coverage options you choose. It’s worth a look.

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