Are you one of the growing number of federal employees who are preparing to retire in the near future? If so, here’s a list of things that you should do to get ready:
Attend any pre-retirement training that is available from your agency. This will be an opportunity to gain a much better understanding of your own retirement and get the latest news on what’s happening with retirement benefits. Most of these seminars will also include segments on financial planning, tax planning and even estate planning. The foundation of this training is usually a thorough discussion of the Civil Service Retirement System, the Federal Employees Retirement System, insurance, Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan. Get a retirement estimate from your human resources office. By requesting an estimate prior to retirement, you can be informed of any discrepancies in your personnel records, whether you owe any money to the retirement fund for any of your prior federal service.
Government workers don't often have the opportunity to change their life insurance benefits -- the last open season to switch enrollments in these plans occurred in 2004. But that's changing. The Office of Personnel Management issued a final rule , which took effect Oct. 1, mandating reforms to the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance program. Participants now have more opportunities to rethink their coverage options.
All FEGLI enrollees receive basic insurance, which includes coverage totaling the employee's annual pay, rounded to the nearest $1,000, plus an additional $2,000. Enrollees also can elect additional plans. Option A provides $10,000 of coverage, while Option B is available in multiples of annual pay. Option C covers spouses and dependent children.
As the new regulation takes effect, here are some things to consider:
Election Time. Program enrollees now have 60 days, rather than 31, after becoming eligible for FEGLI coverage to choose an optional insurance plan. In addition, participants who experience a qualifying life event, such as marriage, divorce, spousal death, a birth or an adoption, now have 60 days to choose coverage under the basic plan and add optional insurance. If employees choose not to make an election during this time, then agencies within six months can grant an additional 60 days to change coverage.
Active-Duty Coverage. Federal workers called to active military duty now have the opportunity to extend their automatic 12 months of FEGLI coverage for an additional year, bringing them to a total of 24 months of coverage. But participants must pay both the employee and agency share of the premiums for basic coverage during the second 12 months, and also must pay the entire cost of any optional insurance they elect for that year.
Defense Department civilians considered "emergency essential" and those involved in contingency operations can elect the basic plan or Options A or B outside...