When a federal employee takes out life insurance coverage on his life, he may designate anyone to be the beneficiary of his policy. If he designates his spouse as the sole, primary beneficiary on the policy, the spouse will collect the Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) benefits after his death. That is true even in situations where the insured Federal employee divorced his spouse but did not update the beneficiary designation on file.
However, rules that usually apply in life insurance cases may not work in FGLI cases since these are governed by federal laws that preempt any conflicting law or regulation. Not knowing your rights as a former spouse of a federal employee, may easily result in a delayed or denied FEGLI claim.
If you or someone you know has issues with a delayed or denied FEGLI claim, call us at 888-510-2212 for a free case evaluation.
FEGLI Order of Precedence in Divorce Cases: Who Gets the Death Benefits After the Insured Federal Employee’s Death?
While many state laws revoke an ex-spouse as the beneficiary on a former spouse’s life insurance policy upon divorce, FEGLI laws do not. FEGLI laws require the insurance company to pay FEGLI benefits to the beneficiary on the file without considering the couple’s legal separation or divorce. Additionally, if a couple divorced in a state where the law automatically revokes an ex-spouse as the beneficiary on a former spouse’s life insurance policy, the ex-spouse’s state law claim will not survive. FEGLI claims are governed by federal laws which will trump any conflicting state laws and state law claims, including those of community property states.
1. Assignment of FEGLI Coverage
After the insured Federal employee’s death, the Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) will pay life insurance benefits in a particular order, set by law. Thus, if the federal employee assigned ownership of his life insurance by filing an Assignment, Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance form, OFEGLI will pay benefits to the beneficiaries designated by the insured’s assignee and if there are no such beneficiaries, the FEGLI benefits will be paid to the insured’s assignees.
2. Divorce Court Order
If there is a valid court order on file, after the insured Federal employee’s death, the Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) will pay life insurance benefits in accordance with that court order. However, if the court order is not valid, the benefits will be paid to the beneficiary the insured designated. It means that if the divorce court order presented to the OFEGLI does not meet the requirements for a valid court order, the FEGLI benefits will not be paid in accordance with such order and will be distributed to the beneficiary designated by the insured Federal employee. To determine whether your court order is a valid court order under the FEGLI standards, you will need to consult with a FEGLI attorney.
3. No Beneficiary Designation on Record
If the life insurance policy has no beneficiary designated on file, the FEGLI benefits will be paid to the widow or widower. In case there is no widow/widower, the benefits will be paid to the Federal employee’s children and if there are no children – to the insured’s parents. If there are no parents, then OFEGLI will pay the benefits to the executor of the estate (if there is an estate) or to the Federal employee’s other next of kin.
Contact a FEGLI Attorney If Your Death Benefits Claim Has Been Denied or Delayed After Divorce
The laws governing FEGLI claims are very complex, thus handling a denied or delayed FEGLI claim should not be a do-it-yourself project. In order to understand your rights, you should consult with a FEGLI attorney prior to filing a claim. A FEGLI attorney will guide you through the process of filing a FEGLI claim and will assist you during the review period increasing your chances to collect delayed or denied FEGLI benefits.
No Legal Fees Unless We Win Your Case!
If you have questions about a denied FEGLI claim, call our firm for a free consultation. Our attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. It means that we do not charge legal fees unless we collect the life insurance proceeds for you. Only then will we charge a reasonable legal fee. We take pride in offering competitive contingent fee structures and will work with you to ensure you are comfortable with the fee. If your claim has been denied or delayed, call our life insurance lawyers for help. We have the experience you can trust.
If you or someone you know has issues with a denied or delayed FEGLI claim after divorce, call us at 888-510-2212.