FEGLI Beneficiary Change / No Beneficiary Designation

We have written in our other blogs about various issues that may arise in the context of a beneficiary change. However, FEGLI (Federal Employees Group Life Insurance) policies are controlled by an entirely different set of rules.

For example, if the policyowner desires to change the beneficiary on her policy she must sign a special change of beneficiary form in the presence of two witnesses. The two witnesses should also sign the form and to be effective it must be received and approved by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) before the insured’s death.

If the FEGLI change of beneficiary form is not signed by two witnesses it may be considered invalid and the insurance company may pay the benefits to the beneficiary designated before the attempted change.

Similarly, if OPM received the beneficiary change form after the insured died, the change may not be deemed complete even if all other requirements are met. If OPM received the change of beneficiary form before the insured’s death but did not approve the change before the death, the change may also be invalidated. These cases may require legal assistance from a lawyer who works deals with this area of the law.

At our law firm, our FEGLI attorneys work with clients whose claims have been denied or delayed due to problems with a beneficiary change. We are ready to assist you in expediting payment on your FEGLI claim or appealing a denial of FEGLI benefits.

No Beneficiary on File

If you are a family member of a FEGLI insured who recently passed away, you may want to know who is entitled to receive benefits if no beneficiary was designated.

Under the law governing FEGLI claims, the amount of group life insurance and group accidental death insurance in force on an employee at the date of his death shall be paid, on the establishment of a valid claim, to the person or persons surviving at the date of his death, in the following order of precedence:

1) To the beneficiary or beneficiaries designated by the employee in a signed and witnessed writing received before death in the employing office. For this purpose, a designation, change, or cancellation of beneficiary in a will or other document not so executed and filed has no force or effect.

2) If there is no designated beneficiary, to the widow or widower of the employee.

3) If none of the above, to the child or children of the employee and descendants of deceased children by representation.

4) If none of the above, to the parents of the employee or the survivor of them.

5) If none of the above, to the duly appointed executor or administrator of the estate of the employee.

6) If none of the above, to other next of kin of the employee entitled under the laws of the domicile of the employee at the date of his death.[1]

Further, the law states that if, within 1 year after the death of the employee, no claim for payment has been filed by a person entitled under the order of precedence or if payment to the person within that period is prohibited by Federal statute or regulation, payment may be made in the order of precedence as if the person had predeceased the employee, and the payment bars recovery by any other person.

If, within 2 years after the death of the employee, no claim for payment has been filed by a person entitled under the order of precedence and neither the Office of Personnel Management nor the administrative office established by the company has received notice that such a claim will be made, payment may be made to the claimant who in the judgment of the Office is equitably entitled thereto, and the payment bars recovery by any other person.

Finally, the amount payable will escheat to the credit of the Employees’ Life Insurance Fund if within 4 years after the death of the employee, payment is not made and no claim for payment by a person entitled under this section is pending. [2]

FEGLI claims may take a long time to pay.  If there is a problem with a beneficiary on file, your claim may be delayed indefinitely. To avoid unnecessary delays, seek legal assistance early in the claim review process. If your FEGLI claim is denied or delayed and you have questions about your legal rights to the benefits, call us at 1-888-510-2212 for a free consultation.

Call us now at (888) 510-2212. Competitive contingent fees.

[2]5 U.S. Code § 8705 (b), (e), (d).

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About the author

Attorney Tatiana Kadetskaya has over 10 years of experience in life insurance law representing beneficiaries and policy owners. She is best known for successfully collecting denied and delayed claims and settling complex beneficiary disputes and interpleader lawsuits.

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