Retirement & Financial Planning Report

If you are an employee who is getting married, you’ll need to notify your personnel office. If you are a retiree, you’ll need to notify OPM. The rules governing survivor annuities are different for employees and retirees. If you are an employee, you are required to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse.

If you filled out a Standard Form 2808 (CSRS) or 3102 (FERS) when you were first hired and designated one or more people to receive any benefits in the event of your death, you’ll need to change that designation when you get married. If you are a retiree, that decision is entirely up to you. You can change the designation or leave it as it is. Copies of the designation forms are downloadable at www.opm.gov/forms.

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If you aren’t enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program when you get married, you can do that now. If you are already enrolled, you can change your coverage. For example, if you were single, you can change from self only to self plus one. If you were enrolled in self plus one to cover a dependent child, you can change to self and family. On the other hand, if you were already enrolled in self and family to cover your eligible children, all you have to do is add your new spouse (and any children your spouse brings to the marriage). Note: When you get married, you’ll also have the option of changing from one plan or option to another.

If you are enrolled in the self and family option, all you have to do is contact your health plan and let them know that you have a new family member. Otherwise, you’ll have to submit an enrollment change from 31 days before the marriage to 60 days after it. Standard Form 2809, Health Benefits Election Form, is available at www.opm.gov/forms.

If you enrolled in the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance program (FEGLI) when you were hired, you probably filled out a designation of beneficiary form and specified who you wanted to get the proceeds of that policy if you died. When you get married, you may want to change that designation. Whether you are an employee or a retiree, you can do that by filling out Standard Form 2823, downloadable at www.opm.gov/forms.

On marriage, a Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program enrollee may increase coverage from self-only to self plus one or to self and family, or from self plus one to self and family, although initial enrollment is not allowed, nor is cancellation or changing from one plan to another. The change must be made from 31 days before to 60 days after the marriage. Enrollment changes are made at www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/dental-vision/enrollment.

A new spouse of an individual eligible for Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program becomes eligible to apply for coverage, regardless of that person’s enrollment status. If your spouse applies within 60 days of the marriage, only a shortened underwriting form is used. Afterward, full underwriting applies. A child of your spouse who is age 18 or older also becomes eligible but always is subject to full underwriting. Enrollment is through www.ltcfeds.com.

Marriage is a qualifying status event allowing changes in allotments to flexible spending accounts, from 31 days before to 60 days after the marriage. Your requested change must be consistent with the event and you cannot enroll or increase your election(s) after October 1; after that date, you would have to wait until the fall open season, and elections would be effective with the following calendar year. These changes can be made through www.fsafeds.com.

If you previously filed a TSP designation of beneficiary form (TSP-3) naming someone other than your now-spouse as beneficiary, you likely will want to change that by filing a new form; the marriage does not override that designation. The form is available through personnel offices, the TSP, P.O. Box 385021, Birmingham, AL, 35238, phone (877) 968-3778, or at https://www.tsp.gov/forms/formspubs.shtml. If you never did, or do, file one of those forms, your account will be distributed automatically on your death according to an order of precedence required by law, which starts with a surviving spouse.

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