If you’re either a current or retired federal employee considering leaving your spouse, then you might wonder what becomes of your Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) if you divorce. Fortunately, the federal government has a clear plan when it comes to what happens with benefits at each stage including separation, annulment and divorce.
When it comes to couples that have filed for a legal separation, an insured’s spouse is allowed to continue receiving benefits up until midnight on the day the annulment or divorce is finalized. It’s important to note that, when it comes to FEHB benefits, even if a judge orders that coverage to remain active, federal law disallows that.
Therefore, to remain in compliance with the judge’s order, you may elect to pursue one of three different temporary options including extending your spouse’s health benefits though the Spouse Equity Act, requesting a FEHB individual policy for them or by continuing coverage under the Temporary Continuation of Coverage provision.
With your other federal benefits such as your Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance policy, upon your divorce, you may wish to complete Form 2823 to change your designated beneficiary.
You may wish to do the same with your survivor annuity as well. To do so, you’ll want to contact your benefits representative for your agency and let them know that your marriage has ended. If you’re retired, you’ll want to contact the Office of Personnel Management instead.
With your Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program benefits, you’ll want to inform them of your divorce within 60 days of it being finalized. If you don’t, then you’ll have to continue paying insurance premiums for your spouse up until the next annual enrollment period comes back around again.
A divorce does not affect your Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program enrollment so long as you keep paying your monthly premiums.With your Flexible Spending Account, you can make modifications to this account when you marital status changes. As for your Thrift Savings Plan, a divorce decree allows you to award your proceeds to someone other than your former spouse.
If you’re looking to get divorced and you’re concerned about how much alimony your spouse may be awarded or whether he or she will be entitled to your pension or benefits, then you may find discussing your legal matter with a Houston divorce attorney to be particularly helpful.
Source: FED Week, “What happens to benefits on separation, annulment or divorce,” July 20, 2017