Can’t Make Your FEGLI Selections in Time? You May Have Options

Are you planning to take advantage of the FEGLI open season but can’t make your selections before the deadline? You may still be able to participate according to new guidance from OPM.

The Office of Personnel Management said in a recent memo that some federal employees may be able to enroll or make changes to their coverage options past the end of FEGLI open season this month, provided they meet certain qualifications.

The FEGLI Open Season is currently underway and ends on Friday, September 30, 2016.

Applicable Employees

OPM is granting agencies the authority to accept belated FEGLI Open Season elections beyond the six month regulatory time limit for two categories of employees:

  1. Employees who have been called to active military duty before October 1, 2016
  2. Employees who have been sent overseas in a civilian military support capacity before October 1, 2016
    • This includes those deployed in support of a contingency operation as defined by section 101(a) (13) of title 10 and civilian employees in the Department of Defense eligible for FEGLI who are designated as “emergency essential” under section 1580 of Title 10 Employees in the first category may make an open season election within 60 days of returning to a covered civilian position, even if their return is after March 31, 2017.

Employees in the second category may make an open season election within 60 days of returning to a covered position that is not in a military support capacity, even if that return is after March 31, 2017.

Effective Date of Elections Made under the Special Authority

The effective date of coverage elected under this special authority is the same date as all other open season elections: The first day of the first pay period that begins on or after October 1, 2017, and follows a pay period during which the employee meets pay and duty requirements.

Agencies are advised to keep track of the number of belated elections they allow under this authority, because OPM will be requesting this information at a later time.

Open Season Election Errors

In the memo, OPM noted that a common mistake an employee may make during the open season election process is not signing up for all coverage.

When making a FEGLI Open Season election, an employee must sign for all coverage the employee wants to have, not just the coverage he/she wants to elect or increase. Any coverage not elected is waived.

For example, an employee who has Basic and Option B may want to add Option C without changing any other coverage. If the employee submits a FEGLI Open Season election for Basic and Option C (but not Option B), the employee has accidentally cancelled Option B.

OPM said that it authorizes agencies to correct an employee’s error and reinstate the erroneously cancelled Optional coverage if the employee notifies his/her personnel office of the mistake before the end of the second pay period following the pay period in which the Open Season election became effective. For employees whose coverage goes into effect October 1, 2017, this would be the pay period ending November 11, 2017.

Employees with questions about their personal situations or making elections during the FEGLI open season should contact their servicing human resources office for assistance.

BAL 16-208 Belated FEGLI Open Season Elections and Election Errors

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.