I just want to take a few moments to wish all retirees and their families a happy holiday season. Being with your family is extremely important during this time of year. As retirees, working the long hours at the post office is behind us but that doesn’t mean we should forget the friends we left behind. Make a visit to the PO and visit the people you worked with for so many years. I don’t know about you but I don’t miss the work, I miss the people. After working 30-40 years or more with the same group of people, they become a second family that you don’t see very often.
2014 will bring several important functions. The state convention will be in San Jose May 17-18. There will be a Retirement Seminar as part of the state convention on May 17. The national convention will be July 21-25 with the craft and retiree conferences being July 19 and 20. Exact information regarding hotels, itineraries and classes is not available at this time. That information will be posted when it becomes available.
A question all retirees need to ask themselves is: “Do I know where all my important papers are regarding my life, family, home and retirement?” The APWU puts out a booklet entitled “Your Retirement Records Organizer-Vital Papers” that enables you to put into one location all the vital information you (or your family) may need in case something happens to you. Information you place into the book includes:
1. Pension information
2. Veteran’s benefits
3. Thrift Savings Plan information
4. Savings account information
5. Checking account information
6. Savings bonds/Certificate of deposit information
8. Safety deposit box
9. Life insurance
10. Deeds, titles and trusts
The list goes on. The book can be a blessing to those who are trying to probate your assets. If you wish a copy, contact Judy Beard, APWU Retiree Director, at (202) 842-854. Make sure someone other than yourself knows the location of this book and the supporting documentation.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) also puts out several pamphlets that may be of assistance to you and your family. These pamphlets include:
1. RI 25-26 Information for Survivor Annuitants (CSRS)
2. RI 79-2 Information for Retirees and Survivor Annuitants (FERS)
3. RI 76-12 Information for Retirees and Their Families (FEGLI-Federal Employees Group Life
4. RI 90-12 Information for Survivor Annuitants (FERS)
5. RI 38-126 Life Events and Your Retirement and Insurance Benefits (For Annuitants)
These and other pamphlets are available from OPM online at opm.gov/retire or by e-mail at email@example.com
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to make sure the Office of Federal Employee’s Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) has the correct beneficiaries listed. OFEGLI will only pay benefits to those listed on your form SF 2823. You can change your beneficiaries by filling a new SF 2823, Designation of Beneficiary. You can get the SF 2823 by either calling 1-888-767-6738, using e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or writing to:
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
PO Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045
You can also download the form at www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/life-insurance. After you complete the form mail both copies to the address listed above. To be valid, your designation must be in writing, signed, witnessed by two persons, and received by the OPM prior to your death. Witnesses to the designation may not be named as beneficiaries (RI 76-12, page 24).
Failure to keep your designation of beneficiary up-to-date could cause problems. For example, when you first were hired by the PO, you listed your spouse as your beneficiary. Later, after getting a divorce, you get married again and have a new spouse but you didn’t change your beneficiary to include the new spouse. In the event of your death, the divorced spouse and not your current spouse will receive your insurance. You need to make sure you have the coverage you desire.
Remember, you must request OPM to send your survivors the necessary forms to collect your life insurance and not the Office of Federal Employee’s Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI). OFEGLI will make the necessary payments once it receives the paperwork from OPM.
Have a great holiday season and a prosperous 2014!
Frank Townsend, President
California State Retirees Division