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Survivor Benefits & Support

Nobody likes to think about the end of life, but it's important to make plans to ensure that our loved ones are cared for in the event of our death.  The sections below will provide you with information on steps you can take to ensure that those who you love will be provided for.

To contact a CBP Survivor Advocate, send an email to:

When is the last time you looked at your beneficiary forms for Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program?  In order to ensure that your final wishes are carried out,  you should review your Electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF) for any current Designation of Beneficiary forms that you may have on file. If there are none and you do not complete any new forms, upon your death all of your federal benefits would go, by law, to your surviving spouse.

If you previously filed Designation of Beneficiary forms and named one or more beneficiaries, you will need to review the forms to determine whether you wish to make any changes.

If you revise any beneficiary forms, the original forms should be sent to the Retirements and Benefits Advisory Service (RABAS). The designations are not valid until received and certified.

The forms can be obtained by visiting the OPM website.

Some of the kinds of benefits payable to surviving beneficiaries upon the death of an employee include:

  • Life Insurance (FEGLI)
  • Unpaid Compensation: the employee's last pay check, including annual leave balance SF-1152
  • Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), SF-3102
  • Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), SF-2808
  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), TSP-3

RABAS coordinates the eligibility for other financial resources, including those specifically set aside for the survivors of CBP employees killed in the line of duty. For more information on possible benefits and entitlements, along with typical timelines for the payment of each, read our CBP Survivor Benefits brochure.

The Retirement and Benefits Advisory Services (RABAS) serves as the primary coordination point for the agency's response to surviving beneficiaries for the federal benefits of an employee who has passed away.

RABAS is notified by either the Commissioner's Situation Room and/or management when a serious injury or death of a CBP employee occurs. RABAS will schedule an in-person counseling visit with the beneficiaries named in the forms in your eOPF and will assist them in preparing the necessary benefits claim forms to obtain those benefits. RABAS also ensures that the named beneficiaries receive a CBP flag and flag box, which includes a plate inscribed with the deceased employee's name and dates of service, and a condolence card signed by the Commissioner of CBP.

It is very important to view your Electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF) to make sure these important beneficiary documents are up to date to ensure that your benefits are provided in accordance with your wishes in the event of an untimely death.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all CBP employees and their families and provides confidential counseling sessions free of charge. You can contact EAP 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-755-7002.

The Federal Government established the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program on August 29, 1954. It is the largest group life insurance program in the world, covering over 4 million Federal employees and retirees, as well as many of their family members.

Increasing Life Insurance:

Employees can increase their life insurance coverage under three conditions:

  1. During an open season period scheduled by Office of Personnel Management
  2. Due to a qualifying life event: FEGLI life events are marriage, divorce, death of spouse, or acquisition of an eligible child. With a life event, you can enroll or increase coverage in Basic, Option A, up to five multiples of Option B, and/or up to five multiples of Option C. You must submit an SF-2817 to your human resources office within 60 days after the life event.
  3. Eligible employees can enroll or increase their coverage by taking a physical exam. For more information about the physical exam, please see SF-2822.

Reducing or Cancelling Life Insurance:

You can reduce or cancel your FEGLI life insurance at any time, without waiting for an open season.

If you are an employee, submit an SF-2817 to your human resources office, signing only for the coverage you want to keep.

If you are retired, there is no form; you must write a signed letter to OPM's Retirement Office stating clearly the reduction or cancellation you want to make. Be sure to include your signature, annuity number (CSA/CSF) or social security number, and your phone number. Send the letter to:

Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
P.O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045

Note: You cannot enroll, increase coverage, or restore cancelled coverage after you have retired.

Changing Beneficiaries:

You can change beneficiaries at any time, without waiting for an open season. Submit an SF-2823 to your human resources office or to OPM's Retirement Office if you have retired. OPM's Retirement Office mailing address is:

Office of Personnel Management
Retirement Operations Center
P.O. Box 45
Boyers, PA 16017-0045

The Special Agents Mutual Benefit Association (SAMBA) Employee Benevolent Fund (EBF) provides an immediate lump-sum death benefit payment to the beneficiaries of a participating CBP employee. The benefit is usually paid within 24 to 48 hours after notification of the employee’s death.

Beneficiaries can use this benefit to help with expenses while other benefits—that often take much longer to pay out—are being finalized. For example, after notification of an employee’s death:

  • Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance is typically paid within 4 to 6 weeks;
  • Unpaid CBP compensation is typically paid within 4 to 6 weeks;
  • Federal Employees Retirement System is typically paid within 6 to 8 weeks; and
  • Thrift Saving Plan is typically paid within 3 to 6 months.

All newly hired permanent full-time and part-time active employees have 60 days to enroll in the SAMBA EBF.  The SAMBA EBF sponsors an open season every two to three years for employees who did not previously enroll.

Last Modified: Jun 30, 2023
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