Good Day Postal Employees!!
Several months ago, (and quite frankly for the last year) I’ve been harping on reviewing your eOPF’s. Serious situations caused by improper filing of forms, and generally what is and IS NOT contained in your eOPF, was based on this case. I explained a month or so ago, that the case was resolved, and the widow had agreed to relate her story in her words, to share her experience with you so that you would not be in a situation like she faced. Below are her words…
Dear Roseanne, I would like to help others in the US Postal Service to avoid the literal nightmare I have been going through. I call it “DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!”
My husband Dan was a Carrier and had worked for the Post Office in excess of thirty years. He and I were married for fifteen years. A couple of days before we got married, we went into the main Human Resources office in our town. Dan filled out paperwork adding me to his Health Insurance and completed a new form for the Life Insurance making me his beneficiary, as his new wife. He also doubled life insurance by choosing 1 multiple of Option ‘B’. We were married a couple of days later and the premiums for the health insurance and the life insurance started coming out of his paychecks.
I had many serious health issues including cancer during our marriage and Dan took care of me. He was also a very hard working and loyal employee. Nearly two years ago, Dan wasn’t feeling well so he went to have some tests done. The test results determined that he had cancer throughout his entire body. This was devastating news. I had been the one with the serious health problems and my husband very rarely called in sick, so I had always expected that he would long outlive me. One month after Dan’s initial diagnosis, my beloved sweetheart passed away.
Along with the numbness, shock and unbearable grief I was experiencing, I needed to figure out what to do to prepare for his funeral. A couple of weeks after he passed away, I called OPM to report his death. They told me he DID NOT have Life Insurance for me! I knew he most certainly did, so I found the copy I had in our files and faxed it to them. They told me that was exactly what they needed and that they would begin to process the claim. Per Dan’s instructions before he died, I also asked about the compensation for the sick leave he had accumulated. I was very flippantly told “Oh, no one ever remembers to have employees change that Beneficiary form when they get re-married.” I had no idea there was a separate Beneficiary Form required to receive his final compensation. To add insult to injury, I discovered that his previous wife was going to receive the $15,000 that I should have received.
I was unable to work. I still owed the mortuary $8,500 for Dan’s funeral and I was under unbearable amounts of stress. I called OFEGLI every week for months to find out the status of his Life Insurance. I kept being told there was a “discrepancy” in the paper work. The “discrepancy” I was told was that the Life Insurance Dan filed for me as his beneficiary had supposedly not been sent to his electronic employee file. After nearly a year, I discovered that OFEGLI had another Life Insurance beneficiary form on file from over twenty years ago that they were considering paying. Every few months I received a form letter from OFEGLI stating my case was under review. I had lost my husband, had the mortuary breathing down my neck and no source of income. I was beside myself. As additional months passed away, I discovered that the other supposed beneficiary had been actively fighting me to obtain the life insurance.
I ended up in having to sell my husband’s cherished collectibles that were a part of our married life together, in order to get the money I needed to retain an attorney. This fight for the Life Insurance became a full-time job for me. It took a huge toll on me mentally, physically and financially. The Insurance carrier, (after nearly two years), decided they didn’t want to make the decision as to which beneficiary to pay, but rather turned the funds over to the Federal Courts. Now it was up to a Federal Judge to make that decision At that point, I had to sign a contingency form agreeing to pay my attorney a large percentage of the Life Insurance if we won the case. There is no doubt that Dan’s intentions were to take care of me as his wife. After nearly two years I am still awaiting a final decision.
I implore you to have everyone check their personnel files thoroughly and on a regular basis. My husband had no reason to believe there would be anything wrong and he had completely trusted and expected that Human Resources had done their job properly. I am an example of what happens when mistakes ARE made! I sincerely hope that by sharing this painful story that I can spare someone else from having this happen to them. Sincerely, Jill
HOPEFULLY A LESSON LEARNED TO ALL….ROSEANNE
Q & A, more via Postal Retirement Information- PostalMag.com.