Retirement and life insurance


Q: My father retired from active duty in 1961. He then went into government service until 1980. He served in the Korean War and World War II. He is now 93 and has Alzheimer’s, so he doesn’t know who we are. My mother is 84 and takes care of him. She gave me a piece of paper that has dad’s retirement information. She asked me what the $22.08 that comes out every month from dad’s check is for. It says “post retirement basic life insurance”. She said dad has paid this since 1961, but she has no idea what it is for. Is this a whole life insurance? Term life? I have to believe it is not term life as it has been almost 50 years. Where can I find out what this is for and how it may benefit my mom and dad now? Or is it only for after my father dies?

A: You didn’t say whether the deduction is being taken from his military retired pay or his civilian annuity. If it’s coming from his civilian annuity, it would mean that he elected to retain a higher percentage of his basic life insurance. Anyone who allows that insurance to reduce to 25 percent of its face value receives that coverage at no additional cost. If he elected to have it reduce to only 50 percent or chose to keep full coverage, he would continue to pay the premiums until he canceled it or died.

Since we only deal with civilian benefit questions, I can’t be of any help if the money is coming out of his military retired pay. You’d have to refer your question to the finance center for his branch of service.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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