Q: My brother retired from the U.S. Postal Service a few years ago. He passed away a few weeks ago, and his wife asked the San Antonio post office how she could apply for his insurance. She was told that he had no insurance. He specifically told me that he did: I retired from civil service and have insurance, and my brother said that he had the same sort of coverage. If he has a claim it would be a great aid to his widow. A: His widow should call the Office of Personnel Management’s Retirement Information Office at 888-767-6738…

Q: My wife died 13 years ago. How do I assign my survivor benefits to my common-law wife? A: You can submit new designation-of-beneficiary forms: SF 2823 for Federal Employees Group Life Insurance; SF 2808 for the Civil Service Retirement System or SF 3102 for the Federal Employees Retirement System survivor annuity; and TSP-3 for your Thrift Savings Plan investments (available on the TSP website). Some of these benefits may only be available in a state that recognizes common-law marriages. Check with an attorney to make sure that your state is one of them.

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