Survivors of federal civilian employees killed in Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon likely are eligible for annuities under the Civil Service Retirement System or Federal Employees Retirement System. To certify their eligibility and apply for those benefits, survivors can call 724-794-2005, where the Office of Personnel Management has staffers from its Retirement and Benefits Group standing by to handle calls related to the attacks. Survivors also can call that number for assistance with expediting applications for death benefits under the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program. More information about FEGLI is available on the Web at http://www.opm.gov/insure/life/. Employees enrolled in FEGLI who were injured in the attacks also may be eligible for FEGLI dismemberment benefits. According to OPM, military service members and civilians and their families can get benefits information by calling 703-696-8467. Survivors of federal employees killed in the line of duty also may be entitled to a death gratuity payment. Agency heads must decide whether to make these payments of as much as $10,000 available to the beneficiaries of employees killed in the line of duty. The gratuity cannot exceed $10,000 when combined with a Labor Department payment of up to $800 to eligible survivors for funeral expenses, the $200 payable by Labor to reimburse the cost of the termination of the deceased's status as a federal employee and any payment payable to survivors of employees of the Interior Department or other agencies under Public Law 103-332. As news of casualties trickles in, OPM is preparing an administrative letter to send to all agency benefits coordinators with instructions for helping federal employees injured and the families of those killed in the blasts. Agency benefits coordinators can call 202-606-0788 for further information. By the end of this week, OPM will send a team to New York to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New York Federal Executive Board with coordination of benefits for federal employees.
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