Storm-related Benefits Available for Federal Employees, Retirees

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Federal employees and retirees who are victims of Hurricane Sandy are eligible for several special benefits, including additional supplies of medications, the government said this week.

The Office of Personnel Management said that fee-for-service health plans under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program also are to relax certain restrictions, such as deadlines for notification of an emergency hospital admission or treatment by a non-network provider.

The guidance came as a nor'easter targeted much of the same area that Sandy struck a week ago.

In addition, enrollees in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program in the affected areas who miss premium payments will not risk cancellation of their coverage. OPM also ordered faster procedures for paying death benefit claims under the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance program, including temporarily waiving the requirement for a death certificate.

OPM has established a phone line, 888-472-2967, for retirees and survivor beneficiaries affected by last week's storm.

It said that November payments made through direct deposit went out as usual. Those who usually receive paper checks but did not get them on their normal schedule should visit the about.usps.com/news/service-alerts/welcome.htm website.

OPM previously authorized agencies to conduct a charitable collection in their workplaces for disaster relief.

Meanwhile, the National Treasury Employees Union has said it will match up to $25,000 in contributions made to the NTEU charity fund that is part of the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund, which is making disaster-assistance grants to affected federal employees.

Donations can be made through or by mail to FEEA Headquarters, 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300, Lakewood, Colo., 80227.

To qualify for a matching contribution, the NTEU fund must be designated.

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