Special benefits apply to federal employees hit by Hurricane Sandy

November 8, 2012

This post has been updated.

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

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 notifying the plan of an emergency hospital admission or treatment by a non-network provider.

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

Further, enrollees in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program in the affected areas who miss premium payments will not risk having their coverage cancelled. 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 meanwhile has established a phone line, 888-472-2967, for retirees and survivor beneficiaries affected by Hurricane Sandy. It said that November payments made through direct deposit went out as usual and referred those receiving paper checks who did not get them on their normal schedule to a U.S. Postal Service site.

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

Meanwhile, the National Treasury Employees Union has said it will match dolllar-for-dollar, up to a total of $25,000, 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 www.feea.org 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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