Basic Group Life Insurance Program Features for Active & Retired Members
If your employer participates in the VRS Group Life Insurance Program, you are covered from the first day of employment. Your employer may pay your portion of the premiums.
- Full-time permanent, salaried state employees and faculty of Virginia’s public colleges and universities. Some part-time permanent, salaried state employees also are covered under the Basic Group Life Insurance Program.
- Full-time permanent, salaried instructional and management employees of the state’s local public school divisions. These employees include teachers, school administrators, school managers and clerical staff.
- Full-time permanent, salaried employees of VRS-participating political subdivisions, provided the political subdivision has elected to participate in the Group Life Insurance Program. Political subdivision employees may include school maintenance, janitorial and cafeteria employees and school bus drivers as elected by the school division. Contact your human resource office to find out if you are eligible.
Natural Death Benefit
The benefit amount is equal to your creditable compensation , rounded to the next highest thousand and then doubled.
Example: If your creditable compensation is $41,400, that amount would be rounded to $42,000 and then doubled for a natural death benefit of $84,000.
Accidental Death Benefit
The benefit amount is double the natural death benefit.
Example: If your natural death benefit is $84,000, that amount would be doubled for an accidental death benefit of $168,000.
Accidental Dismemberment Benefit
For the accidental loss of one limb or the sight of one eye, your benefit is equal to your creditable compensation rounded to the next highest thousand. For the accidental loss of two or more limbs, total loss of eyesight or the loss of one limb and one eye, your benefit is equal to your creditable compensation rounded to the next highest thousand and then doubled.
If you die or suffer dismemberment in an accident while driving or riding in a private passenger vehicle, your life insurance will pay an additional amount equal to 10% of the accidental death or dismemberment benefit or $50,000, whichever is less. You must have been using a seatbelt. This benefit is not payable if you or another person was driving without a license, under the influence of alcohol or drugs or otherwise impaired.
If you die in an accident 75 miles or more from your home, your life insurance will pay for the cost of transportation to return your remains to your home, up to $5,000.
Felonious Assault Benefit
Your basic group life insurance coverage provides additional benefits if you die or are dismembered as a result of a felonious assault while performing your job duties. The incident must have occurred at your employer’s normal place of business or while you were on work-related travel. No benefit is payable if the assaulter is an immediate family member. Felonious assault benefits include:
- $50,000 or 25% of your accidental death or dismemberment benefit, whichever is less.
- Virginia College Savings Plan account for each qualifying child if the member dies as a result of the assault. The amount is approximately equal to the average cost of four years of tuition and mandatory fees at a public college or university in Virginia. The child may attend any accredited college or university that participates in federal student financial aid programs.
Accelerated Death Benefit
If you are diagnosed with a terminal condition and have fewer than 12 months to live, you can withdraw some or all of your life insurance coverage to use for any purpose. Your beneficiary or survivor will receive any amount remaining in your coverage upon your death.
Additional Information about Your Group Life Insurance
Coverage While on Leave without Pay
If you go on leave without pay or go on military leave, your basic group life insurance coverage will continue for up to 24 months or for as long as you are on military leave, provided the premiums are paid. If you have optional group life insurance, your coverage will continue as long as you pay the premiums and continue to be covered under the basic group life program.
You own your rights in your group life insurance coverage. You may transfer your ownership rights to another living person or entity. However, this is an irrevocable assignment; you cannot change it once it is made. Before making an irrevocable assignment, contact a legal advisor or Securian Financial toll-free at 1-800-441-2258 for assistance. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to consider the Accelerated Death Benefit.
You may not borrow from or use your group life insurance coverage to secure a loan.
Imputed income is the value of life insurance in excess of $50,000, as determined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is subject to FICA and income taxes and is reflected in the W-2 you receive from your employer. When you retire, VRS will deduct FICA taxes and report taxable or imputed income for as long as your group life insurance coverage exceeds $50,000. For more information, see Insurance in Retirement.
Child Support Liens
The Department of Social Services may file child support liens against proceeds payable under the Group Life Insurance Program. VRS is required to pay life insurance proceeds to the Department of Social Services to satisfy any outstanding child support obligations at your death.
Basic Group Life Insurance Program Features Just for Retirees
If you are covered under the VRS Group Life Insurance Program, some basic group life insurance benefits will continue into retirement or if you are eligible to retire but defer retirement. Your coverage will end if you have not met the age and service requirements for retirement or you take a refund of your member contributions and interest.
Your coverage includes
- Death benefit equal to your creditable compensation at retirement, rounded to the next highest thousand and then doubled. The provision that allows for payment of double the death benefit for accidental death ceases upon leaving employment. Dismemberment insurance also ceases upon leaving employment.
- If you have 20 or more years of service, your death benefit is equal to twice your highest annual creditable compensation in your history of VRS-covered employment, even if your creditable compensation is lower when you leave employment.
- Accelerated death benefit. If you are diagnosed with a terminal condition and have fewer than 12 months to live, you can withdraw part or all of your Basic Group Life Insurance coverage for any purpose. Any amount remaining in your plan is paid to your beneficiary.
Your coverage begins to reduce on January 1 following one calendar year after your employment ends. You may end employment and defer retirement until a later date; however, the Group Life Insurance will begin reducing based on the last month of employment. The reduction rate is 25% each January 1 until it reaches 25% of the total life insurance benefit value at retirement. If you have at least 30 years of service credit , your coverage cannot reduce below $8,616. This minimum will be increased annually based on the VRS Plan 2 cost-of-living adjustment calculation.
You retire/defer retirement;
Your life insurance benefit is equal to your creditable compensation at retirement, rounded to the next highest thousand and then doubled
You retired on March 1, 2020. Your creditable compensation at retirement was $49,780; for your life insurance coverage, that amount is rounded to $50,000 then doubled to equal $100,000 at retirement
On January 1 following one calendar year after your employment ends (January through December)
Your life insurance coverage reduces 25%
Your first 25% reduction will be on January 1, 2022 with remaining coverage of $75,000
On January 1 following three calendar years after your employment ends (January through December)
Your life insurance coverage reduces a final 25% and remains at that value for the rest of your retirement.
Your final reduction will be on January 1, 2024 and your coverage will remain at $25,000 for the rest of your retirement.
Keep Your Beneficiary Up to Date
To change your beneficiary, complete the Designation of Beneficiary (VRS-2) and mail it to Virginia Retirement System, P.O. Box 2500 Richmond, VA, 23218-2500.
Your coverage begins to reduce on January 1 following one calendar year from the month you reach your normal retirement age. The reduction rate is 25 percent each January 1 until it reaches 25 percent of its value at retirement.
Note: If you took either service or disability retirement before July 1, 2001, your Basic Group Life Insurance reduces 2 percent per month until it reaches 25 percent of its value at retirement.
Virginia Sickness & Disability Program Participants
If you are on long-term disability through the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP), refer to the current VSDP Handbook for Members pdf icon for information regarding your life insurance coverage.