Benefits and Entitlements for Civilian Employees Who are on Leave Without Pay-Uniform Services

This article provides guidance on how employees’ benefits and entitlements are affected when they are called to active duty military service and placed in a non pay status.


An employee covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program who is placed in Leave Without Pay (LWOP) - US, can continue his/her health benefits enrollment for a total of 24 months. If the employee is called or ordered to active duty in support of a contingency operation, on or after September 14, 2001, his/her Agency is allowed to pay both the employee’s share, and the government’s share of the FEHB premium, if all five of the following requirements are met: 1) the employee is enrolled in the FEHB program and elects to continue that enrollment; 2) the employee is a member of a reserve component of the armed forces; 3) the employee is called or ordered to active duty in support of a contingency operation as defined in title10 U.S.C. section 101(a)(13); 4) the employee is placed on LWOP or separated from service to perform active duty; and 5) the employee serves on active duty for more than 30 consecutive days.

If the employee’s military service is not in support of a contingency operation, and he/she elects to continue FEHB coverage, the employee pays his/her share of the premiums and the Agency is responsible for paying the government share for the first 12 months of coverage. Thereafter, the employee pays 100% of the full premium plus an additional 2% administrative fee for the last 12 months. After the 24-month period, the employee is not entitled to Temporary Continuation Coverage.


An employee covered by the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) who is placed in LWOP or who separates to perform military service, will continue to be covered under the basic and all forms of optional coverage for up to 12 months at no cost. Employees can elect to keep FEGLI coverage for an additional 12 months. However, the employee must pay both the employee and agency share of the premiums for coverage. Employee must complete the Notice and Election Form before the end of the 12 months in nonpay status or the FEGLI coverage will automatically terminate and the employee has a 31-day temporary extension of coverage for conversion to a non-group policy.


An employee placed in LWOP –US continues to be covered by the retirement laws. The period of military service is creditable under either CSRS or FERS, subject to the rules for crediting military service. In some cases it will be necessary to make a military deposit for the period of military service to receive retirement credit. If employee exercises restoration rights to his or her civilian position, the amount of the military deposit is calculated (1) 3% or 7% of the military base pay, for FERS and CSRS respectively, and (2) an alternative calculation of what the CSRS or FERS employee contributions would have been for the civilian service had the individual not entered into the military. The employee’s deposit is the lesser of the two. If the separated employee does not exercise their restoration right, but later re-enters Federal civilian service, the military service may be credited under the retirement system, subject to the normal rules governing credit for military service.

Death benefits will be paid as if he or she were still in the civilian position. If the employee becomes disabled for his or her civilian position during the LWOP and has the minimum amount of civilian service necessary for title to disability benefits (5 years for CSRS, 18 months for FERS), the employee will become entitled to disability benefits under the retirement law.


No TSP contributions can be made, either by the agency or the employee, for any time in a LWOP status or for the period of separation. However, if the employee is subsequently reemployed in, or restored to, a position covered by FERS or CSRS, they may make up missed contributions. FERS employees are entitled to receive retroactive Agency Automatic 1% Contributions.

An agency must give an employee at least two (not to exceed four) times the length of his/her military service to make up the contributions. The employee is allowed to contribute the maximum amount he/she would have been allowed to contribute, subject to statutory maximums. All TSP contributions must be through payroll deductions. Lump sum payments or rollovers are not permitted.


Employees can continue coverage and pay premiums directly to BENEFEDS on a post-tax basis. Coverage will end if the enrollee does not make premium payments to BENEFEDS. Contact FEDVIP at or 877 888 3337


Employees should contact Long Term Care Partners to change from payroll deduction of premiums to automatic bank withdrawal or direct bill. Contact FLTCIP at or 800 582 3337


Employees can either prepay their election by accelerating their allotments prior to period of active duty or freeze their accounts. Contact FSAFEDS at or 877 372 3337

Content last reviewed: 9/20/2012-VOH

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This page was last revised: 9/20/2012