HR: Benefits: Trust Employees
Life Insurance

Eligibility Requirements

You must be serving under an indefinite appointment or a temporary appointment of one year or more and have a regularly scheduled tour of duty of at least 40 hours per pay period.

Type of Coverage

SAO covers eligible employees for an amount of Basic Life Insurance equal to one times annual salary rounded up to the next even thousand dollars, at no cost to you. IRS regulations require that the cost of employer-provided life insurance coverage amounts above $50,000 be included in your gross wages as taxable income.

Eligible employees may also enroll in Optional Life Insurance coverage up to five times the Basic amount. When you enroll within the first 30 days of employment, the guaranteed issue amount is the lesser of three times your annual salary or $400,000. Higher amounts of insurance may be available with proof of good health, as determined by the insurance carrier, Prudential Insurance Company of America. Basic plus Optional coverage cannot exceed $1,000,000. The cost of Optional coverage is paid by the employee and premiums are based on the employee's age and the amount of coverage elected. Please refer to the Group Life Insurance kit for details.

If you are disabled, life insurance benefits continue in effect during your disability without premium payments, if within twelve months from the date your disability begins the insurance carrier (Prudential) receives proof that the disability (1) began while you were insured under the group plan, (2) began before you turn age 70, and (3) continued for six continuous months.

Effective Date of Coverage

Your Basic coverage is effective the date on which you become eligible. This date may be your employment date, or it may be the date a change in your appointment and/or tour of duty makes you newly eligible. Your Optional coverage becomes effective the first day of the pay period following the date that your enrollment form is received in the SAO Benefits Office.


If eligible you are automatically enrolled in the Basic Life Insurance plan. However, you should complete and forward the group life insurance enrollment form that can be found in the Group Life Insurance kit (click on the above link). Please complete this form and forward it to the SAO Benefits Office (MS17) so that we have a record of your beneficiary designation(s). This same form can be used to enroll in Optional Life Insurance. Your request for Optional life must be returned to the SAO Benefits Office within 31 days of your appointment or eligibility date. You will need to complete an Evidence of Insurability statement for any amount of Optional Life Insurance that is over the guaranteed issue amount (referenced above) or if you did not enroll in Optional Life Insurance within the first 30 days of employment.

Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

If you are on Leave Without Pay, your life insurance will continue for up to one year. The Smithsonian will pay for the Basic life insurance. If you are enrolled in Optional coverage, the agency will pay this premium for you; however, when you return from LWOP, you are responsible to reimburse the agency for the premiums that have been paid on your behalf. If you terminate employment while on leave, your life insurance coverage will terminate on the day of your termination and you will be billed for the premiums that were paid on your behalf. You will have the right to convert the policy to a non-group plan at that time. If your leave extends for more than one year, your life insurance will automatically terminate after one year.

If You Leave SAO

If you leave SAO or lose your life insurance eligibility due to a change in your appointment, you may convert your insurance to a private policy without proof of insurability, if accomplished within 31 days of your separation date. If you retire at age 50 or over, with at least 10 years of Smithsonian Trust Fund service, you may be eligible to continue Basic term life insurance as a retiree under the Smithsonian Institution's group plan.

Additional Information

Life Insurance & Accidental Death and Dismemberment Certificate of Coverage

Life Insurance Reduction Notices

If you have questions, please contact the SAO Benefits Office at (617) 495-7371.


Section Photo