Federal Employee Benefits - FederalPay.org
The employment benefits provided to federal employees are generous. Many applicants consider federal jobs because of the generous health and life insurance benefits, retirement savings plans, and more. Whether you are applying for federal employment or are currently a federal employee, understanding the full extent of your benefits is essential.
Who is Entitled to Federal Employee Benefits?
Current employees can enroll in or change their federal employee benefits, but only during the annual Open Season. There is an exception for employees who experience a qualifying life event, such as marriage. In those cases, employees can change their plans outside of Open Season. New employees are allowed to enroll in federal employee benefits outside of Open Season. To enroll in FEGLI, you will need to enroll during one of the program’s infrequent open seasons or outside the open season if:
- You take a physical exam or
- You have a qualifying life event
Federal retirees and their survivors are also eligible for federal employee benefits programs. Additionally, survivors, federal employees, or retirees may qualify for death and survivor benefits.
Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program (FEDVIP)
The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Is a health insurance program available for federal employees. Once you enroll, you can choose between High-Deductible and Consumer-Driven plans that offer the following types of plans:
- Catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles
- Health savings/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums
- Nationwide Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans
- Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)
- Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) if you live or sometimes if you work within the area serviced by the plan
It is essential that you review the FEHB plan brochure carefully so that you understand all of the covered services and the premiums and deductibles you will need to pay. You can get a brochure from your human resources office and ask them any questions you may have. You can enroll during the annual FEHB Open Season. You can also change health plans or options, change participation in premium conversion, cancel your FEHB enrollment or waive or begin participation. Newly eligible employees must enroll within 60 days of their becoming eligible for the program.
Federal Employee Retirement Benefits (FERS)
Federal employees can also benefit from the Federal Employee Retirement Benefits (FERS) program. The program provides retirement benefits from the Social Security, Basic Benefit Plan, and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Two of the three aspects of FERS can transfer with you to your new job if you leave Federal Government employment before retirement.
The Social Security and Basic Benefit parts of FERS require you to pay a share each pay period. The agency will be without the Social Security and Basic Benefit costs from your pay as payroll deductions. After you retire, you will receive annuity payments each month for the rest of your life. The TSP part of FERS is an account your agency will automatically set up for you. Your agency will deposit an amount equal to 1 percent of your basic pay in your account every pay period.
Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)
You are also entitled to vision and dental insurance from various dental and vision plans that meet your needs. Your dental plan will cover all of your preventative care. Most plans do not have age limits or waiting periods for coverage. The vision insurance program offers excellent coverage for only a few dollars per week. It includes coverage for annual eye exams, laser correction discounts, breakage warranties, and generous allowances for frames.
Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS)
Many federal employees are eligible to enroll in a flexible spending account (FSAS) that can be used to pay for many medical and dependent care expenses. These accounts allow you to pay expenses with pre-tax dollars, lowering your tax liability, helping you pay for expenses, and allowing you to keep more money in your wallet. The dependant care FSA can pay for summer camps and daycare and even provide compensation for non-dependent family members for watching your children while you are at work. Health care FSA can be used for larger expenses that aren’t covered by insurance, such as:
- Orthodontics or medical equipment
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Insurance co-pays
Pay and Leave Benefits
Federal employees also receive generous annual leave for vacations, rest, relaxation, and personal business or emergencies. Employees have the right to take annual leave. When an employee departs from federal service, he or she can receive a lump-sum payment for unused accumulated and accrued annual leave. Full-time employees are entitled to a minimum of four hours of leave time for each pay period. The longer an employee works for the federal government, the more leave time he or she occurs.
Federal Employee Group Life Insurance Program (FEGLI)
Federal employees are also entitled to life insurance through the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program. This group term life insurance program is available to Federal and Postal employees and retirees. All employees in eligible positions will be automatically enrolled in Basic Life Insurance unless they waive the coverage by choice. Basic Life insurance is effective on the first day an employee enters a pay and duty status. Employees can choose to enroll in three types of Optional Insurance:
- Option A: standard optional insurance
- Option B: additional optional insurance
- Option C: family optional insurance
Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP)
Long-term care insurance covers expenses associated with long-term nursing home care, senior care, services, and support. Many of us will require long-term care services at some point. Enrolling in a long-term care insurance program can help you and your loved ones pay for nursing home care without losing the majority of the assets in your estate. Long-term care insurance reimburses you for the cost of skilled nursing care, physician and rehabilitation therapy, skilled nursing care, and assistance with daily living activities.
Thrift Savings Plan for Current Federal Employees
Current federal employees can contribute to a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which offers the same tax benefits and savings as a private-sector 401(k) plan. In addition to federal retirement benefits, Thrift Savings Plans are effective tools for preparing for retirement.
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