Federal Employee Group Health Benefits
The federal government offers Preferred Provider Organization Plans (PPO) and Health Maintenance Organization Plans (HMO) for its employees. Employees have 60 days from the date of appointment to elect health benefits. Outside of the initial enrollment period, the next opportunity to enroll in the health benefits program and/or make changes to an existing plan is during open season (typically November to December), or due to a qualifying event such as: marriage, birth of a baby, adoption, or a spouse loses his/her job. The employee will pay a small portion of the premium while the government pays the balance. The cost is determined by the health plan selected by the employee and will be automatically deducted from the employee's regular bi-weekly pay.
Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)
The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) is available to eligible employees and their eligible family members. The premiums are withheld from the employee’s salary on a pre-tax basis. Employees pay the full cost of the optional coverage. You have 60 days from your EOD date to elect optional insurance.
Federal Employees Group Life Insurance
Life insurance coverage is equal to the rate of your annual basic pay rounded up to the next $1,000 plus $2,000, or $10,000, whichever is greater.
Basic insurance also provides an extra benefit to employees under age 45, at no additional cost. This extra benefit doubles the amount of Basic coverage payable if death occurs at age 35 or younger. The extra benefit decreases 10% each year until age 45, at which time the extra coverage will end.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) provides additional funds in the event of a fatal accident or an accident that results in the loss of a limb or eyesight. For benefits to be paid, the death or loss must occur not more than one year from the date of the accident and be a direct result of bodily injury sustained from that accident, independent of all other causes.
|For the Loss of||The Amount Payable is|
|Two or more Members*||Principal amount|
|One Member||50% of principal amount|
The Principal amount is the full amount of AD & D insurance. For employees not enrolled in Option A, it is equal to their basic coverage. For employees enrolled in Option A, it is equal to the sum of their basic coverage plus $10,000. Accidental death benefits are paid in addition to other FEGLI benefits that may be payable.
*A Member is a hand, foot, or the sight in one eye.
Please refer to the FEGLI Booklet to review the reasons for which AD & D death benefits will not be paid.
The Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program offers you three types of Optional insurance: Option A - Standard, Option B - Additional, and Option C - Family. You must be enrolled in Basic in order to elect any Optional insurance.
Option A - Standard: Life insurance coverage of $10,000.
Option B - Additional: You can elect coverage equal to one, two, three, four, or five times your annual basic pay (up to the next $1,000).
Option C - Family: You can elect to provide coverage for your spouse and eligible dependent children. When you elect Option C, all of your eligible family members are automatically covered. You can elect coverage equal to one, two, three, four, or five times your basic salary.
Spouse - $5,000 life insurance coverage.
Each eligible dependent child - $2,500 life insurance coverage.
Eligible dependent children must be unmarried and under age 22, or if age 22 or over, incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before the child reached age 22. Eligible dependent children include your natural children, adopted children, stepchildren (if they live with you in a regular parent-child relationship) recognized natural children, and foster children (if they live with you in a regular parent-child relationship).
Option A - Standard: Life insurance coverage of $10,000.
When does coverage begin?
Basic life insurance coverage is effective on the first day you enter in a pay and duty status unless you waive this coverage before the end of your first pay period. You must complete a Life Insurance Election (SF 2817) to waive insurance or to elect Optional insurance. You have 60 days from the date of your appointment to elect Optional insurance.
What if I want to change my life insurance coverage?
If you waive all insurance coverage or did not elect any Optional insurance when you were first hired, or you want to change the coverage that you have now, you have three opportunities to make changes: an open season, completion of a request for life insurance form (SF 2822), or have a life event (marriage, divorce, death of a spouse and children).
Federal First Long Term Disability Insurance
Federal First Long Term Disability Insurance provides disability insurance to enrolled federal employees. The coverage is designed to offer federal employees peace of mind in the event of an illness or injury which would prevent an employee from working and losing their source of income. If an enrolled employee becomes disabled, the Federal First’s LTD Plan, underwritten by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife), will replace up to 70% of the disabled employee's gross annual salary, tax free. The premium cost will be automatically deducted from the employee’s regular pay.
This plan is designed to let you choose between two options of benefits.
This option replaces 50% of your regular pay to a maximum benefit payment of $3,500 a month. Benefit payments begin after you’ve been totally disabled for the 30-day elimination period.
This option replaces 60% of your regular pay to a maximum benefit payment of $5,000 a month. Benefit payments begin after you’ve been totally disabled for the 60-day elimination period.
This option replaces 70% of your regular pay to a maximum benefit payment of $10,000 a month. Benefit payments begin after you’ve been totally disabled for the 90-day elimination period.
Employees can enroll, change, or cancel their participation in the LTD program at any time. Coverage begins the first day of the pay period for which premiums have been deducted from an employee’s pay.
Note:It is your responsibility to update your Federal First LTD information. Benefits will be paid according to the most current premium deduction. If your premium is not updated, future increases in salary may be subject to pre-existing conditions as described in your benefits booklet. Federal First LTD information is available on-line at www.federalfirst.com or you may contact a Federal First LTD customer service representative at (800) 233-0438 to request information.
Thrift Savings Plan
The Thrift Savings Plan is a retirement savings plan for both FERS (Federal Employees' Retirement System) and CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System) employees. If you are a FERS employee and you were hired after July 31, 2010, your agency will automatically enroll you in the TSP, and 3% of your basic pay is deducted from your paycheck each pay period and deposited in your TSP account, unless you have made an election to change or stop your contributions.
The TSP offers employees two approaches to investing money:
The Individual Funds
There are five individual investments funds: Government Securities Investment (G) Fund, Fixed Income Index Investment (F) Fund, Common Stock Index Investment (C) Fund, Small Capitalization Stock Index Investment (S) Fund, and International Stock Index Investment (I) Fund.
The L Funds
These are “lifecycle” funds that are invested according to a professionally designed mix of stocks, bonds, and government securities.
TSP offers all participants:
- Tax deferral on contributions up to the IRS elective deferral limit
- Daily valuation
- Loan program
- Portable benefits if you leave Government service
- A choice of withdrawal options
If you are a FERS employee, you are also eligible for:
- Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions to your TSP account. Once the agency opens your TSP account, an automatic deposit of 1% of your basic pay each pay period will be deposited into you TSP account, even if you elect not to participate in the program. After three years of Federal civilian service, you are vested in these contributions and their earnings.
- FERS participants receive matching contributions on the first 5% of pay that you contribute each pay period. The first 3% that you contribute will be matched dollar-for-dollar; the next 2% will be matched at 50 cents per dollar. Contributions above 5% will not be matched. If you stop making regular employee contributions, your matching contributions will also stop. You are immediately vested in all of your own contributions, the matching contributions, and earnings on both.
If you are a CSRS employee:
CSRS employees can take advantage of the TSP to provide a source of retirement income in addition to their CSRS annuity. Although CSRS employees do not receive any agency contributions, CSRS employees receive the benefit of tax deferral, an opportunity to invest in the TSP funds, and participation in the TSP Loan Program. TSP information is available on-line at www.tsp.gov.
Employees can elect to contribute to the TSP at any time; there is no waiting period. The amount an employee can contribute changes annually. Employees can elect to contribute a percentage of their basic pay or a specific dollar amount, subject to the IRS elective deferral limit. If an employee elects to contribute a percentage of their basic pay, the amount of the contributions will automatically increase when an employee receives salary increases. Employees can start, change or stop their employee contributions by making a TSP contribution election. The election will become effective no later than the first pay period after the HR Department has received the TSP-1 form. Contributions must be made through payroll deductions.
Qualified Plan Rollover
Employees can elect to transfer money into the TSP from qualified retirement plans [including pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus, and 401 (k) plans, 403(b) annuities, 457(b) plans, Simplified Employee Pensions (SEPs)], traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and conduit IRAs set up specifically to accept distributions from qualified retirement plans. Transfers will not be accepted from “Roth” IRAs, mutual funds, or savings accounts.
On November 27, 2002, the President signed Public Law (Pub. L.) No. 107-304, which permits eligible Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants who are age 50 or older to make tax-deferred “catch-up” contributions from their basic pay to their TSP accounts.
Eligibility for Catch-up Contributions
You are eligible to make catch-up contributions as long as:
You are in pay status. You must be currently employed and receiving pay because the contributions are made by payroll deductions. You cannot be separated from service or in non-pay status; and
You are contributing either the maximum TSP contribution percentage or an amount which will result in your reaching the IRS elective deferral limit by the end of the relevant year; and
You must be at least 50 years old in the year the catch-up contributions are made (even if your birthday is December 31 of that year); and
- You are not in the six month non-contribution period following the receipt of a financial hardship in-service withdrawal.
Annual Catch-up Contribution Limits
Catch-up contributions are not subject to the IRS elective deferral limits. However, the contribution is limited to $5,500 per year.
The catch-up contribution (like the regular employee contribution) applies to the year in which the pay date occurs. Your catch-up contributions will stop automatically when you meet the IRS limit, when the amount of the catch-up contributions you elected has been reached, or at the end of the calendar year, whichever comes first. You must make a new election for each calendar year.
Federal Employment Retirement System (FERS)
FERS is a three-tiered retirement plan. The three Components are:
- Social Security Benefits
- Basic Benefit Plan
- Thrift Savings Plan
You pay full Social Security taxes and a small contribution (0.80%) to Basic Benefit Plan. In addition, your agency puts an amount equal to 1% of your basic pay each pay period into your Thrift Savings Plan account. You are able to make tax-deferred contributions to the Plan and a portion is matched by the Government. The three components of FERS work together to give you a strong financial foundation for your retirement.
Employees must meet the following requirements to be eligible for retirement under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
|Type of Retirement||Age||Years of Service|
|Involuntary or Voluntary RIF||Any||25|
|Disability Retirement||Any||18 Months|
* Reduced Benefit: 5/12 of 1% for each month (5% per year) for each year under age 62.
** No reduction for age.
Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS)
Employees contribute 7% per pay period into the CSRS Retirement Fund. CSRS employees do not pay into Social Security Benefits. However, CSRS employees are eligible to contribute any whole percentage of basic pay from 1% to 100% or a specific dollar amount, subject to the IRS elective deferral limit. Although CSRS employees do not receive any agency contributions, CSRS employees receive the benefit of tax deferral.
Employees must meet the following requirements to be eligible for retirement under Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).
|Type of Retirement||Age||Years of Service|
|Involuntary or Voluntary RIF||Any*||25|
|*Reduced Benefit: 1/6 of 1% for each month (2% per year) for each year under age 55.|
Federal employees are granted 10 paid holidays each year.
New Year's Day
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. - 3rd Monday in January
President's Day - 3rd Monday in February
Memorial Day - Last Monday in May
Independence Day - July 4
Labor Day - 1st Monday in September
Columbus Day - 2nd Monday in October
Veteran's Day - November 11
Thanksgiving Day - 4th Thursday in November
- Christmas Day - December 25
An employee who is appointed to a position of 90 days or more earns annual leave. Law Clerk participation in the Leave Act is determined by the Judge.
The following are the leave accruals for individuals covered under the Leave Act:
Sick Leave Accrual:
A full-time employee shall accrue 4 hours of sick leave each full bi-weekly pay period that the employee is in a pay status, including paid leave status.
Annual Leave Accrual:
|Years of Service||Per Pay Period|
|Less than 3||4 hours - 13 days (104 hours per year)|
|3 to 15||6 hours - 20 days (160 hours per year) *|
|15 or more||8 hours - 26 days (208 hours per year)|
|*10 hours are accrued in the last pay period of the calendar year.|
Sick Leave Accrual:
A part-time employee shall accrue 1 hour of sick leave for each 20 hours in a pay status.
Annual Leave Accrual:
|Years of Service||Accrual Rate Per Hours in a Pay Status|
|Less than 3 years||1 for each 20 hours worked|
|3 to 15||1 for each 13 hours worked|
|15 or more||1 for each 10 hours worked|