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You will enjoy many benefits as an employee of the Federal Government. Benefits range from insurance plans (health, life, long term care) to investment packages (Thrift Savings Plan, Savings Bonds) to paid time off (annual/sick leave, leave donation program).

The benefits for which you may be entitled are described below. These include:

  • Health Insurance
  • Effective Date
  • Life Insurance
  • Retirement
  • Thrift Savings Plan
  • Designation of Beneficiary Forms
  • Flexible Spending Accounts


Carefully read each of the relevant topics, and if you'd like, print the information for future reference. Please note the specific time frames for making health and life insurance and Thrift Savings Plan decisions.


Health Insurance

Federal Employees have a variety of health plans to choose from. To visit the Office of Personnel Management's website, click here to help you choose a plan. Part-time employees (16-32 hours per week) pay higher premiums than those shown in this Guide. Before you make a selection, review the individual plan brochures.

When you have decided on a health plan, please print and review the instructions to the Health Benefits Registration form, SF 2809, then complete parts A through G, print, sign, and return this form to the Servicing Human Resources Office within 60 days of your appointment, even if you elect not to enroll.

Effective Date

New enrollments are effective the first day of the pay period which begins after the completed SF-2809 is received by the Servicing Human Resources Office and which follows a pay period during any part of which you were in a pay status. You will receive a copy of the form returned to you after we have processed it, showing the effective date. This is your proof of coverage until your health plan sends you identification cards. Watch your statement of earnings and leave for the health benefit premiums to be deducted, and you can expect your health plan ID cards to arrive several weeks after that.

If you elect to be covered by an FEHB plan, your health insurance premiums are automatically paid on a pre-tax basis from your salary, which means your taxable income is lower for Federal, State, Social Security and Medicare taxes.If you want to waive participation and have your health insurance premiums deducted from your pay on an after-tax basis, you must complete a waiver form and send it with your completed SF-2809, Health Benefits Registration form.

Please contact your Benefits Specialist for the waiver form. Click here for the name and phone number of your Benefits Specialist.


Life Insurance

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance, RI 76-21, describes the benefits and premiums for this program. Please read this information carefully. You are automatically covered by Basic Life as of the date of your new appointment. You may elect optional coverage or you may waive all coverage now; however there are no regular open seasons for life insurance. Click here for more information.

Life Insurance Election Form, SF 2817. Complete and return all copies to the Servicing Human Resources Office within 31 days of your appointment, even if you are electing the automatic Basic Life coverage only.

If you wave all life insurance or do not elect any optional insurance when you are first hired, or you simply want different or additional coverage, you have three opportunities to make changes:
  • An open enrolment,
  • A physical exam,
  • Or a life event.



With some exceptions, the following rules apply to retirement coverage:

  • If you are a newly covered employee, with less than 5 years of prior Federal civilian service, you are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). The FERS Booklet, RI 90-1, explains the benefits of the plan, which includes a Basic Annuity, Social Security, and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).
  • If you are a rehired employee who was previously covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), and your break in Federal civilian service was less than 1 year, you are covered by CSRS. If you are a rehired employee who was previously covered by the CSRS and your break in service was more than 1 year, and you had more than 5 years of prior Federal civilian service, you are covered by CSRS-Offset.
  • If you are a rehired employee who had a break in service ending after 12/31/86, and you had completed 5 years of creditable civilian service by 12/31/86, you are covered by CSRS-Offset.
  • If you are covered by CSRS or CSRS-Offset, you have a 6 month period from the date of your appointment to transfer to FERS. You may compare the benefits of both plans, and make your decision to remain in CSRS or transfer to FERS.
  • For additional information on CSRS or FERS, please visit the OPM website.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The Thrift Savings Plan is a voluntary retirement savings and investment plan for FERS and CSRS/CSRS-Offset employees. A major advantage of the TSP is that you pay no taxes on contributions or earnings until you withdraw your account. Please review the Summary of the Thrift Savings Plan, TSPBK08, which can be found under Publications on the TSP website.

Participation in TSP is optional, but strongly encouraged, especially for FERS employees because it is a major portion of the total retirement benefit package. You may elect to contribute to TSP at anytime by completing form TSP-1 and submitting it to your servicing personnel office. You may also process your TSP election by using the Employee Personal Page (EPP) Self-Service feature at anytime.

Once your TSP account is activated by your contribution, the TSP Service Office will issue you a TSP Personal Identification Number (PIN) which you may use to choose your investment funds, using the TSP website or the Thriftline. Your contributions will be invested in the G Fund until your fund allocation is processed.


Designation of Beneficiary Forms

  • Unpaid Compensation Of Deceased Civilian Employee, SF-1152
  • FEGLI, Designation Of Beneficiary, SF-2823
  • FERS, Designation Of Beneficiary, SF-3102
  • TSP, Designation Of Beneficiary, TSP-3





Last Modified: 10/05/12 12:40:00 PM

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