Employee benefits - Working in our federal government - Go Government

Federal health, retirement and other benefits

The government provides its employees with a first-class benefits package. In fact, studies conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that the gap concerning benefits between the private and public sectors has been growing-in favor of the public sector.

Once you've been selected to be a part of the government team, you'll have access to first-class health care (and other) benefits.

Health care benefits

Health insurance

Through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), federal employees, retirees, and their families enjoy the widest selection of health insurance plans in the country. More than 200 plans participate in the program, so you can choose the plan that best fits your individual healthcare needs.

Specific benefits vary by plan, but no plan requires a waiting period or a medical exam to enroll. There are no restrictions based on age or physical condition, and the program provides guaranteed protection that cannot be canceled by the health plan.

Your federal agency will cover the majority of the health care costs, usually between 70 and 75 percent.

Flexible spending accounts

A flexible spending account allows you to put aside some of your pre-tax salary to pay for common out-of-pocket expenses. The federal government offers a Health Care Flexible Spending Account of up to $5,000 annually. You can use it to pay for any eligible health care expenses not covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, such as over-the-counter medications or plan premiums.

Retirement benefits

The government provides all employees with a comprehensive retirement benefits package named the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). This system includes three different contributions to your retirement.

Basic Benefit Plan

Each pay period you’ll pay a small amount to the Basic Benefit Plan and your agency will pay one percent of your annual pay. This plan also provides for long-term disability and survivor benefits for your spouse and children. You must have worked at least five years in the federal government to receive retirement benefits from the Basic Benefit Plan.

Thrift Savings Plan

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) offers benefits similar to a traditional 401(k) plan. Whether or not you choose to contribute to this account, your agency will contribute one percent of your salary. They will also match a certain amount of what you personally contribute each pay period, up to five percent of your salary.

Social Security

As you progress in your career, you will earn credit for your Social Security account and pay taxes for this program in full. Social Security will supply you with many benefits including disability and protection for your survivors. This tax provides a benefit to persons who are retired, unemployed or disabled.

Other benefits

Life insurance

The Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program is the largest group life insurance program in the world. It covers over 4 million current and retired federal employees and their families.

Unless you waive coverage, almost all full and part-time federal employees are automatically enrolled in a life insurance plan equal to their salaries. As with health insurance, employees do not have to prove insurability, so no physical is required.

Employee Assistance Programs

All federal agencies offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) — a free, voluntary service to help employees address issues that negatively affect their job performance and personal health. Staffed by professional counselors, EAPs help employees overcome problems like alcohol and drug abuse, work and family pressures, and job stress.

Child and dependent care

Child and dependent care: There are many different programs available to federal employees for child and/or dependent care. It’s best to talk to the human resources representatives at your particular agency to find out what specific child or elder care is available in your workplace.