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A Guide to Federal Employment Benefits

By Partnership for Public Service

Here's a quick guide to employment benefits you may be eligible for as a federal employee.

Don't underestimate the benefits of working for the government. Federal employees generally get a great deal on health and long-term-care insurance, child care and life insurance. Here's a quick guide to employment benefits you may be eligible for as a federal employee:

Health Insurance

With more than 245 plans participating in its health insurance program, the federal government has one of the widest selections available. You can enroll at reasonable rates in plans that range from fee-for-service to health maintenance organizations (HMOs), depending on what best suits you and your family. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) offers coverage with no waiting periods, restrictions regarding age or physical condition, or required medical exams.

You can also continue your health insurance coverage into retirement. Federal employees will soon have access to a long-term-care insurance program that will cover various long-term healthcare needs, including nursing homes, home healthcare and assisted living programs.

Child Care

The federal government has long provided a work environment that promotes quality of life, particularly when it comes time for its employees to juggle work responsibilities with the demands of family life.

A recent Office of Personnel Management (OPM) report found that a majority of federal agencies surveyed provided their employees with child-care resources and referrals. In fact, with more than 250 child-care centers nationwide, many federal agencies provide quality child care for their employees on-site or at a nearby federal building. With such a large number of sites and locations, the Office of Child Care, the administering agency, has the expertise and reach to provide quality care for children that is an essential component of a quality work environment for working parents.

Lower-income federal employees working in the executive branch can receive assistance from their employing agency thanks to legislation signed into law in November 2001. The law allows agencies to provide financial assistance to lower income federal employees for child care in licensed and/or regulated center-based or family child care homes.

Life Insurance

Enrollment in a basic life insurance program -- Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) -- is generally automatic for most full- and part-time employees. The government covers a significant portion of this group term insurance, but you can also purchase optional insurance at your own expense for yourself and your family.

In addition to being able to carry your life insurance into retirement, you can also convert it to private coverage in certain circumstances. Likewise, accelerated benefits are made available to terminally ill patients so they can receive life insurance while they are alive.

Retirement Benefits

The benefits of working for the government don't stop once you retire. Federal employees can receive retirement benefits accrued during their service from the following investment programs:

The federal government recognizes that good health and peace of mind enhances the well-being and effectiveness of its workforce. It can only benefit you to consider all that the government has to offer when planning your career.

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