Misc. Topics • 27 April 2020
What Benefits are Available to the Spouses of Federal Employees?

One of the advantages of federal employment versus the private sector is the full range of employee benefits. Here are some of the benefits that extend to federal employees’ spouses and family members. Please note that plan offerings vary by agency.

Federal Employees Have Options from 200+ Health Plans

Through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), federal employees and their families have options from more than 200 plans. The plans vary, but none of them have restrictions based on age or physical condition. All of the plans offer guaranteed protection.

If your spouse has access to a private employer plan, compare your plans. Then you can determine which coverage is best for both or either of you. Many federal plans offer prescription drug coverage and preventive health services.

 

A Flexible Spending Account Saves on Taxes and Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses

A flexible spending account allows you to put aside some of your pre-tax salary. Plus, you can use it to pay for ordinary out-of-pocket expenses. As a federal employee or family member, you can have a Health Care Flexible Spending Account of up to $5,000 annually.

 

Benefits That Protect Your Future

The Basic Benefit Plan provides long-term disability and survivor benefits for your spouse and children. The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is similar to a 401(k) plan in the private sector that includes employer contributions.

The U.S. government maintains two retirement systems for its employees. The first is the Federal Employees Retirement System. The Civil Service Retirement System is being phased out.

 

Benefits that Assist Your Spouse

The federal government also offers a group life insurance plan. The Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) is available to employees and their spouses. No physical is required to be covered — unlike many life insurance programs.

If an employee dies, his or her spouse still has access to benefits. Those benefits include health insurance, annuity programs, the Thrift Savings Plan, and more. This Federal Employee Survivor Spousal Checklist is a great resource summarizing what is available.

 

Services for You and Your Family Range From Counseling to Dependent Care

All federal agencies offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). An EAP is a free counseling service. EAPs help you address issues such as alcohol and drug abuse, work and family pressures, and job stress. Many Federal EAPs now offer services for family members of employees.

Do you and your spouse have children or elderly parents or a dependent adult that needs care? If you both work, it is challenging to balance work and your family responsibilities.

Many agencies offer programs to help with child or dependent care. Some even have child care centers. Many also provide telework or work schedule flexibility programs. These programs for work-life balance help employees and their spouses take care of their families while still earning an income.

 

Benefits for Children With Special Needs

Federal employees with children with special needs may be eligible for Childhood Disability Benefits or CDB. Children disabled before the age of 22 can qualify for CDB benefits when their parent retires, becomes disabled, or dies. The benefits available are affected by which retirement system covers the employee — CSRS or FERS.

 

Reduce Your Dental, Vision, Long Term Care, and Education Expenses

Many federal employees and their family members take advantage of optional The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

Other options include Federal Long-Term Care insurance and scholarships through the Federal Employee Educations and Assistance Fund (FEEA).

 

New Parental Leave Policy for New Parents

According to an announcement in December 2019, federal employees are about to get 12 weeks of paid parental leave. This first-time program is based on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The program is for individuals with a new baby or adopted child. It does not include care of a sick family member. For spouses of federal employees, it gives both new parents time to adjust and care for their new family member.

 

Federal Employee Discounts — Travel, Computers, Cell Phones, and More

Access to exclusive discounts is an added advantage for federal employee spouses. According to “The Best Federal Employee Discounts You Can Get” discounts, including computers, cell phones, travel, and more.

Starr Wright USA Insurance Protection Can Assist Your Career, Your Finances, and More

While the federal program is comprehensive, you may want to supplement it depending on the extent of your coverage. The federal government does not provide Federal Employee Professional Liability Insurance (FEPLI), but it does reimburse the cost up to 50 percent for qualified employees.

Starr Wright USA offers FEPLI as well as life, travel, disability, and disability insurance, all designed to meet the needs of current and retired federal employees. As with any insurance plan, the employee and spouse need to understand what they have so they can plan their lives accordingly.

 

 

Article authored by and contains the opinions of Starr Wright USA. This article is offered solely for informational purposes.

Starr Wright USA is a marketing name for Starr Wright Insurance Agency, Inc. and its affiliate(s). Starr Wright USA is an insurance agency specializing in insurance solutions for federal employees and federal contractors. For more information, visit WrightUSA.com. Starr Wright USA is a division of Starr Insurance Companies, which is a marketing name for the operating insurance and travel assistance companies and subsidiaries of Starr International Company, Inc. and for the investment business of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc.


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