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Employee Benefits Team

Administers the benefits program and provides operational servicing to employees of the Office of the Secretary, Departmental Management, Staff Offices, and executive-level employees on a USDA-wide basis. Serves as the primary pay and leave program manager for ERMD. Benefit services include retirement, health insurance, life insurance, thrift savings plans and workers compensation.

Links and Information

Pay and Leave

Retirement and Benefits Services

As a Federal employee, you may be able to enroll in health (FEHB), dental (FEDVIP), vision (FEDVIP), life insurance (FEGLI), flexible spending accounts (FSAFEDS) and apply for long term care insurance (LTC). Read about Federal Benefits for Employees at http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/Guide-Me/New-Prospective-Employees/

Document Process Timeline/Other Info
Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) 60 days from enter on duty date to enroll
Dental and vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) 60 days from enter on duty date to enroll
Long Term Care Insurance (FLTCIP)
  • Long Term Care Partners (John Hancock Life) – offers LTC insurance to Federal employees, annuitants, spouses, and other qualified relatives.
  • Can enroll at any time with full underwriting.
  • Information available at http://www.opm.gov/insure/ltc
  • Must enroll online at http://www.ltcfeds.com/ or call 1-800-582-3337 TTY: 1-800-843-3557.
60 days from enter on duty date to enroll without full underwriting
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Annual FSA open season coincides with FEHB open season.
  • Employees have the opportunity to participate in Health Care FSA ($2,500 maximum) and/or Dependent Care ($5,000 maximum) FSA ($100 minimum).
  • Pre-tax benefits. $500 will carry over to the following year, if available. You forfeit (lose) any amount over $500.
  • Information available at http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/flexible-spending-accounts/
  • Must enroll online at https://www.fsafeds.com or call 1-877-372-3337 TTY: 1-800-952-0450.
60 days from enter on duty date to enroll
Life Insurance (FEGLI) 60 days from enter on duty date to enroll
Retirement Coverage
  • FERS-FRAE, 4.4% deduction – employees first hired in a retirement covered position on or after 01/01/2014 or have less than 5 years coverage prior to separating from federal service. Otherwise .08% deduction for FERS coverage prior to 01/01/2013 or 3.1% deduction for FERS-RAE coverage for employees hired on or after 01/01/2013. http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/pamphlets/ri90-1.pdf
This is an automatic deduction from your salary
Social Security
  • Applies to those covered by CSRS Offset and FERS
    • 6.2% $118,500 (2015 Maximum Taxable Earnings)
    • 1.45% Medicare
This is an automatic deduction from your salary
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Traditional TSP (tax deferred) or Roth TSP (after tax)
  • Complete TSP-1 https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-1.pdf
  • Automatic 3% will be deducted from salary unless employee terminates contribution during the first pay period.
  • May contribute up to the IRS elective deferral limit ($18,000) for 2015.
  • FERS – If you are a new federal employee, there is no waiting period for the government match or agency 1%.
  • Important note for FERS employees – Be sure to plan contributions so you do not hit IRS cap before the end of the year. Once the cap is hit, agency matching contributions stop.
  • TSP PIN issued by Thrift Saving Board once account is established. Will receive in mail.
  • Go to www.tsp.gov to check your balance, allocate contributions, and interfund transfers.
  • Compare Traditional TSP and Roth TSP – Contribution Comparison Calculator - https://www.tsp.gov/PlanningTools/Calculators/contributionComparison.html Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m15Cr8WAxhc
  • Age 50 or older – catch up contributions allowed up to $6,000 (2015).
  • Must reenroll each year to continue participation in catchup.
  • Complete TSP -1C https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-1-c.pdf
This is an automatic 3% deduction from salary Must be vested to take the automatic 1% agency contribution with you - generally 3 years
Employee Personal Page (EPP)
  • Take charge of many of your own personnel changes
    • Allows you to view and change your: Federal & State tax withholdings, direct deposit, financial savings allotments, mailing address, TSP/TSP Catch-up contributions, some health coverage changes
    • Leave and Earning Statement (LES) available through Employee Personal Page
    • PIN automatically sent to you via email
    • https://nfc.usda.gov/epps
Post 56 Military Service
  • A deposit is required to receive credit for retirement purposes.
  • First two years are interest free. Interest starts to accrue two years from the initial enter on duty anniversary date and continues to accrue annually until deposit is paid in full.
  • Before a deposit is paid, must request military earning from DFAS.
  • Complete RI 20-97 http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/ri20-97.pdf to request military earnings and send to DFAS http://www.dfas.mil/civilianemployees/customerservice
  • Veterans’ Preference does not apply to applicants for, or members of the Senior Executive Service (SES).
FICA Only Civilian Service
  • FERS – 1.3% of basic earnings, plus interest. Only pre-1989 service is creditable for retirement purposes if deposit is paid to OPM to purchase credit..
This is generally temporary service
Redeposit of Service
Electronic Official Personnel Folder (eOPF)
  • Access your Official Personnel Folder at https://eopf.nbc.gov/landing/
  • View your SF 50 (Hire actions, pay increases, etc.), copies of your benefit forms, etc.
  • Access is granted 4 to 6 weeks from your entry onto duty date.
 

Please visit OPM’s websites for more information on the following:

Insurance Benefits: http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/Guide-Me/New-Prospective-Employees/
FERS: http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/fers-information/
CSRS http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/csrs-information/

Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP)

The OWCP Program covers work related injuries and illnesses. There are two types: Traumatic and Occupational diseases/illness. Benefits include payment of medical expenses and compensation for wage loss. All injuries, no matter how minor should be reported to your supervisor and David Najafi (OWCP Coordinator).

Timely reporting is crucial. If you don’t report timely, you could lose out on some of the benefits you may be eligible for under the program. You must provide medical evidence to support your claim, usually within 10 days of injury. You may also be eligible for continuation of pay (up to 45 calendar days) if you are disabled from work due to your injury. It’s your responsibility to monitor your claim.. .ask questions, don’t assume. Important that you take an active role. Keep copies of everything pertaining to your case.

Your T&A should be coded as injury leave, code 67 for your absence from work due to the injury.

As most physicians are aware, they must register with the Department of Labor, OWCP website at http://owcp.dol.acs-inc.com/portal/main.do for submission and payment for medical expenses related to an on-the-job injury. They must also obtain pre-approval for any surgery and extended medical treatments that may be required.

Forms:

USDA Personnel Accident Investigation Form
USDA Health Unit Medical Record Release Form
For a traumatic injury, use CA-1: http://www.dol.gov/owcp/regs/compliance/ca-1.pdf

For an occupational illness, use CA-2: http://www.dol.gov/owcp/regs/compliance/ca-2.pdf