Health Benefits

Mr.Tickles

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#1
So in the temporary offer letter it mentions benefits while we re waiting for employment. Per the offer letter:

"During this temporary appointment, you will earn annual and sick leave. You will also be eligible for other federal benefits to include; health insurance, life insurance, retirement benefits, as well as participation in the Thrift Savings Plan which is similar to a 401K."

Is this referring to only when you get to the acadmey or are we eligible for these benefits now? Just wanted to clarify in case we are eligible now. The wording was a bit confusing. Thanks.
 
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#2
Once you’re appointed meaning your first day you start not now. You start on probationary status hence why it’s a temporary appointment until 1 year and then you’re permanent.
 

Mr.Tickles

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#3
Once you’re appointed meaning your first day you start not now. You start on probationary status hence why it’s a temporary appointment until 1 year and then you’re permanent.
Ah, that makes sense. That's what I figured but I thought I'd double check it.
 

GMX

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#5
This is correct. The day you start at the Academy is Day 1, also known as your Service Computation Date (SCD). This date sets all your seniority, retirement dates, vesting, etc. It will stay with you through any and all Federal jobs you may hold, not just the FAA. You'll be on probationary status for a year meaning you can be terminated without "cause".

Also, in regards to the TSP, you may start contributing from day 1 (you will receive an automatic 1% contribution from the agency whether you contribute or not). The agency automatic 1% and any other matching up to 5% is subject to revocation until you are "vested" which is on the 3rd anniversary of your SCD. In other words if one resigns or is terminated before vesting, the gov't takes their TSP money back! Most people do at least a 5% contribution to obtain the maximum 5% matching funds from the gov't.

If you join the TSP your contributions will all go into the Traditional TSP G fund until you change it. The G fund is stable but very little growth, so get with an advisor to assess risk and choose the right funds. Most people at least use the Lifecycle Funds but one can do better with individual funds if they know what they're doing and have a tolerance for risk. The Traditional TSP uses your pre-tax or "tax deferred" dollars to fund it, and the Roth TSP uses after tax dollars to build the account. When you retire you either pay taxes on the traditional version or pay zero taxes on the Roth version. All gov't contributions and matches go into Traditional though. Get your tsp.gov password ASAP and manage your funds! All the data tells us that early and steady investment into retirement accounts (with funds that have a good return) is what makes millionaires and generational wealth.

Sign up for the FEGLI group life insurance day 1 and max out all the categories you can. They have open season VERY rarely...the last 3 were 1999, 2004, and 2016! If you have qualifying life events and are already enrolled you can make changes but it's good to get in on the ground floor. I have everything maxed out and with a wife and kids it's around $600K in coverage for about $35 per paycheck, When one reaches 45 years old though, the benefits start to reduce and the premiums start to become cost prohibitive compared to buying private term life insurance. Before that though, it's a great deal.

If you want to know anything else, just ask. I really like to help people with this type of information.

EDIT: I said first time TSP participants' contributions go directly into the G fund. They did way back when I started, before the Lifecycle Funds were invented. I believe they now go into whichever Lifecycle fund is appropriate for your estimated retirement year. People still need to be actively checking their TSP accounts and determine which fund(s) are going to best serve their retirement goals.
 
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Hitchcock

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Facility
Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
#6
This is correct. The day you start at the Academy is Day 1, also known as your Service Computation Date (SCD). This date sets all your seniority, retirement dates, vesting, etc. It will stay with you through any and all Federal jobs you may hold, not just the FAA. You'll be on probationary status for a year meaning you can be terminated without "cause".

Also, in regards to the TSP, you may start contributing from day 1 (you will receive an automatic 1% contribution from the agency whether you contribute or not). The agency automatic 1% and any other matching up to 5% is subject to revocation until you are "vested" which is on the 3rd anniversary of your SCD. In other words if one resigns or is terminated before vesting, the gov't takes their TSP money back! Most people do at least a 5% contribution to obtain the maximum 5% matching funds from the gov't.

If you join the TSP your contributions will all go into the Traditional TSP G fund until you change it. The G fund is stable but very little growth, so get with an advisor to assess risk and choose the right funds. Most people at least use the Lifecycle Funds but one can do better with individual funds if they know what they're doing and have a tolerance for risk. The Traditional TSP uses your pre-tax or "tax deferred" dollars to fund it, and the Roth TSP uses after tax dollars to build the account. When you retire you either pay taxes on the traditional version or pay zero taxes on the Roth version. All gov't contributions and matches go into Traditional though. Get your tsp.gov password ASAP and manage your funds! All the data tells us that early and steady investment into retirement accounts (with funds that have a good return) is what makes millionaires and generational wealth.

Sign up for the FEGLI group life insurance day 1 and max out all the categories you can. They have open season VERY rarely...the last 3 were 1999, 2004, and 2016! If you have qualifying life events and are already enrolled you can make changes but it's good to get in on the ground floor. I have everything maxed out and with a wife and kids it's around $600K in coverage for about $35 per paycheck, When one reaches 45 years old though, the benefits start to reduce and the premiums start to become cost prohibitive compared to buying private term life insurance. Before that though, it's a great deal.

If you want to know anything else, just ask. I really like to help people with this type of information.
Lets say a trainee enrolls in the health benefits plan day 1, and 4 months later that trainee has a heart attack the day after failing out. Is he or she still covered under insurance?
 
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#7
Lets say a trainee enrolls in the health benefits plan day 1, and 4 months later that trainee has a heart attack the day after failing out. Is he or she still covered under insurance?
It depends on a lot of factors; when you separate from a position (it doesn't matter the reason), the employer can yank your health benefits right away but you typically can keep them through the end of the month (this is what happened when I separated from my previous Federal employment). After you separate, in a typical situation you are offered a COBRA plan which means you pay the ENTIRE health premium (when you're employed you only pay a portion while the employer pays another portion) this can get expensive fast. Another option is to shop the government health plans through the marketplace, or of course you can choose to not carry an insurance plan.

The final answer is.. if you have a heart attack the day after you separate, you should be covered.. If you have one the next month, it depends on if you've decided to continue coverage. This isn't a thorough answer to your question.. Insurance is a finicky subject.. but I hope this helped a little bit.
 

GMX

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#10
I had a break in service between the TSA and the FAA. My health benefits ceased on the official date of separation (I'm pretty sure) and I didn't elect to pay for COBRA. If something had happened the very next day I'd have been SOL. So my situation was a little different than River's. I don't know what factors decide that it ends immediately or continues until the end of the month or whatever. Best to talk to your regional HR office.
 
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#11
So my wife is pregnant, we have insurance with my work so when I leave there will be a lapse in insurance for about two weeks. Anyone know how this will effect payment?
 
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#12
So my wife is pregnant, we have insurance with my work so when I leave there will be a lapse in insurance for about two weeks. Anyone know how this will effect payment?
Thankfully insurers can't deny claims based on "pre-exisiting" conditions, like her pregnancy. You have the option to extend your plan via COBRA (if your current policy is required to offer this option to you), purchase a plan through the healthcare marketplace, see if your family is able to qualify for medicare, or you can gamble and lapse the insurance for a few weeks. I would present her with the options and see how she feels about them while taking into consideration how far along she is into the pregnancy (might not want it to lapse in the timeframe of her due date- lol), it might be worth throwing a few hundred bucks at a temporary policy if that gives your family peace of mind. They always say happy wife, happy life.
 
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#13
This is correct. The day you start at the Academy is Day 1, also known as your Service Computation Date (SCD). This date sets all your seniority, retirement dates, vesting, etc. It will stay with you through any and all Federal jobs you may hold, not just the FAA. You'll be on probationary status for a year meaning you can be terminated without "cause".

Also, in regards to the TSP, you may start contributing from day 1 (you will receive an automatic 1% contribution from the agency whether you contribute or not). The agency automatic 1% and any other matching up to 5% is subject to revocation until you are "vested" which is on the 3rd anniversary of your SCD. In other words if one resigns or is terminated before vesting, the gov't takes their TSP money back! Most people do at least a 5% contribution to obtain the maximum 5% matching funds from the gov't.

If you join the TSP your contributions will all go into the Traditional TSP G fund until you change it. The G fund is stable but very little growth, so get with an advisor to assess risk and choose the right funds. Most people at least use the Lifecycle Funds but one can do better with individual funds if they know what they're doing and have a tolerance for risk. The Traditional TSP uses your pre-tax or "tax deferred" dollars to fund it, and the Roth TSP uses after tax dollars to build the account. When you retire you either pay taxes on the traditional version or pay zero taxes on the Roth version. All gov't contributions and matches go into Traditional though. Get your tsp.gov password ASAP and manage your funds! All the data tells us that early and steady investment into retirement accounts (with funds that have a good return) is what makes millionaires and generational wealth.

Sign up for the FEGLI group life insurance day 1 and max out all the categories you can. They have open season VERY rarely...the last 3 were 1999, 2004, and 2016! If you have qualifying life events and are already enrolled you can make changes but it's good to get in on the ground floor. I have everything maxed out and with a wife and kids it's around $600K in coverage for about $35 per paycheck, When one reaches 45 years old though, the benefits start to reduce and the premiums start to become cost prohibitive compared to buying private term life insurance. Before that though, it's a great deal.

If you want to know anything else, just ask. I really like to help people with this type of information.
Thanks GMX for your excellent description of the benefits. I will be enrolling very soon (OKC on 10/4) and I never thought of paying for life insurance before. Are you saying that if I get life insurance from the start, the premiums will stay the same throughout my lifetime?

Thanks again.
Josh
 

GMX

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#14
No, the premiums will not stay the same. They increase just a little year to year and around age 45-50 or so they start to cost quite a bit and some of the payout amounts start to decrease. The premiums also increase with your salary. The benefit of FEGLI is that it's Group Life Insurance and doesn't require any medical exams to join and for many years it's pretty affordable for good coverage if you max it out. If one does want to join FEGLI outside of an open season they can if they have a Qualifying Life Event or if they submit to a medical exam If you're going to do an exam anyway I like Term Life insurance (see below). If something happens later in your life that makes you uninsurable, well you'd at least have some coverage under FEGLI already.

The primary reason to buy life insurance is to take care of those who rely on your income to live. If someone is single and doesn't have kids, I don't think they need to spend the money until they have those people who need the money to live. The reason I say to buy FEGLI from the get-go is simply because the open seasons are so few and far between and it's pretty affordable for many years. If one never has a QLE, then they might be SOL until next open season, who knows when? Then before one gets too old and are still in good health, buy a Level Term Life policy for like 15-25 years or something where the premium WON'T increase, and then drop FEGLI if you like. I plan on buying 10 times my income in Term Life within the next couple years, and will buy long enough to get me to probably age 60, which by then I should be retired and have a ton of money from retirement investments and won't need the insurance anymore!

Here's the link to the FEGLI calculator and there's a lot of other good info and links from there: FEGLI Calculator
 
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