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Employee Benefits

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Why Choose VA


Benefits

VA offers a robust benefits package that is unmatched in the private sector. For travel positions, benefits may vary based on the length and type of appointment you accept. Read more to learn about our employment benefits:

Professional Benefits

Paid Time Off:
  • Our employees earn 13 to 26 days of paid annual (vacation/personal) leave, depending on their profession. Annual leave begins to accrue immediately and can be used as it is earned
  • Our employees also earn 13 days of sick leave each year with no limit on accumulation
  • We observe 10 paid Federal holidays
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act and the Family Friendly Leave Act allow employees to balance their work and family lives by taking reasonable amounts of leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption/foster care of a child, and for the care of a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health problem
  • The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program allows Federal employees to donate annual leave to other Federal employees who are experiencing a medical emergency
  • Military leave is authorized up to 15 days a year for our active reservists and National Guard members

Mobility:
Sometimes life calls for a change of venue, and VA is prepared to answer the call. With more than 1,400 VA facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, our medical professionals have the opportunity to make that change easily. And, only one active, unrestricted state license is required to work in any VA facility. When our employees decide to relocate, they may seek employment at any location with a vacancy, and if hired, transfer with no loss of benefits and no re-licensing required.

Insurance Benefits

Coverage Options:
  • Our employees have an outstanding number of health insurance plans from which to choose, including exceptional vision and dental plans
  • For all of our health insurance plans, premiums are partially paid by the Federal Government, and employees have the opportunity to change plans annually
  • Our employees have the option to use Flexible Spending Accounts, which allow you to use tax-free dollars to pay for medical, dental, and vision care expenses that are not reimbursed by your health insurance plan
  • Term life insurance, family, and additional coverage options are available with the cost shared by the Federal Government
  • Long-term care insurance is available as an option

Liability Protection:
As Federal employees, our health care professionals are protected by the Federal Government in instances of alleged malpractice or negligence resulting from the performance of their duties in, or for the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The United States Government accepts responsibility and liability for its employees' negligent or wrongful acts or omissions during the exercise of their official duties. This applies when employees' actions are in accordance with the policies of the institution in which they are practicing.

Read our Employee Benefits at a Glance fact sheet.

Life Insurance:
The Government-wide Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program offers a variety of affordable coverage and benefits amounts, and VA pays one-third of the cost of your basic life insurance premium.

In addition to the Basic coverage, there are three forms of optional insurance available (Standard, Additional, and Family).

Unlike many life insurance packages in the private sector, your FEGLI life insurance may be eligible to be carried into your retirement.

Long-Term Care Insurance:
Our long-term care insurance plan enables you to plan ahead for health care coverage you could need years from now. Long-Term Care Insurance offers comprehensive coverage if you become unable to care for yourself. This coverage helps pay for nursing home care, assisted living facility care, home health care, hospice care, respite care, and other long-term care services.

Financial Benefits

Thrift Savings Plan:
Build up your retirement nest egg through the Thrift Savings Plan. It's the Government version of the private sector's 401(k) Plan. Contributions are made from pre-tax dollars and both investments and earnings are tax deferred until withdrawn. The plan offers five investment funds to choose from, and you can transfer money from other eligible retirement savings plans into your Thrift Savings Plan account. The Government automatically contributes 1 percent of your salary with additional matching contributions up to a total of 5 percent.

Flexible Spending Accounts:
Two tax-lowering flexible spending accounts are available to Federal employees:
  • Health Care Flexible Spending Account Lowers your taxable income by reimbursing up to $4,000 per year of out-of-pocket medical, dental, and vision expenses on a pre-tax basis
  • Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account Lowers your taxable income by reimbursing up to $5,000 per household, per year, for eligible day care and for elder care expenses on a pre-tax basis

Retirement Benefits

Federal Retirement Plan:
VA employees are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). FERS is a three-tier retirement plan composed of Social Security benefits, FERS basic benefits, and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Similar to the 401(k) savings plans widely available in the private sector, the TSP allows employees to tax defer a portion of their income each year, subject to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service.

The Government automatically contributes 1 percent of your salary with additional matching contributions up to a total of 5 percent. If you will be age 50 or older during 2012, you may also contribute up to $5,500 in additional “catch-up” contributions if you expect to reach the $17,000 limit in 2012.

For retired military personnel, these benefits are in addition to full monthly retirement pay or pension. In addition to FERS, VA provides health care insurance coverage for retired personnel.

Flexible Retirement Plan:
As a VA employee, you are part of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Under FERS, you are eligible for monthly retirement benefits after just 5 years of Federal service. This retirement system is portable. If you leave Federal employment, the Social Security component carries over to your new employment.

Disability Retirement:
If you become disabled and have at least 18 months of service, you may be entitled to long-term disability benefits. VA will also work hard to accommodate any handicapping condition to promote your success as a productive member of our workforce.
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