Employee Benefits and Work-Life Balance
What makes NGA a great place to work?
Part of the answer is the comprehensive federal benefits program offered to eligible employees. The benefits range from healthcare, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, and long-term-care insurance, to several enhanced programs that offer savings through the use of pretax dollars, as well as many other perks, such as a state-of-the art gym and a child-development center. NGA recognizes that employees and their families have diverse needs. Take a moment to view the OPM video, New- Prospective Employees, for an overview of some of the significant benefits offered to you as an NGA federal employee.
Now that you have viewed the video, click on the links below for additional information to assist you with making informed benefit decisions as an incoming NGA employee.Enable Accessibility Mode for a screen reader accessible version of the content
Health Insurance Programs
The FEHB program consists of over 100 statewide/nationwide health plans. Each plan provides comprehensive coverage for employees, their spouses and their children under age 26.
New eligible employees may enroll in FEHB within 60 days from their first date of employment. If coverage is not elected within the 60-day window, the next time to enroll will be during open season (mid-November to mid-December) or if they have a qualifying life event (i.e., marriage, divorce, birth, adoption). Current federal or transfer employees’ FEHB benefits will transfer automatically.
Enrollment or changes in enrollment are effective on the first day of the first full pay period that begins after an enrollment request has been submitted.
To learn more about enrollment, eligibility, choosing a plan and running cost comparisons, visit : https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/plans/
The FEHB Handbook can be found at:
FEDVIP allows dental and vision insurance to be purchased on a group basis, which means competitive premiums and no pre-existing condition limitations. Enrollees pay 100 percent of the premiums.
New federal employees are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP if eligible for Federal Employees Health Benefits. Eligible employees have 60 days from their entry on duty date to enroll in FEDVIP. Additional enrollment opportunities outside of the 60-day window include: Open Season (mid-November to mid-December), 60 days after a qualifying life event (i.e., marriage, divorce, birth, adoption), or 60 days after a break in service of at least 31 days.
Enrollment or changes in enrollment are effective on the first day of the first full pay period that begins after an enrollment request has been submitted. For enrollment or premium questions regarding dental and vision insurance, please contact BENEFEDS at 1-877-888-FEDS.
To learn more about FEDVIP, please access the enrollment site at:
Additional information is available from OPM by visiting:
Group Term Life Insurance
FEGLI is group term life insurance. It has no cash value and no loan privileges. No medical exam is required, and there is no waiting period. Most federal employees are eligible to enroll in FEGLI and will be automatically enrolled in basic insurance, unless they are excluded by law or regulation. An enrollee may also obtain coverage for eligible family members, including: spouses and unmarried dependent children under age 22. Note: If child was/is incapable of self-support on or after age 22 due to a mental or physical disability that existed before the child reached age 22, child IS considered to be eligible for FEGLI coverage.
Basic insurance is effective on the first day employees are in a pay/duty status in an eligible position. If they wish to decline this coverage, they can either waive it after eligibility for coverage begins or cancel it at a later date.
The FEGLI program does not have an annual open season, therefore it’s not part of the annual federal benefits open season (mid-November to mid-December).
Newly eligible employees may enroll in FEGLI optional coverage(s) within 60 days from the first date of employment. If no action is taken, employees will have basic coverage only.
Basic, options A, B and C may be elected within 60 days of a FEGLI qualifying life event (i.e., marriage, divorce, birth, adoption). In addition, employees may increase the number of multiples of options B and/or C. Please contact the Benefits and Retirement Team for guidance.
Options A and B: Insurance coverage is effective on the first day employees are in a pay/duty status on or after the day their employing office receives their election. If an employee is not in a pay/duty status on the date the employing office receives the election, the coverage becomes effective the next day the employee is in pay/duty status.
Option C: Insurance coverage is effective on the day an employee’s employing office receives the employee’s election without regard to pay/duty status.
For additional information (i.e., FEGLI Calculator and Handbook), visit:
If you are interested in obtaining optional coverage, visit:
In addition to the host of insurances offered by the government, NGA employees also have access to the insurance plans listed below.
EBF is designed to provide immediate income (within 24 hours) to employees’ loved ones in the event of their death. The funds can be used to supplement any costs while waiting to receive payment from a life insurance policy.
Enrollment in the fund is open to all permanent employees — full- and part-time — who are actively at work (not on official leave, active military duty or leave without pay status). New permanent full-time and permanent part-time active employees MUST enroll within 60 days of their date of hire (entry on duty date). All other eligible employees can join only during an open enrollment period. For more information, visit:
GEBA offers a wide selection of outstanding insurance and investment products for federal civilian employees and their eligible family members. Some of the products and services include veterinary pet insurance, dental and vision insurance, financial planning services, and investment products, such as the 529 College Savings Plan. For additional information visit:
Compass Rose is a portable group term life insurance plan that includes protection for losses due to acts of war and terrorism anywhere in the world. To learn more visit:
The FLTCIP offers insurance to help cover the costs of certain long-term-care services. Long-term care is the assistance received to perform activities of daily living — such as bathing or dressing oneself — or supervision require due to a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Most employees must be eligible for FEHB in order to apply for coverage under the FLTCIP. It does not matter if they are actually enrolled in FEHB — eligibility is the key. Employees have 60 days from their entry on duty date to apply for coverage using the abbreviated underwriting application. After 60 days, they must apply using the full underwriting application.
Enrollment in the FLTCIP is on an individual basis. Eligible federal employees’ spouses, adult children at least 18 years old, parents, parents-in-law and step-parents are also eligible to apply for coverage, even if employees do not.
The FLTCIP is not part of the annual federal benefits open season.
To get more information about this program, visit:
To request an information package, call 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337) or (TTY 1-800-843-3557) or visit:
FSAFEDS allows employees to use pretax dollars to pay for eligible out-of-pocket dependent and health care expenses. The savings on Health Care or Limited Expense Health Care FSAs are usually for items that typically aren’t covered by an employee’s FEHB plan, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program or other health insurance coverage. The Dependent Care FSA offers savings on costs associated with child-care or elder-care expenses.
Enrollment is voluntary and must be completed within 60 days of an employee’s entry on duty date, and before 1 October of the current year. Employees can access FSAFEDS using the SBU system or their home computer to enroll. The enrollment effective date depends on when employees first enrolled in their FSA(s). New employees’ FSAs are activated once they've enrolled and their employment is verified through their employing agency or its payroll office. If employees enroll during open season (mid-November to mid-December), their account is available on the first day of the benefit period.
TSP is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees. The plan offers federal employees the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans.
Employees covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) and the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) can contribute to the TSP. The participation rules are different for FERS and CSRS employees.
Establishing a TSP account is easy, and the earlier you begin to contribute, the better. Employees have two options for saving:
- Traditional TSP — Contributions to the plan are made on a pre-tax basis from an employee’s basic pay but grow tax deferred and are fully taxable when withdrawn.
- Roth TSP — Contributions to the plan are made on an after-tax basis from an employee’s basic pay, grow tax-free and are tax-free when withdrawn.
Agency contributions are part of your traditional (tax-deferred) balance.
Note: You cannot convert money from the traditional TSP to the Roth TSP.
FERS employees hired after July 31, 2010, are automatically enrolled in TSP, with 3 percent of their basic pay deducted from their paychecks and deposited in their traditional TSP account. Additionally, the agency contributes 1 percent of their pay and matches up to 5 percent in their Traditional TSP.
A CSRS employee account is established after they elect a contribution.
Current federal or transfer employees must contact the Benefits and Retirement Team if they have a TSP loan.
For more information on TSP, visit:
CSRS was enacted in 1920. It was not integrated with social security, and as a result, CSRS employees hired in a covered position before January 1, 1984, are exempted from paying Social Security taxes but not Medicare taxes. CSRS has traditionally been a single-benefit retirement plan with contribution rates of 7 percent, 7.5 percent and 8 percent.
CSRS employees may also contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) in order to receive additional retirement income. If they stay with CSRS, they can contribute up to $18,000 of their basic pay per year and receive a tax break. CSRS employees, including CSRS Offset employees, receive no agency contributions to their TSP.
CSRS Interim is a version of CSRS. Employees first hired in a covered position as of January 1, 1984, through December 31, 1986, to include rehires coded as CSRS Interim, are subject to Social Security taxes.
CSRS Offset is a version of CSRS that incorporates Social Security taxes. It includes employees who had a break in CSRS coverage of 365 days or more and had at least 5 years of civilian service as of January 1, 1987.
For additional information on CSRS, visit:
Planning for retirement? Check out some of the tools/resources available to you:
Federal Ballpark Estimate Calculator
- Basic Benefit Plan (FERS Defined-Benefit Pension or annuity)
- Social Security Benefits
- Thrift Savings Plan Benefits
Contributions to the FERS Defined-Benefit Pension
Federal civilian employees covered under FERS are required to contribute a percentage of their salary to receive future benefits from the systems defined-benefit annuity. The amount of this contribution has changed several times due to changes in federal law. However, the pension system remains the same as originally implemented in 1987.
Employees Hired Before January 1, 2013: Generally, employees appointed by January 1, 2013, or who completed five years of service prior to that date, contribute 0.8 percent of their salary to the pension system.
Employees Hired Between January 1 -December 31, 2013: Employees hired between January 1 -December 31, 2013, typically contribute 3.1 percent of their salary to the pension system. This higher contribution rate was established under Public Law 112-96, Section 5001, in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. Employees appointed during this period of time are referred to as FERS-Revised Annuity Employees, or FERS-RAE. These individuals are still considered part of the same pension system. For additional information, refer to:
- OPM Benefits Administration Letter 12-104 https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/benefits-administration-letters/2012/12-104.pdf
- OPM Benefits Administration Letter 13-102 https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/benefits-administration-letters/2013/13-102.pdf
Employees Hired On or After January 1, 2014: Employees hired on or after January 1, 2014, have a contribution rate of 4.4 percent. This rate increase relates to Section 401 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, P.L. 113-67. Employees under this requirement are referred to as FERS-Further Revised Annuity Employees, or FERS-FRAE. The pension system, again, remains unchanged. For more information, refer to:
- OPM Benefits Administration Letter 14-102 https://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/publications-forms/benefits-administration-letters/2014/14-102.pdf
When most people think of Social Security, they think of retirement. However, everyone doesn’t qualify for Social Security. To be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, a person must be insured. To be insured, a person must acquire a certain number of credits (formerly referred to as quarters of coverage). People are fully insured if they have at least 6 credits but no more than 40 credits. This usually translates to 10 years of working paying Social Security taxes.
Social Security benefits can be received as early as age 62; however, benefits are reduced if a person retires before full retirement age. To determine how much their monthly Social Security earnings may be, people can view a copy of their report online. Also, Social Security statements can be reviewed to verify earnings history, estimate future retirement, disability, survivor’s benefits and estimate Social Security and Medicare taxes paid. This can be done at any time by establishing a My Social Security Account. For more information on Social Security, please contact the Social Security Administration directly.
Many times it can be hard finding a balance between work and your personal life. With the use of mobile devices and social media, information is just a click away. We can check our emails before we turn in for the night and choose to accept or deny that phone call based on who is calling. Nevertheless, unplugging or separating your personal and work lives is vital, which is why NGA offers several programs to ensure you remain healthy and productive. Listed below are some of the programs offered at NGA to help you make deliberate choices to find a balance that works for you.
Telework allows you to perform official duties at an approved alternate work location. The two types of telework are routine telework (regular and reoccurring) and situational (ad hoc). You must enroll and receive a supervisor’s approval to telework.
This program offers free resources and referral services to help you and your household members better manage work and life responsibilities.
This program provides working nursing mothers the opportunity to continue breastfeeding by providing comfortable private lactation rooms, complete with refrigerators for storing milk.
There are two leave programs available; the Voluntary Leave Bank Program (a pooled fund of annual leave) and the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (which allows a covered employee to donate leave directly to another covered federal employee).
AFP allows NGA civilian employees to exercise up to three hours per week at their duty location as an excused absence from duty time, without using personal leave.
Effective March 15, 2017, employees whose total family income is $132,569 or less (including locality pay) can submit an application for subsidy to Child Care Aware America, a third-party administrator. Contact the HD Contact Center at 855-443-7878 for additional information.
Today’s employees face a growing array of personal issues or problems that can interfere, not only with quality of life but also with job performance. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a professional resource available to help our employees resolve life’s challenges either large or small. On-site licensed EAP counselors are available for a personal meeting at NGA’s St. Louis, Arnold, Bethesda, WNY and Reston facilities. Additionally, all NGA employees may call the Federal Occupation Health (FOH) Call Center at the designated 1-800 number for CONUS or OCONUS locations and be referred to an affiliated licensed EAP counselor in the community. EAP services are available to employees and their immediate household members and are at no cost to the employee.
The IC EAF is a sub fund specifically for the intelligence community under the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA). The FEEA and the IC EAF provide emergency financial assistance in the form of tax-free grants and/or no-interest loans to eligible Federal employees who suffer injury or loss of life or damage to property as a result of a personal crisis, emergency or natural disaster. NGA employees may voluntarily contribute to the IC EAF via the Combined Federal Campaign or request assistance when needed.
One of the Intelligence community priorities is to assist its employees to balance work and family responsibilities. One of the pressing challenges many of our NGA families face is identifying quality childcare alternatives. Because of this, NGA employees are offered the opportunity to participate in the Childcare Priority Placement Enrollment Program (PPEP) whereby Intelligence Community employees are afforded the opportunity to have priority placement at KinderCare Learning Centers when space becomes available. Interested employees are encouraged to contact the Benefits and WorkLife Group Point of Contact.
NGA has a keen interest in helping its employees meet their personal and financial goals and offers a variety of financial planning seminars, information fairs and other money management tools throughout the year. NGA’s financial literacy program goal is to provide employees with the right knowledge to ensure they have a well-designed financial plan so they can afford today’s needs yet still fund tomorrow’s goals.
NGA employees who are injured while in the performance of duty are covered under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). This program allows compensation benefits which include monetary payment for wage loss due to employment-related disability, payment of related medical bills, prescription reimbursement and vocational rehabilitation services when appropriate. The goals of the Workers’ Compensation Program are to ensure that employees with job-related injuries or illnesses are provided timely medical care and appropriate compensation.
NGA Wellness Program provides quality, comprehensive fitness and wellness services by promoting the awareness of positive behavioral and life-style changes as a means to improve employees' health and well-being. The services provided are based on the needs of the Agency, and use standards set by the American College of Sports Medicine, the U.S. Public Health Service and the Office of Personnel Management. The NGA Wellness Program offers information on various health, wellness, and fitness topics through lectures, seminars, classes, and publications including physicals, flu vaccinations and cholesterol screening.
NGA offers employees great leave benefits, including paid Federal holidays, Annual Leave, and Sick Leave.
Federal employees receive 10 paid holidays per year. These include New Year's Day, Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. For more information, visit the OPM website.
All career employees earn vacation or "annual" leave. The amount earned varies with the length of Federal service. Employees earn 13 days of annual leave each year the first three year of employment, 20 days per year for three to 15 years of service, and 26 days per year after 15 years. Under certain conditions, time spent in the military service is creditable towards leave earning rates for annual leave.
Regardless of the length of service employees earn 13 days of sick leave each year. Sick leave not used accumulates year after year and protects employees from loss of salary due to an extended illness.
This legislation grants to most federal employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period, to allow them to take care of family and medical needs.
Legislation has provided Federal employees permission to:
- Use sick leave for purposes related to the adoption of a child.
- Up to 7 days of paid leave (in addition to sick or annual leave) to serve as bone marrow or organ donor.
- Excused absence to attend the funeral service of a fellow employee killed in the line of duty.
- Use sick leave when caring for family members or when arranging for/attending funeral services for a family member.
For more information visit OPM's Family-Friendly Leave Policies page.
Leave Transfer Program
This program allows employees who experience a medical emergency or a medical emergency of a family member to receive annual leave donations from fellow coworkers. Employees approved for this program must exhaust their own annual and sick leave during the emergency and provide supporting medical documentation to qualify for leave donations.
This program allows employees who experience a medical emergency or a medical emergency of a family member to request leave from the Leave Bank. Employees must become members of the Leave Bank to be eligible for assistance from this program. Employees must exhaust their own annual and sick leave during the emergency and provide supporting medical documentation to qualify for leave bank hours.
This Benefits website will direct you to the following healthcare topics: Dental and Vision Insurance, Life Insurance Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Federal Long Term Care Program, which in turns direct you to the carrier’s website. The calculators on the carrier’s website allow you to calculate premiums and to determine potential tax savings (i.e. FSA).
Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Calculator -The FEGLI calculator allow you to determine the face value and the premiums of various combinations of FEGLI coverage.
Thrift Savings Plan Calculator -The TSP website offers several online calculators to assists participants with planning, saving and projecting future account balances. The calculations can used for determining how much you can contribute, determining loan payments if you borrow against your account, and several other functions.
Federal Retirement Benefits Calculator -The Federal Ballpark E$timate calculator helps with deciding how much you will need to save for a comfortable retirement. The Federal Tax Withholding calculator can assist with figuring your monthly Federal income tax withholding, and the Tax Free Annuity Calculator will help you compute the tax-free portion of your monthly annuity payments.
Social Security Administration Calculators -This site features a variety of calculators to help eligible participants plan for the future.
By completing and signing the following designation of beneficiary forms, you are providing a legal document outlining how your benefits will be paid out, in the event of your death.
There is an established order of precedence for your FEGLI, TSP, Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Civilian Employee, FERS and CSRS contributions in the event of your death. If you are satisfied with this order, you are not required to complete the following forms. However, in the event of your death, completed up-to-date beneficiary forms ease the process of locating loved ones.
Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Designation Form
Thrift Savings Program (TSP) Designation Form
Unpaid Compensation Designation Form
Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Designation Form
Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Designation of Beneficiary