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Benefits Information for New Hires

 
New employees should review the Benefits Overview Brochure brochure for an overview of the available benefits and to determine benefits eligibility. Eligibility for certain benefits depends on your appointment type. This website contains some additional information on benefits as well as enrollment information.  After your start date, you will also receive a packet in the mail describing these benefits.  
 
Another resource that may be helpful to you is a Benefits Overview Video which describes some of the benefits that may be available to you as a federal employee (34 minutes). 
 
Enrollment forms for benefits are not required to be submitted prior to your start date. However, you may submit a Health Benefits Election Form, Life Insurance Election Form, Beneficiary Forms, and Transit Subsidy Enrollment Form prior to your start date if you wish to do so.
 
The deadline to enroll in most benefits is 60 days from your first day of employment. All enrollments must be made before the enrollment deadline. After this deadline passes, there are only very limited opportunities to enroll.  
 
 
1.  FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS (FEHB)
 
DEADLINE:  You have 60 days from your start date to enroll. 
 
Healthcare information is available on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website - www.OPM.gov. This site offers reference materials and a comparison tool to assist employees with choosing a health plan that best meets their needs.  For information on available plans, please review the following links:
 
Plan Information – find plans available in your area
Compare Plans –  compare health plans available in your area (when prompted, choose "Non-postal" and "biweekly")
 
The earliest your health benefits can be made effective is the first Monday of the pay period that begins AFTER your start date, and after you submit your enrollment form (this is usually two weeks after your start date). Once you make your election it can NOT be changed, so please carefully consider your options when making your selection. You will only be able to make changes during the annual Open Season (November to early December) or if you experience a qualifying life event such as marriage or birth of a child.
 
You have to scroll through several pages of instructions before you reach the Health Benefits election form. Complete parts A, C or E, D, and H. For Part D, new employees should enter “1A” for the Event Code and the date employment starts for the Date of Event. Please print, sign and return only the two (2) page Health Benefits Election Form (not the instructions) to Human Resources.  Please submit this form even if you are waiving coverage.  Note:  once you are set up as a new employee by the Administrative Office, you will be able to log onto the Judiciary Benefits Center website and enroll, but this normally takes up to two weeks.
 
 
2. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE (FEGLI)   
 
DEADLINE:  You have 60 days from your start date to enroll. 
 
Information on Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) is also available on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website - www.OPM.gov. For detailed information on FEGLI, please review the following links:
 
FEGLI Calculator  - use this to determine the value of your coverage and calculate premiums.
YouTube Video on FEGLI  - 15 minute video explaining FEGLI coverage to employees.
 
You will be automatically enrolled in basic coverage on your start date, and deductions will be taken directly from your pay to cover the cost of this plan.  To waive coverage and avoid deductions to your paycheck, complete the Election Form and return to Human Resources before the end of your first pay period.  If you do waive coverage, there is a one year minimum waiting period from the date of the signed waiver, and you must provide satisfactory medical evidence of insurability before re‐enrolling.
 
Note to Rehired Federal Employees:  If you are a previous federal employee with a break in federal service of less than 180 days, please do not complete a new life insurance election form.  Upon your start with us, you will pick up your exact previous FEGLI election (or if you waived coverage, you will continue in a waived status).
 
Submit page one only to Human Resources.  You must complete the Life Insurance Election Form to indicate whether you wish to waive coverage, elect basic coverage, or elect optional coverage in addition to basic.  Note:  once you are set up as a new employee by the Administrative Office, you will be able to log onto the Judiciary Benefits Center website and enroll (or waive coverage), but this normally takes up to two weeks.
 
If you elect life insurance coverage, please complete a Designation of Beneficiary Form (SF‐2823). Two witnesses are required. Forms may not contain corrections of any kind (scratch outs, whiteout, etc).  You can designate/change beneficiaries at any time.
 
 
3.  TRANSIT SUBSIDY PROGRAM – THIRD CIRCUIT LOCAL BENEFIT  
The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has a local policy of providing transit cards to help staff pay for mass transit costs associated with commuting to and from work.  Currently, the Court is issuing transit cards in the amount of $45 per month.  Please note that this program is only available budget permitting, and is subject to end or to a decrease in the benefit amount at any time.  Transit cards are issued quarterly on January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st.  New employees will receive transit cards at the quarter that begins after their appointment begins with the Court (i.e. if your appointment begins on May 1st, you will start receiving transit cards for the quarter starting July 1st).
 
Please complete this form to indicate whether or not you use mass transit to commute to and from work, and whether or not you will enroll in the Transit Subsidy Program.
 
 
4. DESIGNATING BENEFICIARIES FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION AND ANNUAL LEAVE 
For completion by all employees. Beneficiaries receive monies not yet received by the employee, such as unpaid salary and lump sum annual leave payments. 
 
Please enter your name and home address in the box at the bottom of the form. Two witnesses are required. Forms may not contain corrections of any kind (scratch outs, whiteout, etc).  You can designate/change beneficiaries at any time.
 
 
5.  FEDERAL EMPLOYEES DENTAL AND VISION PROGRAM (FEDVIP) 
 
DEADLINE:  You have 60 days from your start date to enroll. 
 
Depending on your needs, and the health plan you select, you may find that your plan provides adequate dental and vision benefits or it may fall short. If dental and vision coverage are a concern for you, you may want to explore supplemental coverage. You can elect coverage even if you are not enrolled in a Federal Employee Health Benefit plan. You can elect a dental plan, a vision plan, or both. You can select either a self only plan, a self plus one plan, or family plan.  To view plan information, visit https://www.benefeds.com
 
If you won't need dental or vision services right away, it may be worthwhile to wait until Open Season to enroll in order to save on premiums.  Elections made during Open Season will be made effective in January of the following year.  
 
Please note that you can not enroll in these benefits in advance of your start date. Once you are set up as a new employee by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, DC, you will be able to enroll online.  This typically takes approximately two weeks from your start date.  To enroll in supplemental dental or vision insurance, please visit the Benefeds website at https://www.benefeds.com. Scroll down on the page and click on the button titled Enroll - New Hires/QLEs Only, then follow the on-screen instructions. You are a "bi-weekly" employee, and the "Federal Judiciary" is your agency.  You can also enroll by phone by calling BENEFEDS at (877) 888-3337.
 
6.  FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS FOR HEALTH CARE, DEPENDENT CARE, AND COMMUTER PARKING
 
DEADLINE:  You have 60 days from your start date to enroll in Health Care and Dependent Care flexible spending accounts. There is no deadline for enrolling in a Commuter Parking account - you can enroll or stop your enrollment at any time.
 
Flexible spending accounts allow participants to set aside part of their paycheck on a pre-tax basis to pay for certain health care and dependent care expenses incurred throughout the year. Eligible expenses include those items that a participant would be paying for out-of-pocket anyway, such as a co-pay for an doctor’s visit or prescription, a co-insurance amount for a hospital stay, certain over- the- counter medicines, or payment to a day care provider. This pre-tax election reduces the amount on which federal income taxes, Social Security taxes and, in most cases, state and local income taxes, are based thereby increasing take-home pay.  For more information, please see the Flexible Benefit Program Summary Plan Description.  
 
Please note that if you enroll in a high deductible health plan with a Health Savings Account component, or are covered by a Health Savings account through a family member or otherwise, you are NOT eligible to elect a Health Care Reimbursement Account under the Judiciary's Flexible Benefit Program. An individual is not permitted to have a Health Savings Account and a Health Care Reimbursement Account at the same time.
 
The Federal Judiciary Commuter Parking Benefit Program has been designed to assist employees in defraying the cost of certain parking expenses. The account allows you to set aside part of your salary on a pre-tax basis. This means that your monthly contributions are deducted from your salary before taxes are deducted, thereby increasing your spendable income. For more information, please see the Commuter Benefit Summary Plan. You can enroll or make changes to your account at any time.
 
Please note that you can not enroll in these benefits in advance of your start date. Once you are set up as a new employee by the Administrative Office, you will be able to log onto the Judiciary Benefits Center website and enroll. As mentioned below, this usually takes about two weeks from your start date. To enroll, please visit the Judiciary Benefits Center website at http://judiciary.adp.com from work or home and register as a new user. Employees can use this site to manage flexible spending accounts (health care and dependent care spending accounts), as well as a commuter parking account, life insurance, and health insurance elections.
 
7.  LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE
Long-term care is care that you need if you can no longer perform everyday tasks by yourself due to a chronic illness, injury, disability or the aging process. Long-term care includes the supervision you might need due to a severe cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease. Long-term care insurance programs include coverage for nursing home care (all levels received in a licensed facility), community based care (assisted living facilities, adult daycare and home health services), hospice care, caregiver support and alternative plans of care. Long-term care expenses are not covered by traditional medical insurance plans such as FEHB. Note that the younger you are when you apply for long-term care insurance, the lower your premiums will be throughout your lifetime. Two different insurance programs are available to help protect you against the high costs of long-term care.  
 
As a Judiciary employee, you can enroll in the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program at any time, but you receive abbreviated medical underwriting if you enroll within the first 60 days of employment. You can apply online or download an application from the FLTCIP website at www.ltcfeds.com
 
 
8.  EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP)
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, confidential benefit that’s provided to help you and your family cope with the “pressing issues” of the day in a positive way. The program offers assessment, referral, short-term counseling, and follow-up for employees confronted with family and marital problems, financial problems, substance abuse, eating disorders, stress, depression, and any other emotional challenges. In addition to counseling services for personal matters, EAP provides useful resources to help manage financial matters, legal matters, family matters and health matters. EAP is easily accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-222-0364 to speak with a helpful customer service representative.  This is an automatic benefit that does not require enrollment. For more information, visit www.foh4you.com.
 
 

 

OFFICE OF THE CIRCUIT EXECUTIVE
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
22409 United States Courthouse
601 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106‐1790 

Michelle Wulff, Assistant Circuit Executive
Michelle_Wulff@ca3.uscourts.gov
(267) 299-4233

Kelly Myhasuk, Human Resources Specialist
Kelly_Myhasuk@ca3.uscourts.gov
(267) 299-4253