While campaigning for and maintaining a career in federal politics can be time-consuming and emotionally draining, it can be very rewarding in the long term. Government work in general is known as a good source of employee benefits, and positions in federal politics are no different. Members of Congress enjoy various material benefits provided to government officials.
The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is responsible for providing and administering benefits for all federal employees. Federal politicians and all other federal employees are covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program. This program boasts the widest range of health plan options in the U.S., including health maintenance organizations (HMOs) as well as fee-for service and point-of-service plans. For members of Congress, there is no waiting period for insurance coverage, and the government pays up to 75 percent of the premium. In addition, members of Congress have their own private pharmacy and medical center, and team of physicians, nurses and other medical professionals on standby in case of emergency.
Federal politician retirement plans are also administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The plans are all covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). This system, which covers all federal employees, features numerous retirement savings options, such as 401(k) investment plans and Social Security benefits. Members of Congress also benefit from pension plans, calculated according to salary and number of years served in Congress. The minimum age to begin collecting a pension is 50. In addition, FERS features the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a tax-deferred investment program to provide incentives to federal employees to save for retirement.
In addition to salaries, health care and retirement plans, federal politicians enjoy various perks while living and working in Washington. They enjoy safe, comfortable offices in Washington, staffed with assistants and aides. Business travel is covered by the government, and campaign funds may be used to travel to areas out of their district. Members of Congress have reserved parking spaces at both Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. They can also be transported by staffers to and from the airport, and can park in the underground lots under the House of Representatives and the Senate. The basement of congressional office buildings feature banks, barber shops, post offices and other conveniences.