Trust Fund Employee Benefits
Medical - Trust Fund employees whose duty location is Cambridge have a choice of two medical plans,
a preferred provider organization (PPO) or a health maintenance organization (HMO). Employees in Hawaii
and Arizona have the PPO. Please review the
Medical and Dental
Insurance summary on the Trust Fund Employee Benefits Book website for a summary description of
each plan and access to enrollment forms.
Please complete a Medical
Plan Waiver if you do not wish to enroll in a medical insurance plan at this time.
Dental - SAO offers a a point of service dental plan, which means that the employee can decide
whether to see a dentist in the national network of physicians or a dentist not in-network. If you see
an in-network dentist, you will save money. The coinsurance percentage for in-network services is based
on lower contracted rates rather than "reasonable and customary" fees. Please review the
Medical and Dental
Insurance summary for details and complete the enrollment form.
Please complete a Dental
Plan Waiver if you do not wish to enroll in a dental insurance plan at this time.
Biweekly premiums for medical and dental benefits will be deducted from your pay on a pretax basis,
which will reduce your taxable (for Federal, state, and FICA) wages. You may opt out of the pretax
treatment by completing a Flexible Benefit
You have 60 days from your entrance on duty to enroll in health insurance (medical and/or dental).
Coverage becomes effective on the first day of the pay period following the date that your completed
form is received in the SAO Benefits Office.
Please review your leave and earnings statement to verify that your premium deductions are recorded
accurately. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the SAO Benefits Office at 617-495-7371.
Trust Fund employees are provided with Basic Life insurance equal to their salary rounded to the next
higher thousand dollars. This benefit is provided at no cost to the employee. Optional coverage is
available at higher levels of 1/2 of salary, 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x salary. However, amounts over 3x
salary (the guaranteed issue) are subject to approval by the insurance carrier underwriter and
completion of a medical questionnaire is required.
Further details about this plan and the Enrollment Kit are presented in the Trust Fund Employee
Benefits summary under Life Insurance.
The kit contains an enrollment application and beneficiary designation form. Please bring your completed
forms to your benefit orientation.
Business Travel Accident Insurance
All employees are automatically covered for accidental death and dismemberment insurance while
traveling on SAO business. Benefits are a function of your salary and range from a minimum of $100,000
to a maximum of $300,000. There are no forms to complete.
Voluntary Accidental Death & Dismemberment (VADD)
Employees may purchase additional amounts of AD&D coverage in $50,000 increments from a minimum of
$50,000 to a maximum of $500,000 (limited to 10x salary). Coverage types available are the following:
employee only, employee plus spouse, employee plus children, and employee plus family. Please review
the Trust Fund Benefits website (Voluntary
Group Accident Insurance Plan) for more details and the enrollment form. You may enroll in this
plan at any time.
Long Term Disability Insurance
To be eligible for long term disability coverage, Trust Fund employees must be serving under an
appointment of 1 year or more with a regularly scheduled tour of duty of at least 40 hours per pay
period. If eligible, you will be covered on your first day of employment. SAO pays the full cost of
this insurance. There are no forms to complete.
Coverage details are available on the Trust Fund Employee Benefits website
Tax Deferred Annuity and Retirement Plans
All Smithsonian Trust Fund employees are eligible to make salary reduction contributions to a Tax-Deferred Annuity Plan through payroll deduction. Your salary reduction contributions may begin on the first day of the pay period following the date that your completed, signed Salary Reduction Agreement is received in the SAO
Benefits Office. Initially, your salary reduction contributions will be directed to the TIAA-CREF Lifecycle Fund that is closest to the year you are expected to retire (assuming age 65). You will have the opportunity to change investment options if you choose.
You can make salary reduction contributions as a percentage of your base salary or as a specific
dollar amount. The Internal Revenue Code limits the amount you may contribute each calendar year.
Please refer to the Trust Fund Employee Benefits Handbook,
(Tax-Deferred Annuity) webpage for this year’s details. If you exceed these limits, Smithsonian Institution will be required to refund the excess to you on an after-tax basis.
Full- or part-time Trust Fund employees who meet the eligibility requirements can participate in
the Smithsonian Institution Defined Contribution Retirement Plan. You will be eligible for employer contributions once you have attained age 35 or have 2 full years of service as a Trust Fund employee, whichever occurs first. Employer contributions are not automatic – you must apply for this benefit by completing an enrollment application and designate your beneficiary for those funds as well as your investment choices. Employer contributions will be invested in a Retirement Annuity account. When you become eligible to receive employer contributions, SAO will contribute an amount equal to 12% of your regular salary up to the Social Security wage base, plus 17% of your regular salary which is in excess of the Social Security wage base for the year of participation. Refer to Retirement
on the website for details.
TIAA-CREF provides a family of investment funds that offer options ranging from guaranteed and real
estate accounts to equities and bond accounts. You should consider your investment objectives and your
risk tolerance carefully before choosing your investment funds. The TIAA-CREF Counseling Center
(1-800-842-2776) can help you with investment fund questions you may have. Or, check
out TIAA-CREF’s website.
Flexible Spending Accounts
The Smithsonian's Trust Fund Flexible Spending Account program allows you to set aside a portion of your pay each pay period for certain health and/or dependent care expenses with pretax dollars. This pretax treatment reduces your taxable income (Federal, state, and FICA taxes). Please note the following guidelines:
- Health Care FSA maximum allotment is $2,500 annually, with a minimum annual allotment of $250.
- Dependent Care FSA maximum allotment is $5,000 ($2,500 if married and filing a separate income tax return) annually, with a minimum annual allotment of $250.
A new election must be made each plan year during open enrollment, as elections do not carry over from one year to the next.
To be eligible, you must be a Trust Fund employee and have an official tour of duty of at least 40 hours per pay period and be serving on an indefinite appointment or a temporary appointment of at least 90 days. Intermittent employees and part-time employees working less than 40 hours per pay period are not eligible to participate.
Eligible new employees may enroll in one or both of these options within 60 days of their date of employment by completing an enrollment form.
For detailed information, refer to Health and Dependent Care FSA FAQs, Benefit Card FAQs, FSA Benefit Card Flyer, FSA Plan Summary Guide.