Fedweek

Washington, DC: A woman holds a SmarTrip metro card while underground in the Metrorail system.

The start of 2020 brings changes in several key numbers affecting federal employees and retirees, including:

* The interest paid in the voluntary contribution retirement savings program available to CSRS (but not FERS) employees is falling from 2.75 percent to 2.25 percent. That rate also applies as the interest rate for required deposits and redeposits into the retirement fund to get credit for service for which no contributions were taken or for which refunds were received at a break in service, as well payments as to capture credit toward federal retirement for military service time, for those eligible.

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* The maximum tax-free amount allowable under the public transit subsidy program is rising from $265 to $270 a month. Policies vary among agencies and among locations within agencies, in some cases as set in labor-management contracts. Some pay a subsidy in the form of passes or vouchers purchased by the agency and others allow employees to reduce their pre-tax income by an amount equal to their transit or van pool expenses up to the maximum. The much-less-used tax-free benefit for parking at a transit subsidy is rising in the same way.

Read more about Federal Commuter Benefits (Transit Subsidies) at ask.FEDweek.com

* The maximum in health care flexible spending accounts has risen by $50 to $2,750; FSA elections for 2020 were made during the open season that ended December 9, although changes are allowed during a plan year for those who experience certain life events such a change in marital status or a change in the number of eligible dependents. The maximum of $5,000 for a dependent care FSA has remained the same.

Read more on Federal Employee Flexible Spending Accounts at ask.FEDweek.com