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Enhancing the Health of Veterans through Research and Education



Eligible employees are provided with a wide range of benefit programs to provide protection and security for you and your family. Benefit eligibility varies depending on a number of factors, including employee classification, number of hours worked and length of employment. The PVARF continuously reviews our benefit programs. In recent years, benefit programs have been offered and/or enhanced based on employee feedback.

Eligibility begins on the first day of the month following thirty days of employment.

The various benefits may be 100% employer paid, voluntary (100% employee paid), or require some combination of employer and employee participation. The subsections below describe each benefit in greater detail. Employee participation costs are available as an insert located in the Employee New Hire Packet. Refer to Appendix A in the Employee Handbook for a chart outlining the different employee classifications, and their benefit eligibility.


Medical and Dental Insurance

PVARF currently offers medical and dental insurance to eligible employees. Coverage is available for eligible family members by electing employee plus children, spouse/domestic partner*, or family coverage. Paycheck deductions for health insurance are made on a “pre-tax” basis, meaning the portion of wages used for the health premium is not reported to the government as taxable income.

*Qualified domestic partners may be provided health and dental insurance coverage through the PVARF insurance plans provided they meet certain criteria. Please contact the PVARF HR Administrator for full details.


Vision Care

PVARF’s vision program includes discounts on exams, prescription glasses and contact lenses. If you choose to participate in the medical insurance program, you will receive vision care as part of the coverage.


Disability Programs

PVARF wants to ensure that in the event you are disabled due to a non-work related injury and unable to work, you will still receive an income. Our disability programs do just that.

Short Term

PVARF has a short term disability which provides participants an income equal to 50% of their salary for up to 90 days. This coverage is provided free of charge to eligible employees.

Long Term

PVARF’s long term disability policy provides participants an income equal to 60% of their salary, up to $4,000, upon the 91st day of a qualifying disability. This coverage is provided free of charge to eligible employees.

Enrollment in the long-term disability plan automatically enrolls participants in an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) provided through the current carrier. Information on this program may be obtained in the administrative office.


Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance

PVARF also offers Life and AD&D insurance. The first $50,000 of coverage is provided to employees working at least 20 hours per week, free of charge. 

Voluntary Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance 

Employees may purchase additional coverage for themselves, their spouse, or their children. Premiums vary depending on each employee’s age and salary level. Therefore, specific premium dollar amounts cannot be listed in this handbook. However, calculation worksheets are available at the PVARF administrative office upon request. This additional coverage is provided at the employee’s expense only.


401(k) Plan

PVARF offers a 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan as a means to save for the future while deferring tax liability. All employees (except temporary employees) who have reached 21 years of age are eligible to participate in this plan. Employees are eligible to enroll in this program on the first day of any quarter following their date of hire.

The 401(k) Plan offers the following:

  • Employee may defer up to 100 percent of compensation but not to exceed the IRS determined amount.

  • No vesting schedule contributions are immediately 100% vested.

  • Generous matching schedule (see table below).

  • An additional 2% contribution for each enrolled employee at year-end.

  • Loans or hardship withdrawals.

  • Plan administration costs are 100% paid by PVARF, and are not passed on to participants.


Employee Deferral

(gross wages)

Employer Contribution




















For all employee deferrals above 5%, PVARF will contribute 4%.


Bus Passes

PVARF endorses public transportation as a means of commuting to work. Employees who do not have parking privileges at the VAMC may request reimbursement for the cost of Tri-Met bus passes. Employees who work more than 3 days and desire such reimbursement should purchase monthly bus passes from Tri-Met or C-Tran and submit the original receipt with a check request form to the administrative office. Reimbursement will be made on a monthly basis for a pass covering the number of zones between the employee’s home and the Portland VA Medical Center.

Employees who work less than 3 days per week should purchase daily bus passes and submit the receipts with a check request form to the administrative office.

Verification that the employee has neither a VA parking card or participation in a car pool will be performed prior to the reimbursement.


Continuation of Benefits (COBRA)

In compliance with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), PVARF offers its employees and their qualified beneficiaries the opportunity to continue health insurance coverage under PVARF’s health and/or dental plan when a “qualifying event” would normally result in loss of eligibility. Some common qualifying events are: resignation, termination of employment (other than gross misconduct); death of the employee, spouse or child; reduction in employee’s hours; leave of absence; employee’s divorce or legal separation; or dependent child no longer meeting eligibility requirements. The maximum required COBRA continuation periods vary depending on the nature of the qualifying event.

Under COBRA, the employee or beneficiary pays the full cost of coverage at PVARF’s group rates plus a 2% administrative fee. PVARF provides each eligible employee with a written notice describing rights granted under COBRA when the employee becomes eligible for coverage under PVARF’s health and/or dental insurance plan. The notice contains important information about the employee’s rights and obligations. Contact the PVARF administrative office for additional information and cost.


Legally Mandated Benefits

Social Security and Medicare

Each year you pay a percentage of your earnings into your Social Security/Medicare account. PVARF matches your contribution. Contributions are paid directly to the Social Security Administration. The purpose of both contributions is to provide you with a minimal level of income upon retirement, survivor income for your family in the event of your death or disability, and/or health insurance for you and your spouse starting at age 65 (or earlier if you qualify for Social Security disability). In addition, these funds provide other benefits that are available to you and your family.

Unemployment Insurance

PVARF pays into state and federal unemployment programs which provide compensation for you if you lose your job for reasons beyond your control. The amount of benefits is determined by past earnings subject to guidelines and limitations set by the state.

Workers’ Compensation’

If you are injured on the job or develop a job-related illness, PVARF provides coverage through an insurance carrier that will give you compensation for your disability, or will give your survivors compensation for your death. Disability benefits are a percentage of your wages plus all reasonable medical expenses.