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Your Federal Employee Assistance Program:
A Question and Answer Guide for Federal Employees


We want all employees to be aware of the services provided by their agency's Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These programs, which are cost-free to employees, are designed to help you effectively address and overcome problems such as alcohol and drug abuse, work and family pressures, and job stress which can adversely affect your performance, reliability, and personal health.

EAPs exist in all Federal agencies and are staffed by experienced counselors who are available to discuss problems in a confidential, helpful manner. Recent OPM evaluations of these programs indicate that they are highly successful in helping employees.

This page answers questions commonly asked by employees about EAPs such as:

  • What types of problems do they help resolve?
  • How do I make an appointment?
  • Are problems discussed with an EAP counselor kept private and confidential?
  • When is the best time to contact an EAP?

Specific information about your EAP is available from your agency.

Please remember, your EAP can help you to sort out and address a wide variety of problems, but only if you, the employee, use it.

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What is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a service available to all employees at no cost. It is staffed by professional counselors who will help you ddress problems that can adversely affect job performance, reliability, and personal health. A counselor will discuss the problem with you and after helping you assess the problem, provide short-term counseling. If needed, the counselor will also refer you to other professional services and resources within your community for further information and assistance.

What kinds of problems do EAPs help resolve?

A EAP counselors will work with you to help resolve a wide variety of problems including alcohol and drug abuse, work and family pressures, legal and financial problems, job stress, and other concerns which can affect your work performance and personal health.

Do EAPs offer more than counseling services?

In addition to counseling employees on an individual basis, EAPs often sponsor lunchtime seminars, send out employee newsletters, and provide information designed to help you and your co-workers establish a healthier and more rewarding lifestyle.

How and when may I contact the EAP?

A telephone call is normally all it takes to make an appointment with an EAP counselor. EAP operating hours usually are flexible so the employees can make appointments before, during, and after the workday. For specific information on hours of operation and procedures for making appointments, you should check your agency's bulletin board, telephone directory, or call your agency's EAP office.

Will matters I discuss with the EAP counselor be kept confidential?

Yes, your privacy is protected by strict confidentiality laws and regulations and by professional ethical standards for counselors. The details of your discussions with the counselor may not be released to anyone without your written consent.

How successful are EAPs in helping employees?

Periodic evaluations conducted by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management indicate that the vast majority of the thousands of employees who annually seek assistance from their EAPs are helped in overcoming their problems.

How much will the EAP cost me?

There is no cost to employees who receive counseling and other services provided by the agency's EAP. Costs for outside treatment and professional services, which can result in personal expense, may be covered by your Federal Employee Health Benefits plan or private insurance. The EAP counselor will work with you to identify the best available outside treatment program and services in line with your individual finances.

When is the best time to contact the EAP?

Don't wait too long! The sooner you seek help, the sooner your problems can be resolved. Problems left unresolved can often lead to more serious situations with a greater risk that your health or job performance will be jeopardized. If you take advantage of the help and support offered through your EAP and address your problems before they become serious, you and your organization will both be winners.

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