February 2015 Benefits Newsletter
- Benefits Calendar Of Events
- View The New OPM Videos On The Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program!
- Confirm Your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Election(s)
- Unsolicited Contacts By Financial Planning Companies
- Federal Employees Dental And Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP): Continued Eligibility For Disabled Children Over Age 22
- Commit To Being More Informed About Your Benefits
- Employment And Income Verification – Use TALX – The Work Number ®
- Why Do I Need A myPay PIN And How Can I Get One?
- Where Can I Find Information On Pay And Leave?
- How Can I Get In Touch With My Benefits Contact?
- Previous NIH Benefits Information – Did You Know? E-mails
2. View The New OPM Videos On The Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program!
Do you have questions about continuing your life insurance coverage into retirement? Have you wondered if you will be able to make changes once you retire or if you will lose your coverage at a certain age? Get answers to those questions and dispel the myths. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has developed the following three videos on the FEGLI Program:
- Will I lose my Federal life insurance coverage when I retire?
- Can I make changes to my Federal life insurance once I retire?
- When I turn 65, will I automatically lose my Federal life insurance coverage?
The videos are short and informative. Check them out!
The 2015 IRS annual limit for regular TSP contributions is $18,000. If you are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you could lose valuable matching Agency TSP contributions by reaching the limit before the end of the calendar year. If you have already entered your regular TSP election in myPay for 2015, you should confirm your election in myPay (DFAS). Additionally, you should view your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) each pay period to confirm the deductions. You can also access your LES in myPay (DFAS). If you need to adjust your election amount, use the Elective Deferral Calculator on the TSP website to determine the adjusted amount. There are 27 pay days in 2015. Please note that a regular TSP election will automatically continue from one calendar year into the next.
In addition to regular TSP contributions, you may also make TSP Catch-up contributions (TSP), if you meet the following criteria: 1) you are age 50 or over (or will be age 50 during 2015); 2) you are in pay status; AND 3) you are contributing an amount towards your regular TSP which will cause you to reach the $18,000 IRS limit by the end of the 2015 calendar year. The 2015 IRS limit for TSP Catch-up is $6,000. If you have already entered your TSP Catch-up election in myPay for 2015, you should confirm your election in myPay (DFAS) and the deductions on your LES. Unlike regular TSP elections, a Catch-up election is only valid for one calendar year. Therefore, if you want to make Catch-up contributions each year, you must make a new election each year.
After an election is entered into myPay (DFAS), it will be effective at the beginning of the next pay period, and it will take 1-2 pay periods before it is visible in myPay and on your LES. Only one regular TSP election and one TSP Catch-up election can be entered into myPay during a pay period.
If you have questions, refer them to your Benefits Contact.
The Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch of the Office of Human Resources (OHR) has received a number of calls from NIH employees who have been contacted by financial planning company representatives. The representatives are asking to meet to discuss benefits and are implying they represent the NIH or the Federal Government in an attempt to target employees as clients. The Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch administers the Federal benefits program for NIH. It is not the practice of OHR to contact employees in any manner to sell financial planning information. We have no connection with, or responsibility for, any "supplemental" financial planner. Our branch does not use sales agents or telephone solicitations of any kind.
It is also important that you watch out for e-mail solicitations. If you receive an e-mail pertaining to your benefits, check to see if the e-mail is coming from an internal NIH source or an outside source. E-mails from outside sources are usually easily identifiable. The sender’s e-mail address does not end with a .gov suffix and typically there is a brief footnote at the bottom of the e-mail in small print stating that the sender’s company is not affiliated with the Federal Government. All Federal employees are free to pursue financial planning with outside sources. However, employees should not be misled into believing that the caller represents or is sponsored by NIH or the Federal Government. Should you have any questions, please notify your Benefits Contact.
5. Federal Employees Dental And Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP): Continued Eligibility For Disabled Children Over Age 22
The Office of Personnel Management recently issued clarifying instructions on coverage for children under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Under their parent's FEDVIP plan, children are eligible for coverage only up until they reach age 22. However, a child who is age 22 or over and who is incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 22 is an eligible family member for FEDVIP coverage. The employing agency’s Benefits Office is responsible for making coverage eligibility determinations. Determinations should be made within 60 days after the initial enrollment or the child’s 22nd birthday. Dependents of both active and retired Federal employees enrolled in FEDVIP who are incapable of self-support have the opportunity to continue coverage.
Questions may be directed to your Benefits Contact.
Did you allow your health benefits plan to roll over from last year because it was the easy thing to do? Have you gotten around to completing those designations of beneficiary forms? Do you review your Leave and Earnings Statement each pay day to ensure that proper deductions are being withheld? Are you maximizing your investment in the Thrift Savings Plan? Many employees do not actively manage their benefits or stay well informed on what options and opportunities are available to them. Did you know that OHR distributes a monthly Benefits Newsletter that provides you with important information about your benefits? Commit to staying better informed in 2015 and to being proactive in managing your benefits. You can do this by bookmarking and familiarizing yourself with the following websites:
- Designations of Beneficiary Information – View information on designating beneficiaries and access forms (Note: Completed FEGLI, FERS, and Unpaid Compensation beneficiary forms should be submitted to the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch. Completed TSP and CSRS beneficiary forms should be submitted to the office identified on each form.)
- MyPay Website – View your Leave and Earnings Statement, make changes to your home address, TSP contributions amount, direct deposit, allotments, health benefits election during the Open Season, Federal tax withholdings, and some state tax withholdings. (Note: If you move to or from Maryland, you must complete a state tax form for your new state and submit it to the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch for processing.)
- Thrifts Savings Plan (TSP) Website – View information on the TSP and access your TSP account
- Benefits Newsletters – View current and past newsletters
- Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch Homepage – Find information on benefits including answers to Frequently Asked Questions
- Employee Benefits Information System (EBIS) – Get your Benefits Statement, browse the information library, and use the retirement calculator to perform “what-if” scenarios
Questions may be directed to your Benefits Contact. The Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch is located in Bldg 31/Room B3C23.
7. Employment And Income Verification – Use TALX – The Work Number ®
The Work Number®, is an automated system that provides proof of employment and income to verifiers. Workforce Solutions is widely known and used by over 50,000 entities including most major financial institutions, mortgage lenders, leasing companies, and private corporations to verify employment and income status of employees. The system provides a secure way for verifiers to obtain your employment information and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Before your information can be released to a verifier, you must give your authorization. NIH employees can use Workforce Solutions - The Work Number® in two easy steps:
- Authorize the verification by completing the verifier’s (lender, bank, etc.) authorization form. When you try to access the system as an employee, you will be asked to enter a User ID and a PIN.
- Your user ID is your full SSN
- Your initial PIN is the last four digits of your SSN + full birth year (Example: 12341953)
Note: You will be prompted to enroll in the Enhanced Security or Risk Based Authentication. This is mandatory and must be completed in order to use the system.
- Provide the verifier with:
- Workforce Solutions –The Work Number® access options - www.theworknumber.com or 1-800-367-5690
- HHS Employer Code: 14775
Salary Key (if needed) (A salary key is a six digit electronic signature created by the employee that is good for a one time use by a verifier)
8. Why Do I Need A myPay PIN And How Can I Get One?
It is very important to have access to your myPay (DFAS) account so that you can view your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) each pay day to verify that the correct deductions are being withheld and that your leave balances on your LES match the balances in ITAS. You must also use myPay to make changes to your home address, TSP contributions, direct deposit of pay, allotments, Federal tax withholdings, and Open Season health benefits elections. Additionally, some state tax withholdings must be made via myPay (DFAS). If you move to or from Maryland, you must complete a state tax form for your new state and submit it to the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch (Bldg 31/Rm B3C23) for processing. However, for movement between other states and/or the District, you must use myPay (DFAS).
To access the system, you will need your Login and Password. If you have forgotten your Login or Password, click the “Forgot Your Login ID?” or “Forgot or Need a Password?” link on the left side of the myPay (DFAS) screen. Using this method, your Password can be e-mailed to you if you pre-registered your e-mail address, or it can be mailed to your current home address of record within 7 to 10 business days.
A second option for requesting a Password is to send a fax to 216-367-3549. You will need to include in your request your name, SSN, a daytime phone number, a copy of your NIH ID Card, and you must sign the fax. Upon receiving your fax, the Defense Finance & Accounting Service (DFAS) will reset your Password using a temporary Password. Your temporary Password will be 8 numbers, the last 4 numbers of your SSN twice. You will not receive a notice from DFAS that your Password has been reset. Simply wait at least two business days before logging into myPay (DFAS) to use your temporary Password. Upon logging in, you will be prompted to reset your Password. Information pertaining to establishing an acceptable Login and Password can be obtained at myPay FAQs (DFAS).
If you encounter problems with your Login and/or Password or technical issues using myPay (DFAS), contact the DFAS Centralized Customer Support Unit toll-free at 1-888-332-7411. This support line is available Monday through Friday, 7:00 A.M. to 6:30 P.M. Eastern Standard Time. They can provide assistance on how to use the options available to you in myPay . They will also provide support for establishing and changing your Login and/or Password.
9. Where Can I Find Information On Pay And Leave?
10. How Can I Get In Touch With My Benefits Contact?
Your contact in the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch will be able to help you with a variety of issues pertaining to the health and life insurance programs, designating beneficiaries, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), calculating your retirement annuity estimate , working with you to pay a redeposit for prior civilian service if you previously withdrew your retirement funds, paying a deposit for prior civilian or military service for which retirement deductions were not withheld, etc. To find your benefits contact, review our list of contacts. In addition, the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch (BPLB) website has an abundance of information regarding your Federal benefits. Don’t forget to check out the Benefits FAQs section.
Human resource topics not related to your benefits are normally handled by your Client Services Division HR Representative .