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August 2015 Benefits Newsletter

What's New?

  1. Benefits Calendar Of Events

Topics Of Interest:

  1. Social Security Maximum Taxable Earnings
  2. How Do I Submit A Change Of Address
  3. If I Die As An Employee, Will A Survivor Benefit Be Payable To My Spouse?
  4. If I Die As An Employee, Will A Survivor Benefit Be Payable To My Dependent Child(ren)?
  5. Employment And Income Verification – Use TALX – The Work Number ®
  6. Why Do I Need A myPay PIN And How Can I Get One?
  7. Where Can I Find Information On Pay And Leave?

Where Do I Go If I Have Questions About My Benefits?

  1. How Can I Get In Touch With My Benefits Contact?
  2. Previous NIH Benefits Information – Did You Know? E-mails

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What's New?

1. Benefits Calendar of Events

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Topics Of Interest

2. Social Security Maximum Taxable Earnings

If you pay into Social Security, there is a maximum amount of taxable earnings external link icon each year that is set by law.  For 2015, the maximum amount of taxable earnings is $118,500.   If you reach the maximum taxable amount before the end of the year, your Social Security taxes will normally stop for the remainder of the year.  However, if you have more than one employer in a year, each of your employers must withhold Social Security taxes from your wages without regard to what the other employers withheld. You may then end up paying Social Security taxes on earnings above the maximum taxable amount.  In this instance, you can claim a refund of the excess Social Security taxes withheld when you file your income tax return.

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3. How Do I Submit A Change Of Address?

You must submit a change of home address by accessing myPay external link icon (DFAS) and selecting Correspondence Address.  After entering your new address select Save.  Any address changes you make in myPay external link icon (DFAS) will automatically transmit to update your TSP account record.  However, this information does not automatically transmit to your health insurance carrier.  To update your address with your health carrier, you must contact your carrier directly at the telephone number shown on your health plan ID card.

To update your address with your dental and/or vision carrier, you must use the BENEFEDS Portal external link icon or contact BENEFEDS directly at 1-877-888-FEDS. To update your address on your Flexible Spending Account, you must log into your account on the FSAFEDS website external link icon or call 1-877-FSAFEDS.  To update your address with the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP), you must log into your account on the FLTCIP website external link icon or call 1-800-LTC-FEDS.  The change of address also does not update your state tax withholding.  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.  For movement between other states and/or the District, you must change your state tax information in myPay external link icon (DFAS) by selecting State Withholding.  After entering your updated information select Save.

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4. If I Die As An Employee, Will A Survivor Benefit Be Payable To My Spouse?

If you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or CSRS-Offset, your spouse is entitled to a survivor annuity (OPM) provided you have at least 18 months of civilian service and you were married for at least 9 months.  The 9-month requirement does not apply if your death is accidental or if there is a child born of the marriage.  Generally, your spouse is entitled to 55% of your earned annuity based on your length of service and high-three salary at the time of your death.

(Note:  If  you have a former spouse from whom you were divorced after May 6, 1985, he or she may receive, by court order, all or a part of the survivor annuity that your current spouse would otherwise receive.)

If you are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), your spouse is entitled to the Basic Employee Death Benefit (BEDB) provided you die as an employee, have at least 18 months of creditable civilian service, and you were married for at least 9 months.  The 9-month requirement does not apply if your death is accidental or if there is a child born of the marriage.  The BEDB is a lump sum payment (currently $32,326.58) plus a payment of 50% of your annual pay or 50% of your average pay, whichever is higher. Furthermore, if you have at least 10 years of creditable service, your spouse is also entitled to a survivor annuity (OPM) equaling 50% of your earned annuity based on your length of service and high-three salary at the time of your death.

(Note:  If you have a former spouse, he or she may receive, by court order, all or a part of the survivor annuity that your current spouse would otherwise receive.  Additionally, a court order that awards a survivor annuity to a former spouse also awards a corresponding share of the BEDB unless the order expressly states otherwise.)

In addition, your spouse may also be eligible for Social Security survivor benefits if you are covered under Social Security (SSA) at the time of your death.

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5. If I Die As An Employee, Will A Survivor Benefit Be Payable To My Dependent Child(ren)?

Yes, eligible children are entitled to a survivor benefit by law.  Unmarried dependent children may receive monthly benefits until they reach age 18.  If the child is a full-time student attending a recognized school, monthly benefits can continue until age 22.

If you have questions, please notify your Benefits Contact.

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6. 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:

  1. 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.

  1. Provide the verifier with:
    • Workforce Solutions –The Work Number® access options - www.theworknumber.com external link icon 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)

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7. Why Do I Need A myPay PIN And How Can I Get One?

It is very important to have access to your myPay external link icon (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 external link icon 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 external link icon (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 external link icon (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 external link icon (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 external link icon (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 external link icon (DFAS).

If you encounter problems with your Login and/or Password or technical issues using myPay external link icon (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 external link icon. They will also provide support for establishing and changing your Login and/or Password.

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8. Where Can I Find Information On Pay And Leave?

You can find a wealth of pay and leave information on our website. Additionally, you can find information on the most frequently asked payroll questions.

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Where Do I Go If I Have Questions About My Benefits?

9. 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 NIH-only access, 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 NIH-only access.

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10. Previous NIH Benefits Information - Did You Know E-mails

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