Skip Navigation

August 2014 Benefits Newsletter

What's New?

1. Benefits Calendar Of Events

2. Implementation Of New Retirement Category

3. Expanded Enrollment Opportunities For The Federal Dental And Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)

4. Update On Phased Retirement

Topics Of Interest:

5. Is Your State Tax Withholding Correct?

6. Employment And Income Verification – Use TALX – The Work Number ®

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

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

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

9. How Can I Get In Touch With My Benefits Contact?

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

Back to top

What's New?

1. Benefits Calendar of Events

Back to top

2. Implementation Of New Retirement Category

A new retirement category, the Federal Employees Retirement System-Further Revised Annuity Employees (FERS-FRAE), was effective on January 1, 2014.  FERS-FRAE applies to first-time Federal employees who were hired on or after January 1, 2014.  Although the new category was effective January 1, 2014, implementation of FERS-FRAE was delayed to allow the personnel and payroll systems to be programed with the new retirement codes.  Recently, both systems were updated.  The mandatory retirement deduction for FERS-FRAE is 4.4% of one’s bi-weekly gross salary.  A letter will be sent to employees who are subject to an adjustment in their retirement deductions and a correction to their retirement category.

If you have questions, please send them to FERS-FRAEinquiry@mail.nih.gov or get in touch with your Benefits Contact.

Back to top

3. Expanded Enrollment Opportunities For The Federal Dental And Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)

Expanded Enrollment Opportunities For The Federal Dental And Vision Insurance Program The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has approved new enrollment opportunities for the Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Effective August 15, 2014, FEDVIP enrollees may make enrollment changes when they experience certain Qualifying Life Events (QLEs). FEDVIP enrollees will now be able to enroll or change plans or options when they experience these life events. Previously, enrollees had to wait until the annual Federal Benefits Open Season to make these changes. This change to the enrollment opportunities better aligns FEDVIP with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

What are the QLEs that allow me to enroll?

  • Your annuity or compensation is restored after having been terminated;
  • You return to pay status after being on leave without pay due to deployment to active military duty;
  • You get married; or
  • You return to Federal employment after being on leave without pay if you did not have Federal dental or vision coverage prior to going on leave without pay, or your coverage was terminated or canceled during your period of leave without pay.

When may I enroll?

  • Within 60 days of when you return to service following a break in service of at least 30 days;
  • From 31 days before you or an eligible family member loses other dental/vision coverage to 60 days after a QLE that allows you to enroll;
  • From 31 days before you get married to 60 days after; or
  • Within 60 days after returning to Federal employment after being on leave without pay if you did not have Federal dental or vision coverage prior to going on leave without pay, or your coverage was terminated or canceled during your period of leave without pay

If you have questions, your Benefits Contact can assist you.

Back to top

4. Update On Phased Retirement

On August 7, 2014, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued final regulations on Phased Retirement.  The final regulations will take effect 90 days from August 8, 2014, which means that Phased Retirement applications can be sent to OPM for processing beginning November 6, 2014.

Phased Retirement provides experienced Federal employees with the option to partially retire while continuing to work on a part-time basis.  Participation is entirely voluntary, and requires the mutual consent of both the employee and employing agency.  In order to participate, an individual must have been employed on a full-time basis for the preceding three years.  Under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the individual must be eligible for immediate retirement with at least 30 years of service at age 55, or with 20 years of service at age 60.  Under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the individual must be eligible for immediate retirement with at least 30 years of service at one’s MRA (Minimum Retirement Age is 55-57 depending on one’s year of birth), or with 20 years of service at age 60.

The working requirements are as follows:

  • Phased retirees must work 50% of the time. 
  • The working percentage for a phased retiree may not be changed during the phased retirement period and the combined “working percentage” and “phased retirement percentage” must equal 100%.
  • Except as prescribed by OPM regulation, the retiree must spend at least 20% of his/her working hours in mentoring activities. 

Additional information on Phased Retirement will be forthcoming once the Department develops the internal policy for implementation.  There will also be Q&A sessions scheduled.

Back to top

Topics Of Interest:

5. Is Your State Tax Withholding Correct?

When was the last time you checked the tax withholdings on your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) for accuracy?  Confirming that state taxes are being withheld for the correct state is extremely important.  If you fail to make a state tax withholding election, the withholdings automatically default to the state of Maryland.  An address change from one state to another completed in myPay does not automatically change 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.  However, for movement between other states and/or the District, you must change your state tax information in myPay (DFAS) by selecting State Withholding.  After entering your updated information select Save. You can access your Leave and Earnings Statement in myPay (DFAS) to view your withholdings.  Should you discover taxes are being withheld for the wrong state, complete the appropriate state tax withholding form or use myPay as instructed above.  Additionally, you should immediately notify BPLB, 301-496-2404, of the problem.  With sufficient notification, withholding problems reported prior to the end of the calendar year can be corrected.

Back to top

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.
2. 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)

Back to top

7. 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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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, 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.

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

This page was last reviewed on