March 2015 Benefits Newsletter
- Benefits Calendar Of Events
- We Have Made Some Changes – New Benefits Staff Assignments!
- View Your Benefits Portfolio – It’s Just A Click Away!
- Important Benefits Reminders For Administrative Officers
- Do You Know If You Owe Money To The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Fund?
- What Is Temporary Continuation Of Coverage (TCC) Under The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program?
- What Are The Spouse Equity Provisions Under The FEHB Program?
- 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. We Have Made Some Changes – New Benefits Staff Assignments!
Due to recent staff changes in the OHR Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch, we have made a number of changes in staff servicing assignments. To find your Benefits Contact, refer to our Benefits Contact List.
3. View Your Benefits Portfolio – It’s Just A Click Away!
Did you know that you have easy access to your personal benefits information, as well as access to a calculator that allows you to prepare your own retirement estimates? The Employee Benefits Information System (EBIS) is an HHS-wide enterprise application that provides employees with information about retirement and benefits 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Check out EBIS today! Being informed about retirement and your benefits allows you to better plan for your financial future.
- Allows you to view and print a personalized statement of your life insurance, health benefits, retirement, and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).
- Has several estimators and calculators enabling you to perform "what if" scenarios concerning retirement benefits such as retirement annuity, high-3 average salary, TSP annuity, and TSP projected account balance.
- Has a comprehensive reference library of information relating to retirement, health insurance, life insurance, TSP, Social Security, and other benefits.
- Has over 40 benefits forms available via the system. These forms are available for you to complete, print, and submit to the appropriate office for processing.
Learn more about EBIS including how to access the system by visiting the OHR EBIS webpage! The first time you access the system, you must create a unique User ID and Password. If you have forgotten your log-in information, you can click the “Forgot Login” link on the EBIS homepage.
If you have questions of a technical nature, e.g., trouble accessing the system, please contact HR Systems Support at HRSS@nih.gov or use their online web form. For questions related to the benefits information contained in EBIS, speak to your Benefits Contact.
4. Important Benefits Reminders For Administrative Officers
When An Employee Enters Leave Without Pay (LWOP) Status – If an employee will be on LWOP for more than 30 consecutive days, a personnel action must be processed. For guidance, please contact your Client Services Division HR Representative. Because non-pay status can severely impact an employee’s benefits, it is also very important that you notify your Benefits Contact as soon as you are notified that the employee is going on LWOP.
When An Employee Dies In Service – In the event of the death of an employee, please notify your Benefits Contact immediately. The Benefits Contact will counsel the employee’s surviving family member(s) on available benefits and assist in the preparation and timely submission of death benefits claim forms.
5. Do You Know If You Owe Money To The Civil Service Retirement System Or Federal Employees Retirement System Fund?
You may owe money to the retirement fund if the following applies to you:
- You performed temporary service not covered under the retirement system. This is known as deposit service. (Employees covered under FERS can make deposits only for temporary service performed prior to January 1, 1989).
- You received a refund of your retirement contributions when you had a break in Federal service. This is known as redeposit service.
Paying a deposit and/or redeposit is optional. However, making the payment could give you additional service credit for retirement to increase your annuity. You may pay a deposit and/or redeposit to “buy” service credit for certain periods of service. To view detailed information on deposit and redeposit service, visit the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch’s website.
If you wish to pay a deposit and/or redeposit, you must complete the appropriate application and provide it to your Benefits Contact for submission to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for processing. OPM will allow you to make a lump sum payment or monthly payments. Interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid deposit/redeposit balance until the amount due has been paid in full.
If you have questions about your deposit and/or redeposit service, your Benefits Contact can assist you. Additionally, your Benefits Contact can provide you with the estimated payment amount due, as well as a retirement estimate. The Employee Benefits Information System (EBIS) is a tool that allows employees to personally prepare their own retirement estimates. However, if you have deposit and/or redeposit service, you should first discuss your service with your Benefits Contact because an estimate obtained through EBIS may not be accurate.
6. What Is Temporary Continuation Of Coverage (TCC) Under The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program?
TCC is available to: 1) employees who lose their FEHB Program coverage because they leave their Federal jobs; 2) children who lose their FEHB Program family member status because they reach age 26; and 3) former spouses who lose their FEHB Program family member status because of divorce or annulment. TCC allows former employees to continue their FEHB Program coverage for up to 18 months, and children and former spouses to continue FEHB Program coverage for up to 36 months. For information about TCC, review the TCC pamphlet (OPM). For further information, please get in touch with your Benefits Contact.
7. What Are The Spouse Equity Provisions Under The FEHB Program?
The Spouse Equity provisions (OPM) of law allows the former spouse of a Federal employee or annuitant to enroll in FEHB if he or she: 1) was covered under FEHB as a family member at some time during the 18 months before the marriage ended; 2) has not remarried before reaching age 55; and 3) has a qualifying court order (a court order that awards the former spouse a portion of the employee's or retiree's annuity benefit or a survivor benefit based on the employee's or retiree's Federal service). For information about Spouse Equity, review the FEHB Handbook (OPM). For further information, please get in touch with your Benefits Contact.
8. 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)
9. 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.
10. Where Can I Find Information On Pay And Leave?
11. 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 .