February 2012 - Benefits Newsletter
Topics Of Interest:
- Is Your State Tax Withholding Correct?
- Is It Important To Contribute To The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)?
- If I Have Prior Military Service, Do I Need To Pay A Deposit To Receive Credit For Retirement Purposes?
- Will My Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Premiums Increase Over Time?
- Why Do I Need A myPay PIN And How Can I Get One?
- Where Can I Find Information On Pay And Leave?
Where Do I Go If I Have Questions About My Benefits?
Do you have a question about how to receive a W-2? Check out the W-2 FAQs!
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 (BPLB), Bldg 31/Rm B3C23, for processing. However, for movement between other states and/or the District, you must use myPay (DFAS). 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.
If you are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the TSP is a major component of your retirement benefit. Therefore, it is extremely important that you contribute to the TSP. The TSP gives you the opportunity to save a portion of your salary on a pre-tax basis.If you contribute at least 5% of your bi-weekly gross pay to your TSP account each pay period, you will receive an additional 5% in agency contributions (TSP) each pay period.That's free money! You pay no taxes on your contributions or the earnings until you withdraw the funds from your account. By beginning your contributions early, you take advantage of the effects of compounding. Contributing to the TSP is voluntary.
If you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or CSRS-Offset, you can also contribute to the TSP. Although you do not qualify for agency contributions, the TSP does offer an excellent opportunity to provide you with supplemental retirement income later.
The IRS annual limit for 2012 is $17,000 for regular TSP contributions and $5,500 for TSP catch-up. You may start, stop, or change your TSP election at anytime via myPay (DFAS). Even if you don't remain with the Federal Government until retirement, you can take your vested (TSP) account balance with you. For valuable information about the TSP features, visit the TSP website .
5. If I Have Prior Military Service, Do I Need To Pay A Deposit To Receive Credit For Retirement Purposes?
If you performed active duty military service after December 31, 1956 (after June 30, 1960, in the PHS Commissioned Corps), you may need to pay a deposit (including interest) to DFAS prior to retirement in order to receive retirement credit for your military service. If you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or CSRS-Offset and were employed on a CSRS-covered Federal appointment prior to October 1, 1982, active duty service is creditable without a deposit. However, if you are eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62 (or at retirement if you retire after age 62), the active duty credit will be removed or not used in calculating your retirement benefit unless you pay a deposit.
If you were employed on a CSRS-covered Federal appointment on or after October 1, 1982, active duty service is creditable only if a deposit is paid. If you are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), active duty military service is creditable only if a deposit is paid. For further information, please get in touch with the Benefits Contact for your IC.
Yes, they may increase. The premium (OPM) for FEGLI Basic coverage is based upon your salary. The premiums for Optional coverage, Option A (Standard), Option B (Additional), and Option C (Family), are based upon your age group and sometimes your salary. The change in premiums resulting from age begins at age 35 and continues to increase in five year increments. If you notice a change in your FEGLI premiums on your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), you should verify your cost by using the FEGLI calculator (OPM). Please refer any questions to your Benefits Contact.
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 Payroll Liaison Team (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.
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 a wealth 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.