April 2016 Benefits Newsletter
- Benefits Calendar Of Events
- New Laws For Claiming Social Security Benefits
- If You Are Eligible For Social Security Benefits, But Still Working, When Should You Apply?
- How Do I Submit A Change Of Address?
- Do You Have Prior Military Service? You May Need To Pay A Military Deposit To Receive Credit For Your Service In Your Civilian Retirement Computation.
- Do You Know If You Owe Money To The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Fund?
- 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. New Laws For Claiming Social Security Benefits
Some of the Social Security rules about claiming benefits are changing. The Bipartisan Budget Act that passed last November closed two complex loopholes that allowed some married couples to receive higher benefits than intended. To learn more, click here .
3. If You Are Eligible For Social Security Benefits, But Still Working, When Should You Apply?
If you are beyond age 62 and still working, you will likely want to delay receiving your Social Security Benefits until you stop working OR reach your full retirement age to avoid being affected by the yearly earnings limit . The earnings limit is the maximum salary you can earn in a year without it causing a reduction in your Social Security benefits. If you are under your full retirement age for the entire year, $1 will be deducted from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual earnings limit. During the year in which you reach your full retirement age, $1 will be deducted from your benefit payments for every $3 you earn above the annual earnings limit, but beginning with the month you reach your full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings. Your full retirement age depends on your year of birth.
The decision of when to begin receiving your benefits is a personal decision that only you can make. The Social Security Administration (SSA) website contains information regarding things you should consider . For questions, please contact a SSA representative at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778), during 7:00 am – 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
4. How Do I Submit A Change Of Address?
You must submit a change of home address by accessing myPay (DFAS) and selecting “Correspondence Address.” After entering your new address, select “Save.” Your address will be updated in the HR system within 2-4 weeks. Any address change made in myPay (DFAS) will automatically transmit to update your TSP account record; however, it does not automatically transmit to your health insurance carrier. To update your address with your health carrier, contact your carrier directly at the telephone number shown on your health plan ID card.
If you are enrolled in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, you must update your address with your dental and/or vision carriers via the BENEFEDS Portal by logging into your account or by contacting BENEFEDS at 1-877-888-FEDS (1-877-888-3337) (TTY: 1-877-889-5680). If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS), you must update your address on the FSAFEDS website under “My Account Summary” or by contacting FSAFEDS at 1-877-FSAFEDS (1-877-372-3337) (TTY: 1-800-952-0450). If you are enrolled in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP), you must update your address on the FLTCIP website by logging into your account or by contacting FLTCIP at 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337) (TTY: 1-800-843-3557).
A change of address entered into myPay does not 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. For employees located at NIEHS, the BPLB Office is located in Keystone, Room 1108. For moves 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.”
5. Do You Have Prior Military Service? You May Need To Pay A Military Deposit To Receive Credit For Your Service In Your Civilian Retirement Computation.
Employees who performed active duty military service after December 31, 1956 (after June 30, 1960, in the PHS Commissioned Corps), may need to pay a military deposit (including interest) to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) prior to retirement in order to receive retirement credit for their military service. The requirements are different for different retirement systems.
- 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, FERS-RAE, or FERS-FRAE), active duty military service is creditable only if a deposit is paid.
To view detailed military deposit information, visit the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch’s website. Questions regarding paying your military deposit may be directed to your Benefits Contact. Questions about having your military service credited in your leave service computation date for leave accrual purposes should be directed to your Client Services Division HR Representative in the Staffing and Classification area.
6. Do You Know If You Owe Money To The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Fund?
You may owe money to the retirement fund if one of 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.
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 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 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 . 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 .
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 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 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 .
If you encounter problems with your Login and/or Password or technical issues using myPay , 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 .