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May 2017 Benefits Newsletter

What's New?

  1. Benefits Calendar Of Events
  2. Upcoming Benefits And Advanced Planning Webinars – Register Today!
  3. Beware of Misleading Reduction-in-Force Mailing From Private Company

Topics Of Interest:

  1. Social Security Maximum Taxable Earnings 
  2. Where Can I Find Answers To Frequently Asked Medicare Questions?
  3. Employment And Income Verification – Use TALX – The Work Number®
  4. Why Do I Need A myPay PIN And How Can I Get One?
  5. 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

2. Upcoming Benefits And Advanced Planning Webinars – Register Today!

The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) is offering free informational webinars on a variety of topics including making the most of your benefits, financing long term care, and the advantages of planning for retirement. These webinars are available at no cost. You can watch the events live (with Q&A), or you can view the on-demand versions at your convenience. To view the list of webinars and to register click here for the FLTCIP website.

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3.Beware Of Misleading Reduction-In-Force Mailing From Private Company

It has come to the attention of the Office of Human Resources (OHR) that some NIH employees have received a mailing from a private company offering employees a Reduction-in-Force (RIF) benefits review. This mailing is from a company called Federal Employee Benefits Counselors. Please be aware that this company is in no way associated with OHR, NIH, or the Federal Government. The mailing is a solicitation attempt to target employees as clients. The OHR Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch administers the Federal benefits program for NIH. It is not the practice of OHR to contact employees in any manner to sell financial planning information. We have no connection with, or responsibility for, any "supplemental" financial planner. Our branch does not use solicitations of any kind. It is also important that you watch out for telephone and e-mail solicitations as well.

If you receive a mailing or e-mail pertaining to your benefits, check to see if the mailing or e-mail is coming from an internal NIH source or an outside source. Mailings and e-mails from outside sources will normally have a brief footnote at the bottom of the communication in small print stating that the sender’s company is not affiliated with the Federal Government. Also, e-mails from outside sources are usually easily identifiable, since the sender’s e-mail address does not end with a .gov suffix.

All Federal employees are free to pursue financial planning with outside sources; however, employees should not be misled into believing that the communication represents or is sponsored by NIH or the Federal Government. Should you have any questions, please notify your Benefits Contact or AskBPLB.

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Topics Of Interest

4. Social Security Maximum Taxable Earnings

If you pay into Social Security, there is a maximum amount of taxable earnings each year that is set by law.  For 2017, the maximum amount of taxable earnings is $127,200.   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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5. Where Can I Find Answers To Frequently Asked Medicare Questions?

The official U.S. Government Medicare & You  Handbook provides detailed information on Medicare.  You can also view information on what Medicare covers and other important information on the Medicare website. Questions may be directed to 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). 

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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:

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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 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.

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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, 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.

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

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