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January 2016 Benefits Newsletter

What's New?

  1. Benefits Calendar Of Events
  2. How Can I Confirm My Federal Benefits Open Season Elections?
  3. Confirm Your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Election(s)!
  4. Limited Enrollment Opportunity For New “Self Plus One” Health Benefits Enrollment Type!
  5. Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Premium Rate Changes and 2016 FEGLI Open Season!

Topics Of Interest:

  1. Are Your Deductions Accurate? Review Your Leave And Earnings Statement (LES) To Find Out!
  2. Employment And Income Verification – Use TALX – The Work Number®
  3. Why Do I Need A myPay PIN And How Can I Get One?
  4. 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

January 2016

Date: 1/1/2016
Event: Effective Date for the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) Enrollments.


Date 1/10/2016
Event: Effective Date for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Enrollments and the NIH Leave Bank Memberships.


Date: 1/15/2016
Event: Date Reflecting FSA Enrollments for 2016.
Comments: Log into myPay external link icon(DFAS) and view your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) to confirm appropriate deductions are being withheld and leave balances match ITAS.


Date: 1/29/2016
Event: Pay Date Reflecting FEHB and FEDVIP Enrollments/Changes for 2016.
Comments: Log into myPay external link icon (DFAS) and view your LES to confirm appropriate deductions are being withheld and leave balances match ITAS.

Additional Events/Classes

Class Dates: See Schedule
Event: Pre-Retirement Seminar-FERS
Comments: LMS Action Must Be Submitted.

Class Dates: See Schedule
Event: Pre-Retirement Seminar-CSRS
Comments: LMS Action Must Be Submitted.

Class Dates: See Schedule
Event: Mid-Career Financial Planning Seminar-FERS
Comments: LMS Action Must Be Submitted.

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2. How Can I Confirm My Federal Benefits Open Season Elections?

The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Open Season elections and the 2016 FEHB plan rates external link icon (OPM) were effective on January 10, 2016.   You will see these changes reflected on your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) for the pay day of January 29, 2016.  Additionally, the Open Season elections for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) Program were effective on January 1, 2016.  The FSA enrollments will be reflected on your LES for the pay day of January 15, 2016, and the FEDVIP enrollments/changes will be reflected on your LES for the pay date of January 29, 2016.

You can access your LES through myPay external link icon (DFAS).  Please verify that all appropriate changes are reflected on your LES.  You will see changes in pay and deductions identified in green.  If you scroll over or click on the green entry, it will show you what the entry was on your last LES and to what it has been changed on the LES you are viewing.  Also, the information identified in blue will allow you to get additional information regarding the entry.

Questions may be directed to your Benefits Contact.

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3.Confirm Your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Election(s)!

2016 IRS annual limit for regular TSP contributions external link icon is $18,000.  If you are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you could lose valuable matching Agency TSP contributions by reaching the limit before the end of the calendar year.  If you have already entered your regular TSP election in myPay for 2016, you should confirm your election in myPay external link icon (DFAS).  Additionally, you should view your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) each pay period to confirm the deductions.  You can also access your LES in myPay external link icon (DFAS).  If you need to adjust your election amount, use the Elective Deferral Calculator external link iconon the TSP website external link icon to determine the adjusted amount.  There are 26 pay days in 2016.   Please note that a regular TSP election will automatically continue from one calendar year into the next.

In addition to regular TSP contributions, you may also make TSP Catch-up contributions external link icon (TSP), if you meet the following criteria:  1) you are age 50 or over (or will be age 50 during 2016); 2) you are in pay status; AND 3) you are contributing an amount towards your regular TSP which will cause you to reach the $18,000 IRS limit by the end of the 2016 calendar year.   The 2016 IRS limit for TSP Catch-up is $6,000.   If you have already entered your TSP Catch-up election in myPay for 2016, you should confirm your election in myPay external link icon (DFAS) and the deductions on your LES.  Unlike regular TSP elections, a Catch-up election is only valid for one calendar year.  Therefore, if you want to make Catch-up contributions each year, you must make a new election each year.

After an election is entered into myPay external link icon (DFAS), it will be effective at the beginning of the next pay period, and it will take 1-2 pay periods before it is visible in myPay and on your LES.  Only one regular TSP election and one TSP Catch-up election can be entered into myPay during a pay period.

If you have questions, refer them to your Benefits Contact.

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4. Limited Enrollment Opportunity For New “Self Plus One” Health Benefits Enrollment Type!

Federal Benefits Open Season, the new “Self Plus One” enrollment type became available under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.  The Self Plus One type allows you to cover yourself and one eligible family member.

Because the new enrollment type is a change of unprecedented proportion in the FEHB Program, OPM has announced an additional limited enrollment period in 2016. The limited enrollment period will run February 1- 29, 2016, and is only to allow individuals who missed the Open Season an opportunity to change their enrollment from Self and Family to Self Plus One. No other changes will be permitted.  

The following applies to changes made during this Limited Enrollment Period:

  • Only for employees enrolled in Self and Family.
  • Only those who participate in premium conversion will be allowed to decrease enrollment to Self Plus One (others may decrease enrollment at any time) using the Limited Enrollment Period Qualifying Life Event (QLE) code.
  • Decreases in enrollment to Self Plus One will be the only allowed enrollment changes.
  • No changes in plans, no option changes, no increases or other decreases in enrollment will be allowed.
  • QLE code “1Z” should be utilized to initiate a change during the Limited Enrollment Period.
  • Enrollment changes will be effective the first day of the pay period following the one in which the change is requested.

Enrollment changes must be made in myPay external link icon (DFAS) during the period of February 1- 29. If you encounter a myPay system issue, you may submit a Health Benefits Election Form, SF 2809 external link icon to the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch (BPLB). Your election form must be received in BPLB (Bldg 31/Rm B3C23), during the period of February 1- 29. For employees located at NIEHS, the BPLB Office is located in Keystone, Room 1108. You should write “Limited Enrollment Opportunity Change” on the top of your election form.

Rates external link icon for the Self Plus One type and Frequently Asked Questions external link icon can be found on the OPM website.  Questions may be directed to your Benefits Contact.

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5. Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Premium Rate Changes and 2016 FEGLI Open Season!

FEGLI Premium Rate Changes – Effective January 1, 2016, FEGLI premium rates external link icon changed for some types of coverage.  The  following applies:

  • There will be no changes to the premium rates for Basic Insurance for employees.
  • Most premium rates for Option A, Option B, and Option C will decrease.
  • Premium rates for Post-Retirement Basic Insurance with 50% Reduction and No Reduction will increase.
  • Premium rates for older age bands of Options B and C will increase.  

You may use the FEGLI Calculator external link icon to calculate the new premiums for the various coverages.  Please note that you may cancel or decrease your FEGLI coverage at any time by completing a Life Insurance Election Form, SF 2817 external link icon, and submitting it to the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch, Bldg 31/Rm B3C23.  For employees located at NIEHS, the BPLB Office is located in Keystone, Room 1108. You may elect or increase your FEGLI coverage only during a FEGLI Open Season, if you experience a Qualifying Life Event, or if you take a physical examination.

FEGLI Open Season – A FEGLI Open Season has been scheduled for September 1 through September 30, 2016.  Coverage elected during the Open Season will be effective one year later during the first pay period beginning on or after October 1, 2017.  Detailed information will be forthcoming in the coming months as information is released by OPM.

For additional information, view the Benefits Administration Letter external link icon.  Questions about FEGLI may be directed to your Benefits Contact.

Topics Of Interest

6. Are Your Deductions Accurate? Review Your Leave And Earnings Statement (LES) To Find Out!

It is very important and your responsibility to review your LES each payday to ensure that proper deductions are being withheld.  You can access your LES at any time in myPay external link icon (DFAS).  Should you discover a benefits withholding problem, notify your Benefits Contact immediately.  For other withholding problems, contact your timekeeper or Administrative Officer for assistance.   Your LES is available in myPay for only the past 26 pay periods.  Once your LES has been removed through normal pay period updates, it cannot be regenerated.  We recommend that you print or save the printer friendly version of your LES to a file or disk.  This is very important should an audit become necessary.

If you want the added convenience of receiving an e-mail notification each pay period when your LES is available in myPay external link icon (DFAS), you only need to follow a few simple steps.  First, you need to access your account in myPay external link icon (DFAS).  Once in myPay, select E-mail Address.  You must enter your Secure Personal E-mail Address twice and click on the primary button.  Finally, click on accept/submit.  You will be asked to confirm your information.  That’s all it takes!  Each pay period you will receive an e-mail informing you once your LES is available.

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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:

  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:
    • Workforce Solutions –The Work Number® access options - www.theworknumber.com external link icon 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)

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

It is very important to have access to your myPay external link icon (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 external link icon 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 external link icon (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 external link icon (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 external link icon (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 external link icon (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 external link icon (DFAS).

If you encounter problems with your Login and/or Password or technical issues using myPay external link icon (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 external link icon. They will also provide support for establishing and changing your Login and/or Password.

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9. 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?

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 NIH-only access, 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 access.

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11. Previous "NIH Benefits Information - Did You Know?" E-mails

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