Military Technician USERRA Briefing By Sandy Hashimoto, HRS/EBS HRO Services Section, 672-1006 (Option 3)
Overview • USERRA Law • Benefits • Status Upon Entry Into Active Duty • Leave Options • FEHB, FSA, LTC, FEDVIP • FEGLI • NGAUS • TSP • CSRS/FERS Retirement • Preparation for Processing
Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) • PL 103-353 effective 12 Dec 1994 • Provides new rules for employment and benefits. • Limits reemployment rights to five cumulative years with the same employer. • Encourages “non-career” service in the uniformed services by eliminating/ minimizing disadvantages to civilian careers/employment.
USERRA - Cont’d • Prohibits discrimination against persons because of such uniformed services. • Minimizes disruption to the lives of persons performing such uniform service by providing for their prompt reemployment. • Congress intended the Federal Government to be a model employer in carrying out USERRA.
USERRA - Cont’d • Changed definition of military service - Title 32 potentially creditable if all of the following criteria are met: • Must interrupt otherwise creditable federal civilian service under CSRS or FERS. • Followed by reemployment IAW Chapter 43 of Title 38 (USERRA) on or after 1 Aug 1990. • Must be full-time (and not inactive duty) performed by a member of the Air or Army National Guard under sections 316, 502, 503, 504, or 505 of Title 32 for which member is entitled to pay from the United States. • The required military service deposit is paid.
USERRA - Cont’d • Eligible for reemployment providing that: • Advance notice given to employer; • Cumulative length of absences does not exceed 5 years; • Character of service was not disqualifying; and • Technician reports to or submits an application for reemployment within the following specified time limits:
USERRA - Cont’d • If military service was less than 31 days, you must report back to work on the next scheduled workday following release from military service and expiration of 8 hours after a time allowing for a safe transportation back to residence. • If military service was for more than 30 days but less than 181 days, you must apply for reemployment within 14 days following release from military service. • If military service was for more than 180 days, you must apply for reemployment within 90 days following release from military service.
USERRA - Cont’d • Certain military service not counted towards the 5 years (depends on the authority for military service). • Regular scheduled IDT and Annual Training. • Involuntary active duty for National Emergency up to 24 months. • War or Declared National Emergency (Vol/Invol). • Required military schools and some leadership assignments.
USERRA - Cont’d • Under 10 USC 12301(d) if performed on or after 14 Sep 2001 in direct or indirect support of missions and operations associated with the National Emergency (i.e., contingency operations – OEF, OIF, ONE, etc.). • Remark on orders: “The period of service under these orders is exempt from the five-year limit as provided in 38 USC 4312(c)(4)(B).”
USERRA - Cont’d • State Active Duty not Uniform Service for USERRA • Treated as Federal civilian service. • If on LWOP, period is subject to the six-month rule.
Status Upon Entry into Active Duty • Separation-US • Absent-US (AUS) -- whether you are in a paid or nonpaid status. • Per OPM change on 01/01/2012 - effective date of AUS action is: • Date the orders begin if military duty is qualifying for the Reservist Differential (RD) provision. • First day of nonpay status if military duty is not qualifying for the RD. • SF 52 required for all periods of military service. • Local Exception – No SF 52 will be required if and only if you are in a “paid” leave status for the entire duration of the military order.
Leave Options • Choice of Paid Leave • Military Leave (LM) • Annual Leave (LA) • Travel Comp Time (CF) (lost after 26 pay periods of being earned) • Sick Leave (LS), if appropriate (must be approved by HRO) • NGB Exception: Regular Comp Time (CT) – if elected, must be used prior to any other authorized paid leave. The effective date of AUS action will be adjusted to the day after Regular CT is exhausted if the orders are qualifying for the RD provision.
Leave Options Cont’d • 44-Day Military Leave (LV) • must be on active duty “without pay” under 10 USC 12301(b) or 12301(d) outside the US; its territories and possessions. • 22-Day Law Enforcement Leave (LL) • Contingency Operations as defined in 10 USC 101(a)(13), i.e., OEF, ONE, OIF, etc. • Must be coordinated with Customer Service Representative (CSR) prior to coding timesheet.
Effect of Using 22-Day LEL • Computed “after the fact” • Compares Mil Pay with Tech Pay • If Mil Pay > Tech Pay = No Tech Pay Due • If Mil Pay < Tech Pay = Difference paid to Tech • Do not code the timesheet with “LL” until after notified by the CSR that DFAS has approved the request.
Leave Options - Cont’d • Leave Without Pay (KG) • May use other authorized “paid” leave intermittently with leave without pay. • Not reimbursed for “free” FEGLI/FEHB • May complicate military deposit • Annual Leave Options • Paid Lump-Sum • Remain to Your Credit
Reservist Differential (RD) • New entitlement effective 15 Mar 2009. • Compares military and civilian pay each pay period. If your civilian pay exceeds your military pay, you are due the RD payment. • Military pay includes basic pay and allowances (BAH/BAS, etc). • Civilian pay is reduced by any paid leave taken. • Potentially eligible if you meet two conditions: • Must be ordered to active duty under the following sections of Title 10 USC: 331, 332, 333, 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12304(a),12305, or 12406. • Eligible for reemployment under USERRA • Not payable for periods following completion of active duty (i.e., reemployment period).
Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) • Separate or Absent-US: Continues up to 24 months unless you terminate. • Continue Enrollment • Responsible for your share of premiums for first 12 months. • Pay during absence, or • Incur Debt • Second 12 months - Responsible for full premium cost (102%); premiums must be paid on current basis directly to DFAS. • Terminates after 24-month period, subject to 31-day ext of coverage at no cost to you. • Automatically reinstated upon RTD (unless waived for Transitional Tricare).
FEHB - Cont’d • Terminate Enrollment • Effective day you are separated or placed on leave of absence (paid/unpaid leave). • 31-day extension of coverage at no cost to you. • Conversion to non-group plan. • Not consider break in service for 5-year participation requirement for retirement, (however, not counted towards five years). • Not eligible for TCC. • Automatically reinstated upon RTD (unless waived for Transitional Tricare).
FEHB – Cont’d • Premium Conversion • Not Participating – Terminate anytime during 24-month period. Effective end of pay period when request received by HRO. • Participating – Cannot terminate anytime. • Must wait for QLE or Open Season • Start of nonpay status is QLE. Have 60 days from effective date of LWOP to terminate or waive premium conversion.
FEHB - Cont’d • DOD to pay premiums for the 24-month period if: • Enrolled in FEHB and elect to continue that enrollment. • Member of a Reserve component of the Armed Forces. • Called or ordered to active duty (vol/invol) in support of a contingency operation as defined in 10 USC 101(a)(13). For example, OEF, ONE, OIF, OAF, etc. • Placed on Absent-US or separate to perform active duty. • Serve on active duty for a period of more than 30 consecutive days.
Flexible Spending Accounts • Must contact FSAFEDS @ 1-877-372-3337 • Options • Continue by prepaying remaining allotments for current benefit period. • Freeze account until RTD. • Cancel prior to leaving. • Elect Qualified Reservist Distribution (QRD). • Allows you to receive the balance in your account instead of forfeiting that money. QRD is taxable. • If QRD paid – ineligible to submit expenses for remainder of the benefit period. • Must be enrolled in a HCFSA or LEX HCFSA, and • Be a member of a Reserve Component called to active duty for 180 days or more, or an indefinite period of time. • RTD is QLE for enrollment.
Federal LTC Insurance • Must contact LTC Partners @ 1-800-582-3337 to change payment option: • Direct bill. • Auto bank withdrawal. • Request payroll deduction from military pay.
FEDVIP - Dental/Vision Riders • Continues if premiums are paid. • Must contact BENEFEDS @ 1-877-888-3337 to change your payment option. • Entry on active duty is QLE for cancellation. Contact BENEFEDS. • RTD is QLE for enrollment.
Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) • Absent-US: Continues for up to 12 months at no cost to you. • Separate: Continues at no cost to you for up to 12 months or 90 days after military service ends, whichever first. • Upon termination of coverage - Provided with 31-day extension of coverage & right to convert. • Coverage automatically reinstated upon RTD – must be in a “pay and duty” status.
Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) – Cont’d • PL 110-181 (28 Jan 2008) authorized continuation of an additional 12 months while on active duty. • Should make election prior to departing; but no later than the end of first 12 months. • Must pay both Emp & Gov’t shares of Basic Life. • Must pay entire cost of Optional coverage (A, B and/or C). • May elect to continue same coverage or lesser level. • Must pay premiums directly to DFAS each pay period; terminated if you miss 2 pay periods. • If no election received by end of first 12 months, coverage is terminated; subject to a 31-day free period and right to convert to non-group plan. • Terminated coverage is reinstated upon RTD (in a “pay and duty” status).
FEGLI - Cont’d • 4-month rule for civilian nonpay status impacts FEGLI coverage. • 4 consecutive months in a pay status after a period of nonpay status allows a new 12-month period. • Death Benefits • Paid to Beneficiary (Designated or By Law). • AD&D benefits payable under Basic & Opt A if called to war unless death occurs in actual combat or nuclear weapons were used. • IF AD&D not payable, regular death benefits are payable regardless of cause or location.
National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) • Paid Status - premiums continue to be deducted. • Nonpay Status • Disability/Supplemental Disability • 30 days or less - continues at no cost to you • 30+ days - coverage suspended • Upon RTD – coverage reinstated • TermLife & GuardLife • 90 days or less - continues at no cost to you • 90+ days - coverage direct-billed • ValueLife and Universal Life • No waiver of premium • Coverage direct-billed • Separate or Cancel - complete NG 76 (contact the HRO Services Section for the form).
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) • Paid Status – contributions continue to be deducted. • Nonpay Status • No contributions permitted. • Cannot withdraw contributions. • TSP loans: • If TSP notified (via TSP 41), loan will be suspended until RTD. • Interest still accrues. • Repayment period extended by length of active duty. • If TSP is not notified: • Loan payments suspended for up to one year. • Repayment in full or declared a taxable distribution. • Can make direct payments to TSP with personal check/money order and loan coupon from web site. • Possible reduction in interest rate under Service Members Civil Relief Act. Contact the TSP at 1-877-968-3778.
TSP - Cont’d • If separated, can withdraw contributions. • Upon RTD/Restoration, may make-up “missed” employee contributions. • Must apply within 60 days of RTD: • Complete the “USERRA TSP Make-up Contributions Request Form” and return to HRO along with a copy of ALL your military LES’s, or your “Master Military Pay Account” (MMPA) screens detailing the TSP breakdown and basic pay for the period of military service. • For Army Guard – see your unit RNCO or the USPFO/Payroll for the MMPA. • For Air Guard – send request for the MMPA to email@example.com.
TSP - Cont’d • Repayment period - Up to 2 times the number of pay periods that were covered by the “missed” contributions. • Based on employee election of record. • If FERS, you will receive Agency Automatic (1%) contributions for entire period whether or not you make-up the “missed” employee contributions. • If FERS, you will receive Agency Matching contributions as you make-up your “missed” employee contributions.
TSP - Cont’d • You are encouraged to contribute to a Military TSP while on active duty. • It will reduce/offset the amount of “missed” TSP contributions you will have make to your Civilian TSP. • Entitled to receive “make-up” Agency Matching contributions in your Civilian TSP based on the contributions deducted from your military basic pay.
CSRS/FERS Retirement • Paid Status - contributions will continue to be deducted. • Nonpay Status - to receive service credit: • CSRS before 1 Oct 82, deposit optional (Catch-62 applies). • FERS and CSRS on or after 1 Oct 82, deposit required. • Deposit amount is LESSOR of: • 7% (CSRS) or 3% (FERS) of estimated military earnings during active duty period, ORamount of CSRS/FERS employee contributions that would have been withheld from your civilian position if you had not left for military service.
CSRS/FERS Retirement - Cont’d • Upon RTD/restoration, contact HRO to make deposit. • If made within 3 years of return to covered position, no interest will be charged. • If Absent-US, eligible for death and disability benefits; cannot take refund of retirement contributions. • If Separated, eligible for refund of retirement contributions. • Void all rights to retirement system (to include survivor benefits). • FERS – Law changed to allow application to make redeposit if reemployed in covered FERS position.
5-Day Excused Absence For Returning from GWOT • Return from contingency operation – to aid in readjusting to civilian life. • Must spend at least 42 consecutivedays on active duty in support of GWOT. • Only once in a 12-month period. • New 12-month period begins after first use of 5-day period and ends 365-days later. • Begins with effective date of RTD (day after release from active duty and grace period). • Must be a continuous period; does not include non-workdays and holidays within period. • You are obligated to report to work at the end of the 5-day period.
Reminders • Review beneficiary forms and update if needed (both civilian and military). • Allotments: Nonpay status will STOP payments. Ensure you make necessary arrangements prior to leaving. • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – you and your family members are eligible for services. Contact Military OneSource@ 1-800-342-9647. Available 24/7.
Preparation for Processing • Departing: • Standard Form 52 for AUS or Separation-US • Copy of Military Orders • USERRA Election Form – Entry on Military Duty • Premium Conversion Form (if applicable) • FEGLI Notice and Election Form (if applicable) • TSP-41 (if applicable) • Returning: • Standard Form 52 for RTD • Copy of any amendment/modification to previous orders (if applicable) • Copy of REFRAD orders & DD Form 214 (Copy 2, 4 or 7; we cannot use Copy 1 or the Worksheet) • USERRA “RTD” Election Form • Application for Reservist Differential Payments • Request for USERRA Retroactive TSP Contributions