October 29 2008 FEA Europe Update

1. NEA Member Benefits
2. NEA web site
3. TSP choices for 2009
4. Employee Benefit Information System
5. Social Security Supplement
6. Who You Gonna Call
8. EXCENT Online

1. We would like to thank Michael Galvin, NEA Member Benefits for the great information he shared with our teachers during his visit in Europe. I know we will try to suggest some other places to visit the next time he is able to come.

2. NEA web site: I would like to point out just one of the many areas to be found on the NEA web site. This particular link provides information about Professional Development along with a few other areas like National Board Certification or simply job searches.

3. TSP choices for 2009. Please see the attached PDF.

4. Employee Benefit Information System (EBIS) If you have not set up your account to access information via EBIS, please do. This is a wonderful website with a wealth of information. It also allows you to make some changes to your health and life insurance plans (during open season), TSP Coverage, as well as looking at your retirement information and projections for your pension. Attached EBIS PDF

5. I would like to mention something that has caused some confusion to folks thinking about (VERA) retirement under FERS. You may be eligible for Social Security Supplement. First you have to be of Minimum Retirement Age between 55 and 57 depending on the year you were born and retire with an immediate annuity, not a deferred annuity. Each year a few months before our birthday we receive a Social Security Estimate notification. You will need the amount they anticipate you will receive if you decide to take SS at age 62. You can estimate the amount you may receive for Social Security Supplement using the following formula.

Take the number of years of FERS service and divide by 40 this will equal a percentage of the amount from the age 62 information from the Social Security notification mailing.

A real example would be 23 years of service divided by 40 = .575 times (x) $14,250.00= $8,193.75 or about $682.00 per month as the Social Security Supplement. This supplement is paid until the month before you turn 62 whether or not you decide to take regular reduced Social Security then or wait until your full Social Security age for retirement.

Years of service XX divided (/) by 40 = % times (x) amount from the SS mailing = yearly amount for Social Security Supplement. I hope that answers more questions than it creates! J Please see attached PDF for FERS SS Supplement

For further information, contact your DSO Human Resources specialist.

6. As mentioned in our current edition of UNITY, which should be in schools soon, I we have a chart with information regarding who to contact for assistance. The chart, called "Who You Gonna Call?" was originally developed and named by Roseann Drydale and is attached to this UPdate. You might find it helpful to print this out and keep it handy.

From FEA President, Michael Priser's President's Report

7. INFORMATION ASSURANCE: In an effort to make Outlook e-mail more secure, the Pentagon has begun an Information Assurance (IA) initiative. This initiative seeks to boost the security of electronic systems.. As part of the IA initiative, the Department of Defense requires all employees to complete IA awareness training. Information Assurance training is intended to inform employees of the technical and practical risks and responsibilities associated with their computing activities. We know that some staff in Europe had been told already to conduct their training on the IA initiative, but that directive has now been withdrawn while FEA and DoDEA Headquarters work out details of how the sessions are to be presented. Information on this implementation will be forthcoming.

8. EXCENT Online: FEA is very aware of major problems Special Education teachers are facing because of EXCENT Online. We greatly appreciate efforts by DoDEA Director Dr. Shirley Miles and the DoDEA Area Directors to provide extra duty pay and substitute time to help alleviate some of the problems. FEA continues to hear from our members about the lack of training, computer down-time, failure to transfer information, and other technical problems bought on by EXCENT. I will be raising these issues with management later this week at our monthly meeting. Meanwhile, please continue to work through your school's chain of command to get such problems fixed and keep FEA informed if those efforts are unsuccessful.

Have a great week!


John Luchtman
FEA Europe Area Director
Federal Education Association
Work 354-6844 Civ 09721-4758012
Home Fax/Answering machine 09725-5372