December 10 2008 FEA Europe Report

1. Belated Enrollment change for FEHB , FEDVIP and FSAFEDS
2. VERA deadline of the 15th of Dec.
3. Q and A about VERA, see attachment
4. Article 22
5. Deadline for Educational LWOP and AAR
6. Maximum deposits to TSP account is $16,500 for 2009
7. Recent MOU between FEA and DoDEA
8. Area JCC meeting December 16, 2008
9. Have a safe and happy Winter Break/Christmas and New Year celebration

1. Belated Enrollment change:

A. What This Means To You

B. You may make belated Open Season enrollment changes to your FEHB Program, Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) if FEHB benefit changes affect your enrollment decisions in these programs. You will have an extended enrollment opportunity through January 2009 to make any enrollment changes in these programs.

C. Also, if you make a belated Open Season change to your enrollment in these programs, the effective dates of the belated change will vary among the programs. Depending on the timing of your change and your pay periods, it may take one or more pay periods for your Federal Benefits deductions/allotments to be adjusted to match your new election. You need to know if you make a belated Open Season change and you have claims for services incurred in 2009 under your former plan, you and/or your provider may be responsible for reimbursing the former plan for any benefits paid.

D. Effective Dates

E. Belated FEHB changes will take effect the first day of the pay period that starts on or after January 1, 2009. Belated FEDVIP changes will take effect January 1, 2009. Belated FSAFEDS changes will take effect on January 1, 2009, or the day after the change is received, whichever is later.

2. Don't forget the VERA deadline of the 15th of Dec. I have attached a VERA Q & A I found on OPM and then added a chart comparison sent out in past VERA announcements.

3. The item below is an example of the Q and A about VERA please see the attached for additional information.

CSRS employees will have an age reduction of 2% for each year they are under age 55. Salary is reduced by amount of the annuity. There is no age reduction for retiring FERS employees

4. Just a reminder about trying to get to school during the winter when travel is not safe. Article 22 speaks to school closure and travel during inclement weather.


Section 4. - School Closures

A. The decision to release unit employees when schools close due to inclement weather or other emergencies is retained by the Employer.

B. When schools close for students due to inclement weather or other emergencies and unit employees are required to report to the work site, a unit employee shall be administratively excused for up to one half day when such weather or emergency conditions prevent timely arrival. In determining whether emergency conditions warrant late arrival, the Employer shall consider the efforts made by the unit employee to get to work in a timely manner, taking into account the unit employee's normal commute and normal modes of transportation used.

5. This reminder was in the "Friday Packet for Principals Nov. 28th.

Reminder: The deadline for both the Educator and Administrator Educational Leave Without Pay and Administrative Reemployment Rights Programs is 15 December 2008 -- must be received in the DoDDS-E Human Resources Office no later than close of business that day. The announcements for were issued in the Friday Packet, October 3rd.

6. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released the elective deferral limits for 2009. The annual maximum contribution to a regular TSP account is $16,500, a $1,000 increase from 2008 and the limit on Catch-up Contributions for 2009 is $5,500; increased by $500.

7. Please see attached a recent MOU between FEA and DoDEA concerning trial periods moving between DDESS to DoDDS

8. Next week Chuck and I will meet for our Dec. JCC with the Area Office. With the winds of change in the air we will be sure to pass along what ever we learn as well as the minutes shortly after that meeting.

9. Chuck will have the last update for this year (2008). I want to thank all of our members and those that work so hard each day, not only teaching, but to protect our members but to nurture future leaders as well. I would like to especially thank the other FEA leaders for their advocacy and never ending strength. Have a safe and happy Winter Break/Christmas and New Year celebration and come back rested and ready to continue the quality education you provide on a daily basis.

Respectfully submitted,


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