December 3 2009 FEA Pacific Update

December 3, 2009
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director

· Area Director Update
· Upcoming AD Activities
· Profile Sheet for DTS
· Pay, LQA, TDY reimbursement, Debt Problems?
· Annual Announcements and Programs
· EBIS and Supplemental Social Security
· Mark Your Calendars
· Legal Eagle Corner -- Child Abuse
· Other Tidbits

Area Director Update- I don't know about you, but I am having difficulty fathoming that it is already December and 2009 is soon coming to an end. I hope your Thanksgiving break was wonderful and gave you a much needed and deserved respite.

My visit to the Korea schools was enlightening and productive. For the first time I was able to visit each school in Korea. I want to thank my wonderful hosts who took me by the hand and made sure I did not get lost in the Land of the Morning Calm. I hesitate to name all of the wonderful members who helped make my journey through Korea possible for fear that I will forget someone, but here's my best shot: Rick Cade, Quinten Russo, Chad Casciani, Edgar Romero, Tim McDaniel, Daniel Nalker, and Barbs Page. Kamsamnida. My appreciation also goes to Betty Gossett, TEAK President, who is working much over time as Korea educators have been faced with multiple challenges this school year. Finally, I want to send my thanks to the FRSes, who are the backbone of our Association. It was a joy to walk into such warm schools, peeking in to see great teaching with happy and eager students. What an eye opening experience to visit three unique unit schools, CT Joy (K-8); Daegu American School (K-12) and Humphreys American School (K-8). I marveled once again at how amazing at how amazing teachers, administrators and students are. There are few educators willing to pack up, leave their families, and head off to foreign lands to teach our military children. You are unique educators and I salute you!

Please note I will be departing this Saturday for the 21st Century Skills Task Group Meeting and I will be back in my office Monday, 14 December. For emergencies, please contact Michael Bauernfeind (his contact information is in your FEA pocket and wall calendar. I will be checking my emails and do my best to respond and your patience and reminders are appreciated.

Upcoming AD Activities:

· 7-11 December 21st Century Skills Task Group Meeting in Southbridge, MA
· 20-24 January Mid-Atlantic Regional Leadership Conference, Cincinnati, OH
· 20-22 February Pacific Leadership Council Meeting, Okinawa

Profile Sheet for DTS (Defense Travel System): The Pacific Area has handed over travel and orders to DTS. During this transition, educators are required to complete a profile sheet. In the process, it appears that someone has forgotten all about the mandatory training from DISA (Defense Intelligence Security Agency). We are directed to avoid sending personal information over the Internet unless it is secure and many argue there is nothing secure on the Internet. To protect your personal information and complete the required profile sheet for DISA, either FAX, mail or hand deliver your profile sheet to the appropriate personnel.

Travel Reimbursement Problems: According to DoDEA HQ there are only a few problems with travel reimbursement in the Pacific. We hope that is the case. On the other hand, if you are experiencing any problem with pay here is the guidance the Association offers:

1. Immediately alert your school secretary asking for help in notifying the appropriate people at the DSO. Let your FRS know what is taking place.

2. Tell your local administrative staff that you want to file a Pay Inquiry. There is a form that is used for this purpose. This Pay Inquiry should be sent to the Customer Service Representative (CSR) at the Pacific Area Office having responsibility for your District.

3. Allow the CRS two pay periods to clarify and resolve your reimbursement problem. If you are not satisfied after two pay periods file a pay grievance. Your FRS has a sample grievance in the FRS Handbook for you to use.

4. Be certain to send a copy of your pay grievance to our UNISERV Attorney Michael Bauernfeind. He and his Assistant have a great deal of experience working pay issues. Many of our local leaders are also experienced in working with pay problems. But they all know that Michael is the go-to-man with difficult pay issues.

Another change, program, plan? We need your vigilance, eyes, ears and notes. If you see new programs, plans, changes in the way you work being introduced at school please notify your FRS. Ask if the FEA has received notice of these proposed changes. Change is constant in education. We all know this. However the law and our Negotiated Agreement (contract) allow the FEA to bargain over the impact and implantation or proposed changes. We need your help because we are being bypassed in many instances. I know that your FRS will appreciate the information you pass along. Stay in tune with the latest developments and guidance by from the FEA national office.

Annual Announcements and Programs:

FEHB Open Season (changes of benefits such as health insurance) - November 9 -- December 14.
*Note - Please be aware that Dental Benefits for those of us Overseas is very limited. If you are interested in a dental plan, please check with the insurance carrier making sure that you know what the carrier is offering overseas and stateside.

VERA (Voluntary Early Retirement Authority)- November 16 -- January 8, 2010.

ARR (Annual Reemployment Rights) and ELWOP (Educational Leave without Pay) -- January 8.

Thanks to John Luchtman, Europe Area Director for the following information and attachments on EBIS and Social Security Supplement.

Employee Benefit Information System: 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

Social Security Supplement 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! Please see attached PDF for FERS SS Supplement.

For further information, contact your DSO Human Resources specialist.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner: Child Abuse is a serious topic. Every FRS knows to contact my office immediately when allegations are made against a member. Looking back over the past 20 years I can say that nearly all such allegations have turned out to be false. Being falsely accused by a student, parent or community member leaves emotional wounds that are slow to heal. For those very few cases that are substantiated through the Family Advocacy Program process, teachers need to know that a record is kept by the military. The data base is called the Army Central Registry.

As a part of the overall FAP, the U.S. Army maintains a central registry. It is a data bank containing a confidential index of reported child and spouse abuse cases at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The registry was begun in 1975 for child abuse cases. Incidents are reviewed by a multidisciplinary case review committee (CRC) at the medical treatment facility of each major Army installation. The CRC determines whether each case is substantiated or unsubstantiated. If a case is substantiated, the CRC coordinates the medical, legal, and other forms of intervention.

Three types of reports are entered into the ACR: initial incidents, subsequent incidents, and reopened cases. Unsubstantiated incidents are not entered into the ACR. An initial substantiated case is based on an incident that has been fully investigated and the preponderance of available information indicates that abuse has occurred. A subsequent incident of spouse abuse is one that occurs while the case, based on the initial substantiated incident, is still open. A reopened case is another substantiated incident of abuse that occurs after an earlier case has been closed.

A limited amount of data on the victim and the offender are recorded in the ACR for each incident. These data include the source of case referral, the type of maltreatment, the demographic characteristics of the victim and the offender. Incidents of abuse may come to the attention of the FAP from a variety of military and civil sources, including law enforcement agencies, medical and dental services, command authorities, and military and civil agencies.

Mark Your Calendars

December 5, 2009 TSP Catch Up 2010 IRS LIMITS FOR TSP… contact your HR for questions.
· Elective Deferral Calculator on the TSP website
TSP information:
No more waiting period for agency contributions -- All FERS employees are now eligible to receive agency contributions. There is no longer a waiting period for receiving Agency Automatic (1%) Contributions or Matching Contributions.
No required minimum distributions for 2009 -- For 2009 only, tax law suspends required minimum distributions for separated participants age 70˝ or older. If this affects you, you should have received an explanatory letter from the TSP.

Other Tidbits

National Endowment for Humanities Summer Seminars and Institutes for Teachers Summer 2001
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the Federal Government. Each year the NEH's Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study humanities topics in a variety of Summer Seminars and Institutes. The dates and duration of each project are listed under each title.The application deadline is March 2, 2010 (postmark).
Amount of Award
All teachers selected to participate in an NEH seminar or institute will be awarded a fixed stipend based on the length of the seminar or institute to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).
These projects are designed for full time teachers including home-schooling parents. Applications from teachers in public, private, charter, and religiously affiliated schools receive equal consideration. Other K-12 school personnel, such as librarians and administrators, may also be eligible to apply, depending on the specific seminar or institute. Substitute teachers or part-time personnel are not eligible.
New this year: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current full-time graduate students who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.
Teachers at schools in the United States or its territorial possessions or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50 percent of the students are American nationals are eligible for this program. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.
Applicants should consult the guidelines and application information received directly from seminar and institute directors concerning any additional eligibility requirements specific to the project. Selection committees are directed to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported seminar or institute in the last three years.
New this year: An individual may apply to up to three projects in any one year (seminars, institutes or Landmarks workshops), but may participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ significantly between the Seminars and Institutes and the Landmarks Workshops Programs.
How to Apply
Please e-mail, telephone, or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded project descriptions to the seminar and institute directors listed; in some cases, these materials will also be available on project Web sites. You may request information about as many projects as you like. You may apply to up to three projects in any one year (seminars, institutes or Landmarks workshops), but may participate in only one. The application deadline is March 2, 2010 (postmark).
Please direct all questions concerning individual seminars and institutes, as well as all requests for application materials, to the appropriate director. General questions concerning the National Endowment for the Humanities' Seminars and Institutes Program may be directed to 202 606 8463 or
Equal Opportunity
Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. For further information about NEH's EEO policy, write to the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20506. TDD (for the hearing impaired only): 202 606 8282.

NEA's Read Across America 2010 Calendar and Toolkit Request
Fill out this form and we'll put your name on the list to receive a 2010 Resource Calendar and Toolkit. Be sure to select your correct member status. Requests are filled on a first come, first served basis.

Read Across America on SchoolTube
About NEA's Read Across America
The National Education Association is building a nation of readers through its signature program, NEA's Read Across America. Now in its fourteenth year, this year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.
NEA's Read Across America Day, NEA's national reading celebration takes place each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too!

Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director
DSN 315-267-6159