Congress and the Fiscal Year Tick – Tock
There’s just a week left until the 2016 government funding runs out on Sept. 30. Members of Congress are racing against the clock to come up with a funding package to avoid a government shutdown.
Will they succeed? What does it mean to you as a federal employee? Here’s what we know:
A government shutdown is very unlikely before the elections.
Nobody wants a government shutdown. Congress is working to pass a short-term funding bill known as Continuing Resolution (CR), which would fund government agencies at the current funding levels through Dec. 9. After that, Congress will need to come up with another spending bill again to prevent a shutdown.
A short-term funding bill means no new resources.
A CR keeps the government running at the same level of funding regardless of new needs and workload. That means it will be difficult to get more funding for important medical research, for example, or to hire more people to screen air travelers or keep our skies safe.
Your supposed 1.6% pay raise next year is not guaranteed.
President Obama requested a 1.6 percent pay raise in 2017 for both military personnel and civilian employees. If Congress does nothing, federal employees will likely get that amount. But whether Congress does nothing or not depends on who wins the election. Members of Congress have the final say on your pay. So your 1.6 percent raise is still up in the air.
Stay tuned for more information on the government funding tick tock. Visit www.afge.org for news and updates on other key issues important to federal employees.
Not a member yet? Join AFGE today and be a part of the movement that fights for your voice at work and fair compensation.
Who can Vote in Illinois?
To register to vote, you must:
- Must Be a United States Citizen
- Must Be at least 18 years of age by Election Day
- Must have been a resident of the precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day
- not be in prison/jail serving time for a conviction. (Note: Ex-convicts who have completed their sentences and who meet all other requirements listed above are eligible to register and vote in Illinois.)
ILLINOIS REGISTRATION DEADLINES:
Registration is open year around except during the 27 day period prior to an election and during the 2 day period after each election (1 day after in Chicago).
VOTER REGISTRATION LINKS:
Who can vote In Indiana?
In order to be eligible to register to vote, you must:
• be a citizen of the United States,
• be at least 18 years old on the day of the next general, municipal, or special election,
• have lived in your precinct for at least 30 days before the next general, municipal, or special election (except for certain military voters); and
• not currently be imprisoned after being convicted of a crime.
In order to register online, you must also possess a current and valid Indiana driver’s license or Indiana State identification card. The State of Indiana will use your digitized signature on-file with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles as your voter registration signature. Only the voter registration information you provide and your digitized signature will be sent to your county voter registration office upon concluding the online voter registration application process.
INDIANA REGISTRATION DEADLINES:
Registration is open all year throughout the County except during the 27 days preceding an election and reopens the second day following an election.
Under federal law, citizens may apply to register to vote by mailing in an application. When you register by mail your mail-in form must be postmarked prior to the close of registration. In addition, a person must vote for the first time in person and may not vote by mail, unless the person first provides sufficient proof of identity and the County Clerk verifies the person’s proof of identity.
LINK: Indiana Voters
Who can vote in Minnesota?
You must be:
- A U.S. citizen
- At least 18 years old on Election Day
- A resident of Minnesota for 20 days
- Finished with all parts of any felony sentence
You can vote while under guardianship unless a judge specifically has revoked your right to vote.
You cannot vote if a court has ruled that you are legally incompetent.
Minnesota Registration Deadline:
REGISTER ON ELECTION DAY
Link: Voting in Minnesota
Who can vote in OHIO?
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO REGISTER AND TO VOTE IN OHIO?
You are qualified to register to vote in Ohio if you meet all the following requirements:
- You are a citizen of the United States;
- You will be at least 18 years old on or before the day of the next general election. (If you will be 18 on or before the general election, you may vote in the primary election to nominate candidates, but you cannot vote on issues or party central committees until you are 18);
- You will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the election in which you want to vote;
- You are not incarcerated (in prison or jail) for a felony conviction under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States;
- You have not been declared incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court; and
- You have not been permanently disenfranchised for violating the election laws.
You are eligible to vote in elections held in your voting precinct 30 days after you are duly registered to vote in this state. You may request an absentee ballot during that 30 day period.
Link: Voting In Ohio
Ohio registration deadline:
Election Date: November 8, 2016
Registration Deadline: October 11, 2016
Who can vote in Michigan?
To register to vote in Michigan you must be:
• A resident of Michigan and the city or township where you are applying to register to vote.
• A citizen of the United States of America.
• At least 18 years of age (by election day).
• Not serving a sentence in jail or prison.
Michigan Registration Deadline:
Must register 30 days before election to vote in that election.
Link: Voting in Michigan
A Labor Day Message from In the Public Interest:
With Labor Day around the corner, we’re taking a moment to say “thank you” to the workers who keep American government running.
A few come to mind: teachers, bus drivers, 911 dispatchers, sanitation workers, social workers, public health nurses, school cafeteria workers, postal clerks and letter carriers, firefighters, probation officers, park maintenance workers, national park rangers, civil and environmental engineers, librarians, highway workers, school crossing guards, childcare workers, and home health aides.
If we missed any, let us know. And please pass this note along to the public sector workers you’re close with—they should know we’ve got their backs.
Day in and day out, these workers make tireless contributions to the strength, prosperity, and well being of our nation. From small towns to big cities, they’re the glue that holds our schools, public transit, infrastructure, and communities together.
Let’s all make an effort to thank them for their work.
And on behalf of millions of public sector workers around the country, thank you for supporting In the Public Interest.
Want to see Labor Day events throughout Illinois this year? Just follow the link below:
For information and RSVP, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/154234048353231/
—Unless we have pictures!
AFGE Members & Family enjoyed the the 21st Annual Picnic at Great America on July 30, 2016
The Federal Government established the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program on August 29, 1954. It is the largest group life insurance program in the world, covering over 4 million Federal employees and retirees, as well as many of their family members.
Most employees are eligible for FEGLI coverage. FEGLI provides group term life insurance. As such, it does not build up any cash value or paid-up value. It consists of Basic life insurance coverage and three options.
In most cases, if you are a new Federal employee, you are automatically covered by Basic life insurance and your payroll office deducts premiums from your paycheck unless you waive the coverage. In addition to the Basic, there are three forms of Optional insurance you can elect. You must have Basic insurance in order to elect any of the options. Unlike Basic, enrollment in Optional insurance is not automatic — you must take action to elect the options.
The cost of Basic insurance is shared between you and the Government. You pay 2/3 of the total cost and the Government pays 1/3. Your age does not affect the cost of Basic insurance. You pay the full cost of Optional insurance, and the cost depends on your age.
The Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI), which is a private entity that has a contract with the Federal Government, processes and pays claims under the FEGLI Program.
Six ways the agency, its employees, and the American people will be hurt if they get their way:
1. A 10-day furlough of all SSA employees
2. An agency-wide hiring freeze
3. A reduction in local office hours
4. Permanent closing of many field offices
5. Increases in wait times on the national 1-800 number and field offices
6. An increase in processing time for benefits
On every paycheck you earn, you’re made a promise. The money deducted for Social Security is a promise that protects us all against the risk of lost income for our family in the event of the disability or death of a breadwinner, and in retirement. Social Security isn’t just a promise from the U.S. Government – it’s a commitment we’ve made to each other.
Social Security helps everyone, from the retirees who receive benefits after decades of hard work, to millions of children who depend on it to survive. In 2014, 3.2 million American kids directly received Social Security benefits, mostly as the result of a parent passing away. It also serves as a lifeline to the 10 million workers who are too injured to work, or disabled.
LINK: More information
DID YOU GET THIS NOTICE ABOUT YOUR FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT?
On March 1, 2016, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) awarded the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) contract to WageWorks, Inc. Effective Thursday, September 1, 2016, the FSAFEDS program will transition administration from ADP to WageWorks. The current phone number, fax number, and website (www.FSAFEDS.com) will continue to be used, once WageWorks assumes administration of FSAFEDS.
There will, however, be a blackout period, as part of the transition of contractors, when certain services are not accessible or available.
Below are the blackout dates for specific FSAFEDS services:
·The claims submission blackout period begins on Saturday, July 30, 2016 and ends Thursday, September 1, 2016. This means that no claims can be submitted during this period.
· Participants must submit any eligible claims electronically by 4:00 p.m. eastern time on Friday, July 29, 2016. If submitted by mail, then claims must be postmarked by Wednesday, July 20, 2016, to be processed prior to the start of the blackout period.
· All approved claims submitted by these deadlines will be paid by Monday, August 8, 2016.
· Any eligible claims that are not submitted prior to these deadlines – and claims for any expenses you incur during the blackout period – can be submitted beginning Thursday, September 1, 2016.
· Paperless reimbursement claims will be suspended on Friday, July 29, 2016 as well, and processing of these claims will resume on Thursday, September 8, 2016.
Website & Phone Line
· The website and phone line will transition between Friday, August 26, 2016 and Thursday, September 1, 2016.
· The website, for general research, will not be available between Friday, August 26, 2016 and Thursday, September 1, 2016.
· During the phone line transition from Friday, August 26, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. eastern time to Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. eastern time, employees will not be able to reach a representative and will receive a prerecorded message.
· Participants also cannot access their online accounts during the transition period of 5:00 p.m. eastern time on Friday, August 26, 2016 to 9:00 a.m. eastern time on Thursday, September 1, 2016.
· The same fax number will be used by WageWorks; however, the fax number should not be used during the transition period of Saturday, July 30, 2016 to Thursday, September 1, 2016.
Plan-year dates, election amount, and available balance will remain the same.
Participants will receive additional information and/or reminders over the next few months from FSAFEDS.
FSAFEDS will also communicate if any of the above dates will change.
Questions regarding FSAFEDS, including this transition, can be directed to FSAFEDS at (877) 372-3337 orFSAFEDS@ADP.com.