1. New Retiree's ID Card Procedure
The Department has implemented a new retiree visitors ID card. Russ LeClair has sent me the State telegram outlining the new procedure on how to obtain the new ID card. Thanks, Russ!
P 291336Z JUL 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI PRIORITY 1951
UNCLAS STATE 081353
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: NEW RETIREE ID CARDS
1. The Bureau of Human Resources (HR) and the Bureau of
Diplomatic Security (DS) are pleased to announce a new
procedure for the issuance of identification cards to
2. Starting August 4, 2008, DS will issue all retiree ID
cards. These cards will look like other State Department
badges. Retirees with the new cards will have the same
privileges as those with the current retiree ID card:
-- A retiree ID card, exclusive of any other form of ID,
can be used to obtain a HST/SA-1 Retiree Visitor Pass
-- As currently in practice, the RVP provides a retiree
with limited unescorted access to HST's Foggy Bottom
and 1st floor service areas, as well as the 3rd floor
Library during normal business hours, Monday through
Friday, except holidays;
-- The same privilege applies at SA-1's HR/RET offices,
Medical suites and service areas.
-- Retirees can continue to sign in their legal spouse
and or dependant(s). User instructions are printed
on the back of the RVP.
3. Retirees who have in their possession an HR/RET-issued
retiree ID card may go directly to HST DSIS Office in Room
B-237, to complete Form DS-1838, at which time they will
be processed for and issued the new retiree ID card.
4. Retirees without an HR/RET-issued retiree ID badge
must complete Form DS-1838 at the Office of Retirement
(HR/RET), 2401 E Street NW, Room H-620, SA-1, Columbia
Plaza, Washington, D.C. 20522. A retirement counselor in
HR/RET must sign off on the form to certify your status as
a retiree. Then, you will be able to be processed for and
issued the new retiree ID card from the DSIS office in
HST, Room B-237.
5. Retirees must provide two forms of identification to
the DSIS officer [Note: IDs that are typically used are a
valid (not expired) DOS Personal ID Card, a state driver's
license and/or U.S.Passport]. The ID card will be issued
with an expiration date of 5 years.
6. Minimize considered.
2. Obtaining a lost birth certificate for a dependant born overseas.
How to Apply for a Certified Copy of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad
Submit a signed and notarized written request including all pertinent facts of the occasion along with a copy of the requester's valid photo identification. Only the subject, parent, or legal guardian may request a birth record. The following information must be included in the request:
`Date of request
`Purpose of request
`Document Requesting (Certificate of Birth, Report of Death, Certificate of Witness of Marriage, or Certification of No Record)
`Number of documents requesting
`Current mailing address and daytime telephone number
Facts of Birth, Death, or Marriage
`Name (at birth/death/marriage)
`Name after adoption (if applicable)
`Date of birth/death/marriage
`Country of birth/death/marriage
`Father's date and place (state/country) of birth
`Mother's date and place (state/country) of birth
`Passport used to first enter the U.S.
`Name of bearer
`Date of issuance
`Date of inclusion (if passport was not issued to the subject)
`Name of bearer
`Date of issuance
Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240) - $30.00 - ONE REPLACEMENT ONLY
(Request for a FS-240 must include the original FS-240 or a notarized affidavit attesting to its disposition.)
For the following documents, the fee is $30.00 for the first copy and $20.00 for each additional copy:
`Certificate of Birth (DS-1350)
`Report of Death
`Certificate of Witness to Marriage
`Certification of No Record
`Check or money order must be signed, dated, and made payable to "Department of State."
`Remittance must be payable in U.S. dollars through a U.S. bank.
`Do not send cash.
`A copy of a valid identification of the requester, such as a driverís license, military ID, or passport.
`If you possess a Report of Birth/Death or Certificate of Witness to Marriage, please enclose a copy to aid in our file search.
`If you are requesting an amendment or correction to a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, please include certified copies of all documents appropriate for effecting the change (i.e., foreign birth certificate, marriage certificate, court ordered adoption or name change, birth certificates of adopting or legitimating parents, etc.). The original or replacement FS-240, or a notarized affidavit concerning its whereabouts also must be included.
SUBMIT YOUR REQUEST TO:
U.S. Department of State
Vital Records Section
1111 19th Street, NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20522-1705
Most consular vital records must be retrieved from off-site repositories, including the National Archives. Thus, the time it takes varies greatly based on the type of record and date of occurrence, making it difficult to give a definite timeframe. However, in most cases, turnaround is four to eight weeks.
Overnight delivery can save about ten days processing time, but there is no way to reduce the retrieval time. Overnight return via Federal Express is available for an additional $16.25 or the requester may provide a pre-paid air bill for the carrier of choice.
The Vital Records Section can be reached at (202) 955-0307.
Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to e-mail us at HRSC@state.gov or to call us toll free at 1-866-300-7419.
3. A Survivors Booklet
Since co-founding, with Babe Martin, the CANDOER organization in 1995 I have received requests from members for assistance when a spouse dies. With a memory shorter than my hair this has led to my repeatedly having to research information.
In a conversation I had with Milt Aldridge he informed me that REFCOM had ran into the same problem and that they had compiled a survivors booklet for use by their members. Milt forwarded the booklet to me to put up on the CANDOER web site www.candoer.org for our membership to use.
The booklet was geared toward GS retirees and had no information for FS retirees. Tom Murphy volunteered to assist me in adding the information needed for the FS retirees. Murf's input was invaluable to me in making the necessary changes to this document for the information needed by FS retirees.
This guide should not be consider absolutely all inclusive because every individual situation will be somewhat different depending on the family situation, state of residence, and many other factors. However, it is an excellent starting point. It is intended for printing on three-ring binder paper so that it can be placed in a three-ring binder, and additional pages inserted as warranted for any special situation.
This guide is written as if the deceased and the survivor are one entity. As you work through it, some items are for the individual, whereas other items are for the survivor. For example, in one area the individual is asked what type of funeral is desired. In another section, items for the survivor are listed as things to do after the funeral. The more each knows about the other, the higher probability of things being done as one desired and needs.
We would suggest that this guide be copied and then a copy be completed for each person. This will help if future events dictate necessary changes.
Also, this survivor guide should in no way be considered as a replacement for competent legal advice. Legal advice is different for each individual state based on the specific state laws for wills, power of attorney, and other related issues.
If you have additional items that you think should be included, please share them with us, and they will be passed along.
Any changes or additions you feel should be made, to this booklet, please forward them to me at: email@example.com
Because the booklet is 28 pages long I have not included it as a web page. It may be downloaded in one of two formats; a Microsoft Word document or and Adobe PDF format. Both will allow you to print the document yourself.
Survivors Booklet dated 01-28-10 (Word)
Survivors Booklet dated 01-28-10 (PDF)
4. NARFE Survivors Guide
This information can be read or printed and contains all of the vital information necessary to report a death to OPM as well as a sample letter and personal family information that would be beneficial to surviving family members. Survivors Guide
5. Vets Aid and Attendance
Regardless of your personal status, consider passing this along to all veterans, families of veterans or individuals with veterans in their family.
"Aid and Attendance" is an underutilized special monthly pension benefit offered by the Veterans Administration for veterans and surviving spouses who require in-home care or live in nursing homes.
To qualify, a veteran (includes the surviving spouse) must have served at least 90 days of active military service,one day of which is during a period of war, and must be discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
The veteran's benefit is $18,234 annually (paid monthly) and increases to $21,615 if a veteran has one dependent. The surviving spouse alone is $11,715 annually. For more information, call 1-800-827-1000.
Visit www.va.gov (type "Aid and Attendance" in the search block), or contact your local VA office.
Apply on-line at vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp.
- The information is about VA pension benefits and the program does exist. It does provide benefits to low income veterans and spouses.
- Unlike typical disability compensation, this is an income based program. There are three links to VA's websites for this program. There are certain caveats to the program; VA provides clear instructions regarding what items are considered countable towards income and what is not included.
- The second website link provides details the requirements for VA pension; you referred to these requirements in your original email.
- This program provides an alternative to claimants who may not otherwise be able to receive disability benefits.
- The final website indicates how VA calculates for this benefit. It is complicated to explain in an email but if someone needs a better explanation or help with applying for the benefits, they can get help from The American Legion.
6. Should you Enroll In Medicare?
Following is an article that every retiree that is about to reach 65 should read. It helps to answer the question "Should Federal Retirees Enroll in Medicare?"Should Federal Retirees Enroll in Medicate?
By Edward A. Zurndorfer, Certified Financial Planner
Federal employees have numerous questions as they plan for their retirement from federal service. One of the most often-asked questions is whether a federal retiree, a CSRS or a FERS annuitant, should enroll in Medicare when he or she becomes first eligible.
This question is difficult to answer for many federal annuitants. The reason for this difficulty is that most federal employees are eligible to keep their Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) health insurance benefits throughout retirement and the federal government continues to pay on average 72 to 75 percent of the FEHB premiums, identical to what the federal government pays on their behalf for their health insurance premiums when they are employees.
The question therefore becomes: Why does a federal annuitant need to enroll in Medicare when they have full insurance coverage under the FEHB program? This column will attempt to answer this question and will also answer other frequently asked questions, namely:
When should federal retirees enroll in Medicare and in which parts of Medicare?
Is there a late enrollment penalty for Medicare and when does the penalty apply?
Which is "primary" coverage - FEHB or Medicare?
It is important to first review the different parts to Medicare. There are four parts to Medicare - Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.
Part A (Hospital Insurance) Helps pay for inpatient hospital care, home health care, and hospice care and prescriptions dispersed in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
Part B (Medical Insurance) Helps pay for covered services received from a doctor, outpatient hospital car, durable medical equipment, ambulance services, and many other health services and supplies that are not covered by Part A. Part B does not pay for most routine dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids, most immunizations, or most prescription drugs. Beginning in 2011, Part B covers an annual wellness visit where beneficiaries are provided a personalized prevention plan, including a health risk assessment.
Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans), formerly called Medicare Choice plans These plans are offered by private companies that are approved by Medicare. Federal annuitants covered by a FEHB plan do not need Medicare Part C.
Part D (Prescription Drug Plans) which helps pay for outpatient prescription drugs These plans are approved by Medicare but are managed by private companies. Different plans cover different drugs and may be offered only in specific areas of the country. Federal annuitants covered by FEHB plans usually do not need to enroll in Medicare Part D.
Medicare Parts A and B are called the "original" Medicare. Federal employees are eligible for Part A if they, or their spouse, worked in a Medicare Part A-covered employment for at least 10 years (40 credits), are 65 years or older, and are a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. If an individual is eligible for Medicare Part A, then the individual and the individual's spouse is automatically eligible for Medicare Parts B, C and D.
An individual pays no monthly premium for Medicare Part A, assuming the individual has at least 10 years-worth (40 credits) of Medicare-covered employment. Since all federal employees have been paying the Part A payroll tax since Jan. 1, 1983, all federal employees will be eligible to enroll in Part A when they are age 65 and there will be no monthly premium cost. Annuitants age 65 and employees who are working past age 65 are strongly encouraged to enroll in Part A within a few months of their 65th birthday. In so doing, this may help cover some of the hospital-related costs that a FEHB plan may not cover, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and charges that exceed the plan's allowable charges.
Any federal annuitant 65 and older enrolled in a fee-for-service (FFS) plan such as Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), GEHA, or Mail Handlers should seriously consider enrolling in Medicare Part B. Medicare Part B enrollment and one's FFS plan may combine to provide almost complete coverage for all medical expenses. In other words, between the FEHB plan and Part B, an annuitant would have minimum - probably no - out-of-pocket expenses to pay, including no deductibles, copayments or coinsurance.
Those annuitants who are enrolled in an HMO may not need to enroll in Part B. HMOs provide most medical services with usual small copayments. But some annuitants enrolled in HMOs may want to consider enrolling in Part B as Part B pays for costs involved with seeing doctors outside the HMO network. Part B also pays for costs for non-emergency care in the US if traveling is involved.
The employees with FEHB coverage and who work past age 65 do not have to enroll in Part B when they become age 65. As long as they continue to work in federal service, their FEHB coverage will be primary for medical services such as doctor visits and laboratory services, and they can use their health care flexible spending account (HCFSA) to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses. These individuals will have a special enrollment period (see below under "Medicare Parts A and B Enrollment Periods" #3) when they retire or when their spouse retires to enroll in Part B without paying a penalty.
Unlike Medicare Part A which is free for most enrollees, there is a monthly premium for Medicare Part B. Most individuals will pay the standard monthly premium, but some individuals will pay a higher premium based on their modified adjusted gross income (MAGI).
Medicare Part B Premiums/Deductibles Medicare Part B covers physician services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and certain other medical and health services not covered by Medicare Part A.
The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees is $135.50 during 2019, an increase of $1.50 from $134 during 2018. An estimated 2 million Medicare beneficiaries will pay less than the full Part B standard monthly premium amount in 2019 due to the statutory "hold harmless provision", which limits certain beneficiaries' increase in their Part B premium to be no greater than the increase in their Social Security benefits. The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $185 in 2019, an increase of $2 from the annual deductible $183 in 2018.
Since 2007, a beneficiary's Part B monthly premium is based on his or her MAGI. These income-related monthly adjustment amounts (IRMAA) affect roughly 5 percent of people with Medicare Part B.
Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage) Generally, it will almost always be to a federal employee's advantage to keep their FEHB coverage in retirement without any changes. The exception is for those with limited incomes and resources who may qualify for Medicare's extra help with prescription drug costs. Prior to retiring, federal employees should contact the benefits administrator or their FEHB insurer for information about their FEHB prescription coverage before making any changes.
It is important to note that FEHB prescription drug coverage is an integral part of a federal employee's total health benefits package. An employee cannot suspend or cancel FEHB prescription drug coverage without losing the FEHB plan coverage in its entirety (in other words, losing coverage) for hospital and medical services which could mean significantly higher costs for those services.
Since all FEHB Program plans have as good or better prescription drug coverage than Medicare, FEHB plans are considered to offer "creditable" prescription drug coverage. Therefore, if a federal employee decides not to join a Medicare drug plan when first eligible but changes his or her mind later and while still enrolled in a FEHB plan, the individual can do so without paying a late enrollment penalty. As long as the individual has FEHB coverage, they may enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan from during the Medicare Part D "open season" (October 15 to December 7 of each year) at the regular monthly premium rate. However, if the individual loses FEHB coverage and wants to join a Medicare prescription drug program, they must join within 60 days of losing their FEHB coverage and the monthly Part D premium will include a late enrollment penalty. The late enrollment penalty will increase each year that one waits to enroll and will be included in the premium each year for as long as coverage is maintained.
When Should a Federal Retiree or Annuitant Enroll in Medicare Parts A and B?
Individuals already receiving monthly Social Security retirement benefits are automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B in the month they become age 65. Individuals who are within a few months of their 65th birthday and not receiving monthly Social Security retirement benefits must apply for Medicare Parts A and B by contacting the Social Security Administration. They may do so by either calling 1-800-772-1213 or going online at https://www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly.
Medicare Parts A and B Enrollment Periods
An individual can enroll during one of the following periods:
Three months before, the month, or three months after the month the individual becomes age 65.
Between Jan. 1 and March 31 of each year - with coverage becoming effective the following July 1.
Within eight months of losing health insurance coverage provided by an employer or union or retiring from an employer providing health insurance in retirement such as the federal government through the FEHB program.
The following examples illustrate:
Example 1 Larry retired from federal service on Jan. 3, 2019 and will become age 65 in July 2019. Larry is enrolled in FEHB and will be throughout his retirement. Larry needs to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B between April 1, 2019 and Oct. 31, 2019 in order to avoid paying a late enrollment penalty for Part B.
Example 2 Fran, age 66, is a federal employee and intends to retire from federal service on Dec. 31, 2019 at the age of 67. When Fran became age 65 in 2017, she enrolled in Medicare Part A but did not enroll in Part B. This is because she continued to work in federal service and is enrolled in a FEHB plan. When Fran retires on Dec. 31, 2019, she must enroll in Medicare Part B between Jan. 1, 2020 and Aug. 31, 2020. She will do so in person at a local Social Security office, bringing with her two items as proof that she continued to work past age 65 and had health insurance through her employer. She needs to bring her last statement of earnings and leave, and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Form CMS-L564 (Request for Employment Information). This form is downloadable from https://www.cms.gov and is completed by Fran's Personnel Office.
Is There a Late Enrollment Penalty?
If an individual did not sign up for Part B when he or she was first eligible, then the Part B monthly premium may be higher. In particular, the cost of Part B may go up 10 percent for each 12-month period that an individual could have been enrolled in Part B but did not sign up for it. The individual will have to pay this extra monthly premium as long as the individual has Part B, except in special cases. For those individuals who miss the deadline to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B when they are first eligible, Medicare has an "open season" enrollment for Parts A and B each year between January 1 and March 31 with coverage becoming effective the following July 1. But a late enrollment penalty for Part B (not for Part A) will apply equal to 10 percent per year of the first tier Part B monthly premium amount in effect that year ($135.50 per month during 2019). The penalty period is measured from the last month the individual could have enrolled in Medicare and July 1 of the year Medicare Part B becomes effective.
Which is "Primary" Coverage - Medicare or FEHB?
A FEHB plan must pay first when an individual is an active federal employee or rehired annuitant. When an individual is an annuitant and is enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and in a FEHB plan, then Medicare is primary coverage and the FEHB is secondary coverage or Medicare supplement.
FEHB premiums will not be reduced when an employee or annuitant enrolls in Medicare. Annuitants pay the same FEHB premium for the same FEHB plan as active employees. However, once Medicare becomes the primary payer of an individual's healthcare related expense, the individual may find that a lower cost FEHB plan is adequate for their needs, especially if the individual is currently enrolled in a FEHB plan's high option coverage. Also, some FEHB plans waive deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments when Medicare is primary.
Since enrolling in Medicare is considered a "life event", an annuitant or employee can change his or her FEHB plan to any available plan or option at any time beginning 30 days before becoming eligible for Medicare and ending 30 days after the day the individual becomes eligible for Medicare. Changes to one's FEHB plan can also be made during the annual FEHB open season.
TriCare Health Insurance Coverage and Medicare
Those federal employees who are receiving, or who will be receiving, military retirement pay (for active duty or for reserve duty) are or will be eligible for TriCare health insurance coverage. There are different types of TriCare health insurance, including TriCare Standard and TriCare Prime. But at age 65, a military retiree receiving retirement pay is eligible to enroll in TriCare-for-Life health insurance. There is no monthly premium cost for TriCare-for-Life provided the military retiree (and spouse, if applicable) is enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. This is because when a military retiree becomes age 65, Medicare is considered primary coverage and TriCare is considered secondary coverage.
7. Contact information for the Human Resources Center in Charleston, SC
Human Resources Services Center in Charleston (HRSC)
First point of contact for retirement-related questions
Receives and processes forms from annuitants for FEHB, FEGLI, and beneficiary changes
Quickly answers basic questions (typically 2/3 of those received)
Forwards complex questions to HR/RET retirement counselors for their response
1-866-300-7419 (Toll free)
1-843-308-5539 (Outside U.S.)
HRSC@state.gov (E-mail address )
Telephone number for questions to the Consolidated American Payroll Division (for 1099R, etc.)
1-800-521-2553 (Toll free)
1-843-308-5626 (Local telephone number)
PayHelp@State.gov (E-mail address)
Director of HRSC is: Jeff Mounts - 1-843-308-5301 (Only as a last resort)
Office of Retirement (HR/RET)
U.S. Department of State HR Service Center
1999 Dyess Ave, Building E
Charleston, SC 29405
8. Retirement Services: Who Does What?
Retirement Services: Who Does What?
° View comprehensive retirement info on EBIS (State intranet) and at RNet.state.gov
° Attend Foreign Service Institute (FSI/TC/CTC) retirement planning seminars: RV 105 Mid-Career Retirement Planning Seminar,
RV 101 Retirement Planning Seminar within 10 years of retirement, and RV 102 Job Search Program immediately before retirement
° Generate a personalized estimate of your retirement benefits via EBIS
° Generate estimate of post-retirement TSP withdrawals via the TSP website
° Obtain retirement credit for prior service using "HR Link" module on EBIS
° Review your e-OPF to view retirement-related records to ensure they are complete
° Review survivor beneficiary designations on e-OPF and update if needed
° Submit retirement application via EBIS at least 90 days prior to retirement date
° Order your career achievement (retirement) awards via EBIS
° Update your EP+ profile on HR Online if you may be interested in WAE employment
Human Resource Services Center in Charleston (HRSC)
° First point of contact for retirement-related questions
° Receives and processes forms from annuitants for FEHB, FEGLI, and beneficiary changes
° Quickly answers basic questions (typically 2/3 of those received)
° Forwards complex questions to HR/RET retirement counselors for their response
1 (866) 300-7419 (Toll free) U.S. Department of State
1 (843) 308-5539 (Outside U.S.) HR Service Center
1 (843) 202-3807 (Fax) 1269 Holland Street
Office of Retirement (HR/RET)
° Calculates and adjudicates Foreign Service retirements
° Does initial processing of State Department Civil Service retirements
° Processes applications for prior service credit
° Determines former spouse benefits and survivor entitlements (Foreign Service)
° Manages post-retirement benefits adjustments (Foreign Service)
° Interprets retirement law and regulations
° Counsels retiring employees and their spouses on retirement issues when requested
° Answers complex retirement-related questions from employees and annuitants
1 (202) 261-8960 (Phone) Office of Retirement
1 (202) 261-8988 (Fax) 2401 E Street NW, Room H-620
Web site: RNet.state.gov
Retirement Accounts Division (CGFS/C/APP/RAD)
° Delay or non-receipt of annuity check
° Address, bank, withholding changes
° Provides verification of annuity for Foreign Service retirees
° 1099R - Tax report Foreign Service annuity
° Annuity Cost of Living Adjustments
° Monitoring WAE salary/annuity cap
° Refund of excess-35 year contributions
1 (843) 746-0538 (Phone) Global Financial Services-RAD
1 (800) 521-2553 (Toll free) 1969 Dyess Avenue, Building 646B
1 (843) 308-5494 (Fax) P.O. Box 150008
Payroll Office (CGFS/C/APPO)
° Issuance of final salary/annual leave
° Lump-sum payment
° Sends notification of retirement to TSP
° W-2, Annual Tax Report/Salary
1 (843) 746-0538 (Phone) Consolidated American Payroll Division
1 (877) 865-0760 (Toll free) Charleston, SC
1 (301)985-8584 (Fax)
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
° Information on Thrift Savings Plan
° Processing of applications for TSP withdrawals
1 (877) 968-3778 (Toll free) National Finance Center
1 (404) 233-4400 (Outside U.S.) P.O. Box 385021
www.tsp.gov(Website) Birmingham, AL 35238
° 1 (800) 633-4227
Web site: www.Medicare.gov
Social Security Administration
° Information on Social Security benefits
° Adjudication of application for Social Security benefits
1 (800) 772-1213 (Phone)
Web Site www.SSA.gov
Internal Revenue Service
° Information on taxation of retirement benefits (IRS Publication #721)
Web site: www.IRS.gov
The snail-mail address for the people who handle the 1099R in Charleston is:
U.S. Department of State
Foreign Service Annuity Roll
Post Office Box 150008
Charleston, SC 29405-0008