Legislation increases social security withholdings
American Forces Press Service
The legislation that President Barack Obama signed Jan. 2 that postponed the fiscal cliff means changes to military and civilian paychecks, Defense Finance and Accounting Service officials said Friday.
The legislation increases Social Security withholding taxes to 6.2 percent. For the past two years during the “tax holiday” the rate was 4.2 percent.
The increase in Social Security withholding taxes affects military and civilian paychecks, officials said.
For civilian employees, officials said, this will mean a 2 percent reduction in net pay.
For military personnel, changes to net pay are affected by a variety of additional factors such as increases in basic allowances for housing, subsistence, longevity basic pay raises and promotions. Service members could see an increase in net pay, no change or a decrease, military personnel and readiness officials said.
For military members, Social Security withholding is located on their leave and earnings statement in the blocks marked “FICA taxes”—for Federal Insurance Contributions Act.
Department of Defense civilians will see the change on their leave and earnings statement under “OASDI”—for old age, survivors and disability insurance.
Reserve component members will be the first to see potential changes in their net pay as a result of the law, DFAS officials said. Changes will be reflected in their January paychecks.
Active duty military personnel will see pay adjustments in their January mid-month paycheck and will be reflected on the January leave and earnings statement.
DoD civilians will see social security withholding changes reflected in paychecks based on the pay period ending Dec. 29, for pay dates beginning in January.
DFAS stresses that all personnel should review pay statements carefully.
Defense employer freedom award nominations due Jan. 21
From the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve News Release
Reserve-component service members have until Jan. 21 to nominate their employers for a 2013 Secretary of
Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency, manages the program, which recognizes employers who go beyond what the law requires in supporting the National Guardsmen and reservists who work for them in their civilian lives.
The Freedom Award is the nation’s highest recognition for employers who support Guard and Reserve members, and employers of every size and industry are eligible to receive the honor.
Guard and Reserve members, or a Family member acting on their behalf, may nominate their employers at http://www.FreedomAward.mil.
“With today’s evolving missions of the reserve component, as we adapt to the current national security policy, America’s employers continue to provide steadfast support to the more than 1 million men and women serving in the National Guard and Reserve at home and abroad,” said James Rebholz, ESGR’s national chairman. “The Freedom Award is your opportunity to honor your employer for their critical support.”
Any civilian employer who has not previously received the award is eligible, and service members who previously nominated their employers may do so again, officials said.
The Defense Department will recognize nominees, semifinalists and finalists. The 2013 recipients will be announced in early summer and honored in Washington, D.C., during a ceremony in the fall.
Past recipients have met with the president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ESGR officials noted.
DoD extends LQA for overseas employees
American Forces Press Service
The Defense Department is extending housing allowances by one year for DoD civilians employed overseas by the U.S. European Command who were mistakenly granted the benefit, a Pentagon official said Tuesday.
Seth Shulman, director of compensation for civilian personnel policy, told reporters the issue resulted from a misinterpretation at Eucom of Department of State Standardized Regulations, which govern allowances and benefits available to U.S. government civilians assigned to foreign areas.
According to the regulations, a living quarters allowance can't be paid to an individual who is hired overseas after working for more than one employer. At Eucom, Shulman said, such employees were receiving living-quarters allowances, called LQAs.
"We're very sensitive to the fact that employees who have been erroneously receiving LQA through no fault of their own have made life choices based on (its) continued payment," Shulman said. "So we're going to do everything we can to help them work through this."