New Allotment Rule Protects Troops From Lending Scams

DODcBy Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed a policy change in new paycheck allotments to prevent unscrupulous commercial lenders from taking advantage of troops and their families, Pentagon officials said today.

According to a Defense Department news release published today, effective Jan. 1, 2015, the change in DoD’s Financial Management Regulation will prohibit service members from allotting pay to buy, lease or rent personal property, a senior DoD official said.

Improving Protection for Service Members

According to the release, this policy change will eliminate that aspect of the allotment system most prone to abuse by unscrupulous lenders that prey on service members.

This will significantly improve protections for all service members and their families, while not significantly reducing the flexibility to use allotments for a number of legitimate purposes, the release reported.

New Allotment Changes

DoD officials said that while existing allotments are not affected, service members will no longer be able to make allotments for the following types of purchases: READ MORE on Defense.gov…

 

 

Air Force Respite Care Program Open to EFMP Families

Air Force Respite CareEllsworth AFB Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) families are now able to utilize the Air Force Respite Care program. The program is free to eligible families and offers 12 hours of respite care each month.

To be eligible, families need to be enrolled in EFMP and have a child with severe or moderate special needs. Respite care is also available for the siblings of eligible children.

If you have questions about respite care or anything EFMP, please contact the Ellsworth School Liaison Officer at 385-1381.

Active Duty: Your Roth TSP Contributions May Stop Unless You Act

tspIf you are an active duty member of the Army, Air Force, or Navy making dollar-amount Roth contributions to your TSP account, these deductions will stop on January 31, 2015, unless you act.

How your election requirements will change:

An upcoming change in myPay will require you to designate your Roth contributions as a percentage of your pay, not a dollar amount. If you don’t comply with this change, then the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will not be able to process your Roth contributions. This change affects your Roth contributions only; your traditional contributions are already designated as a percentage of pay.

When the change will take place:

The new requirement will take effect January 1, 2015. You will have 30 days to change your Roth election from a dollar amount to a percentage of your pay. If your new Roth election is not received by January 31, 2015, then DFAS will not be able to process your Roth contributions until you update them.

How to make the change:

Log into myPay. You’ll see a special TSP section called “Traditional TSP and Roth TSP”—click there. Then, in the “Contribution from Roth TSP” section, you can enter the percentage of your pay that you’d like to contribute (10%, for example). Finally, click “Save” at the bottom of the screen.

The other way you can make the change is to submit the paper election form, TSP-U-1, available on www.tsp.gov to your finance office.

Source: http://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/tspformilitary/tspac.html

Trees for Troops 2014

TreesforTroops2014_400It’s that time of year again for Trees for Troops! You can pick up your FREE tree from Outdoor Recreation starting Friday, December 5th. First come, first served!

If you are a spouse of a deployed servicemember, you have first pick from 2:00 to 3:00 PM on December 5th.

For more information, please call Outdoor Recreation at 385-2997.

U.S. Postal Service Recommended Mailing Dates for Overseas Military

To ensure timely delivery of holiday wishes by Dec. 25, send cards and packages to military APO/FPO/ DPO addresses overseas no later than the mailing dates listed below.

2014_MailingDeadlinesAddressing the Package

1. Write out the service member’s full name in the address.

2. Include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit ZIP Code (if one is assigned). For example:

CPT JOHN DOE
UNIT 2050 BOX 4190
APO AP 96278-2050

SGT ROBERT SMITH
PSC 802 BOX 74
APO AE 09499-0074

SEAMAN JOSEPH SMITH
USCGC HAMILTON
FPO AP 96667-3931

MSG JANE DOE
CMR 1250
APO AA 09045-1000

3. Include a return address.

4. Include the service member’s name and address as well as the sender’s name and address on an index card inside the package in case the label is damaged.

Source: http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2014/pr14_053.htm

Looking for your DD Form 214 after separation/retirement?

DDfm214It used to be that after you retired or separated from the military, your DD Form 214 (which is the key to all your future veteran benefits) used to be mailed to you after your official retirement/separation date at an address you specified on your DD 214 worksheet.

Apparently this process changed back in late 2013, but has only now come to light. We received the following information from myPers – Total Resource Center as of 22 Oct 2014 after we asked for clarification on the process last week.

  1. In an effort to minimize costs and utilize existing technology, as of 1 December 2013, the hard copy DD Form 214 (copies 1 and 4) will no longer be mailed out to members. Since October 2010, separating or retiring individuals could electronically access and print their DD Form 214s. Eliminating the need of mailing paper copies reduces money spent on a redundant process.
  1. During separation and retirement processing, members will receive instructions on how to access, review and print their DD Form 214 as needed. Copies 1 and 4 are housed on the secure server in the vMPF for a period of 60 days past the official retirement/separation effective date.   After the 60 days, members are able to obtain copies from the eBenefits website, http://www.ebenefits.va.gov.
  2. Members with an approved retirement or separation should retrieve a USERID and password allowing access to the AFPC Secure application. This can be done while still on active-duty by using your CAC and either entering the AF Portal using the AFPC Secure link. Once at the site, utilize the “Update/Delete Password” tab to generate a new USERID/password. While on terminal leave, the member will be able to access the worksheet and be able to retrieve their DD Form 214 when completed.
  3. Those who are not able to use their CAC should contact the A1 Service Desk at 1-800-525-0102, (option “8″) or dial DSN 665-5004 and they will provide assistance in obtaining a USERID/password.

Air Force members should refer any questions about your DD Form 214 to AFPC.