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As you return from the extended Labor Day weekend, we put together this roll-up of information and updates to help keep you on track as we close out the 2021 fiscal year.
The Senate is in recess until September 13th, and the House is recessed until September 20th. Neither chamber has passed one of the 12 appropriations bills necessary to fund the government. At the same time, lawmakers are trying to pass historic infrastructure legislation, a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, and negotiate the debt ceiling. If this feels familiar, it's because we found ourselves in a similar situation just ten years ago. Our Hill contacts feel very strongly that we should expect a series of continuing resolutions for the rest of the calendar year but, as of this writing, there is no certainty around government funding on October 1st.
Out of the more than two million individuals employed by the Federal Government, it is quite possible that you could have important questions regarding your federal benefits. A limited understanding of FEGLI, your Pension, Survivors Annuity, FEHB, Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan could cost you thousands of dollars during your working career, and even larger amounts of money during your retirement. This webinar will include provide much needed information so you can understand your current situation, what things cost, how those costs change over time, how you are trending towards retirement, and the additional options available to you.
Join PMA's newest partner, American Benefits Exchange, for a one-hour Zoom webinar on Tuesday, September 28th, at 3PM Eastern. This free event is open to everyone - register today!
PMA recommends attending this Zoom webinar using your personal device for the best experience.
If you, any of your colleagues, or anyone on your team were impacted by one of the summer's natural disasters - the fires in the West, Hurricanes Henri and Ida, flooding in Tennessee, only to name a few - you, or they, may be eligible for assistance from PMA's official charity, the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA). Be sure to visit FEEA's disaster page to learn more about what assistance they can provide to Federal workers in need of assistance. If you impacted by Hurricane Ida, OPM approved an Emergency Leave Transfer Program to help.
If you were fortunate enough to not be affected directly but want to help people who are struggling right now, please consider making a gift to FEEA.
If you're interested in doing more to support historically underserved communities badly impacted by these events, here are a few organizations working hard to help their neighbors and could use your support:
El Dorado Community Foundation (California fires)
Placer Food Bank (California fires)
Culture Aid NOLA (New Orleans Hurricane Ida)
Imagine Water Works (New Orleans Hurricane Ida)
Community Food Bank (New Jersey Hurricane Ida)
Community Resource Center (Tennessee flooding)
The pandemic continues apace with nearly 650,000 Americans having died from COVID-19. At this time, masks are required to be worn by effectively all people reporting into an IRS workspace regardless of their vaccination status because 97.3% of all counties in the US are experiencing significant or high community transmission. A mask must cover your nose and mouth.
You need to go into HRConnect by Friday and attest to whether or not you've been vaccinated, or you can choose to decline to share that information. If you decline, you still must do so in HRConnect. If you go into the office at all, you must either be vaccinated or tested at least weekly. If you don't go to the office at all, then you don't need to do anything further at this time. If testing sounds inconvenient, find a location to get vaccinated today. Although work can sometimes feel like a zoo, please refrain from ingesting livestock medication.
PMA wishes all our members celebrating Rosh Hashanah a happy and sweet new year.