Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
Plan early for household moves
For many military and federal government workers, spring signifies not only flowers in bloom and warmer weather, but also a good time to get the jump on peak moving season, which typically runs from May to August.
Mitch Chandran, an Army Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command spokesman, said he encourages military members to request a preferred move date as soon as they get their orders.
Peak moving season, he said, is a moving industry phenomenon in which government moves compete with private-sector moves for the same resources during busy summer months, with peak moves between Memorial Day and July 4.
“The competition [occurs when] transportation service providers try to accommodate government and nongovernment move requests during summer months, [and more] move requests occur within a relatively short amount of time,” Chandran said. “The sooner you start the move process upon receiving orders, the better chance you will have to lock in your preferred move date.”
Each year, SDDC manages about 520,000 booked household-goods moves per year, of which about 225,000 occur during peak moving season.
AF extends Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit transfer phase-in
Some Airmen will be able to transfer all or a portion of their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their family members without incurring a four-year active-duty service commitment thanks to a program phase-in extension implemented this month.
When initially implemented, the Post-9/11 GI Bill education transfer program was phased in to enable Airmen nearing retirement to accept a one-, two-, or three-year active-duty service commitment. In some cases, no additional commitment was required. The phase-in period expired July 31, 2012, but many Airmen were unable to take advantage of the opportunity before the expiration date.
“Air Force leaders want to make sure all eligible Airmen have the opportunity to share this benefit with their families,” said Bruce Houseman, the Air Force Personnel Center education services and benefits chief. “The initial expiration date caught some members by surprise, so the phase-in period has been extended through July 31, 2013.”
Members must apply to transfer their benefits no later than July 31 to qualify under these graduated service obligations, and as in the past, some members who transfer benefits will not incur an associated ADSC, while others will incur between one and four years.
Furlough could affect thrift savings plan contributions
Federal civilian employees could see their Thrift Savings Plan contributions reduced if furloughs take effect.
The Thrift Savings Plan is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees and members of the uniformed services, including the Ready Reserve.
“Employees who have selected their TSP contribution to be a percentage of their pay will see smaller contributions during the furlough period due to their reduced pay,” said Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Defense Department spokeswoman.
For example, an employee who earns $1,000 of basic pay every two-week pay period and contributes 10 percent of it to the TSP would make a $100 TSP contribution during a normal pay period. However, if the employee is furloughed for two days per pay period, his or her basic pay would decrease to $800. As a result, the TSP contribution would be $80 per pay period.
Employees who contribute a set dollar amount won’t see that amount change with a reduction in pay, Hull-Ryde said. For this reason, now is a good time to review TSP contribution amounts to see if they are appropriate, TSP officials said.
Healthy base initiative seeks better lifestyles
Thirteen installations will be assessed for their success in promoting healthy lifestyles for a better total workforce in the Healthy Base Initiative, Defense Department officials recently announced.
As a project of DOD’s Operation Live Well — in which the goal is to increase the health and wellness of the total force — the Healthy Base Initiative will assess the 13 installations to develop a program for service members, their families and civilians to take charge of their health through nutrition and fitness, the officials said.
“The idea is to reach out into the communities [and] link projects that build health and environments where our men and women in the service and their families and civilians can make healthy choices,” Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.