FAQ: Benefits

  • Q: What is the Leave Bank?

    A: 

    A Leave Bank is a pooled fund of donated annual and restored leave. Eligible members draw leave from the bank to cover time out the office due to a personal or family medical emergency.

  • Q: How can an employee become a member of the Leave Bank?

    A: 

    An eligible employee can enroll during an enrollment period using the “Leave Bank Membership” tab in ITAS. Existing employees may enroll during the annual fall open enrollment, which runs from mid-November to mid-December. A new employee may enroll within 60 days of his/her enter-on-duty date.  A membership contribution of one pay period’s accrual of annual leave is required.  Visit our membership page for more information.

  • Q: If an employee is unable to make the Leave Bank membership contribution, are they unable to join?

    A: 

    If the applicant doesn't have sufficient leave to make the membership contribution or they're a VLTP or Leave Bank recipient, the membership contribution is automatically waived.

  • Q: When can I enroll and become a member of the Leave Bank?

    A: 

    During the annual open enrollment period, which runs from mid-November through mid-December. The open enrollment period will last for at least 30 calendar days. A new employee may enroll within 60 days of his/her enter-on-duty date.

  • Q: How much leave must I contribute to join the Leave Bank?

    A: 

    The yearly contribution amount will be one pay period’s worth of annual leave based on the employee’s annual leave category. This minimum contribution requirement also applies to part-time employees.

  • Q: Will I need to join the Leave Bank each year to continue my membership?

    A: 

    Once you join the Leave Bank, you will automatically be re-enrolled each year unless you take action in ITAS to opt out during the open enrollment period.

  • Q: What are the eligibility requirements for becoming a Leave Bank recipient?

    A: 

    An applicant must:

    • Be a current Leave Bank member;
    • Experience a qualifying medical emergency, which is projected to result in at least 24 hours of non-pay status; and
    • Complete and submit a Leave Recipient package to the Leave Bank Office no later than 30 calendar days following the termination of the medical emergency.
  • Q: Can an employee apply to be a recipient in both the Leave Bank and the VLTP?

    A: 

    Yes. Since the Leave Bank provides 100% of the medical need up to the yearly hourly caps (480 hours for personal and family medical emergencies), the only time a recipient would need leave under VLTP, in addition to the Leave Bank, is if he/she exceeds the cap.

  • Q: Can I continue health insurance coverage if my spouse dies while employed?

    A: 

    It depends.  The following applies:

    If the employee had a Self and Family enrollment at the date of death and a survivor annuity is payable, the surviving spouse can continue health insurance coverage.

    • The enrollment must be immediate, and there can be no lapse in coverage.
    • The premiums will be deducted from the survivor annuity.

    If the employee had a Self and Family enrollment at the date of death, but no survivor annuity is payable--these survivors are not eligible for Temporary Continuation of Coverage.

    • The enrollment in Temporary Continuation of Coverage will terminate within 30 days.
    • The survivor has the right to convert to an individual policy within 30 days.

    If the employee had a Self Only enrollment at the date of death, the enrollment terminates at death with no right to enroll or convert for the survivor.

  • Q: Must I be enrolled in a Self and Family plan for the five (5) years immediately preceding retirement in order to be eligible to continue Self and Family coverage into retirement?

    A: 

    The five (5) year requirement applies to coverage under the FEHB program.  If you are covered under a Self Only or a Self and Family enrollment for the five (5) years immediately preceding retirement, you are eligible to continue your FEHB coverage into retirement.

  • Q: Does an employee have to recertify their medical certification?

    A: 

    Your leave approving official may require subsequent medical recertification on a periodic basis, but not more than once every 30 calendar days. If your health care provider has specified on the medical certification a minimum duration of the period of incapacity, NIH may not request recertification until that period has passed.

  • Q: How can I get a corrected W-2?

    A: 

    If your W-2 is incorrect, you may submit a Request for Duplicate, Corrected or Prior Year W-2, Wage and Tax Statement Form to the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch located in Building 31, room B3C23.  You must supply a legitimate justification for the correction.  Your request will then be forwarded to HHS for processing. Please make sure that the current address and the address to which the W-2 should be sent is accurate on the form.

  • Q: Where can I obtain a copy of a prior year’s W-2?

    A: 

    You can view and print a prior year’s W-2 in myPay. If you are separated and no longer have access to myPay, you may submit a Request for Duplicate, Corrected or Prior Year W-2, Wage and Tax Statement Form to the Benefits and Payroll Liaison Branch located in Building 31, Room B3C23. You must indicate on the form whether you want a duplicate W-2 from HHS (prior to pay period 10/2005) or DFAS or both. Your request will then be forwarded to HHS for processing. Please make sure that the current address and the address to which the W-2 should be sent is correct on the form.

  • Q: How can I verify if my home address is correct?

    A: 

    You can verify the accuracy of your home address by accessing myPay and selecting “Correspondence Address.”  If your address is incorrect, make the change and select “Save.”

  • Q: Where can I obtain a copy of my W-2?

    A: 

    You can view and print your W-2 in myPay.  A copy will also be mailed to your home address of record.  There is a function in myPay to turn off the mailed copy if you do not desire to receive a mailed copy.  

  • Q: Who can expect a W-2?

    A: 

    You will receive a W-2 if you are a Federal employee employed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

    If you are not a Federal employee employed by NIH (such as an IRTA, Visiting Fellow,  or Special Volunteer) you will receive a 1099, 1099G, or 1042S. These documents must be obtained from the Office of Financial Management (OFM).  

    For 1099s, contact OFM’s Customer Service number at 301-496-6088.

    For 1099G or 1042S, you may call 301-496-5635.

  • Q: I am already enrolled in Basic and Options A and B under FEGLI. Can I elect Option C now?

    A: 

    Yes.  Legally married same-sex spouses and children of legal same-sex marriages are now eligible family members, so you may add coverage for them under Option C.  The Option C coverage can only be elected during an Open Season or if you have a Qualifying Life Event.  

  • Q: May I decrease or cancel my FEGLI coverage?

    A: 

    Yes.  Enrollees may decrease or cancel their coverage at any time.  However, there are only certain instances in which you may enroll.

  • Q: Do I need to exhaust my available paid leave to utilize Leave Bank hours?

    A: 

    Available paid leave must be exhausted prior to use of leave donations through the Leave Bank. Any available paid leave will be deducted from the total amount of leave approved by the Leave Bank Board prior to transfer (remaining balance must be 24 hours or more).

    Includes:

    • Annual leave
    • Sick leave
    • Restored annual leave
    • Holiday hours
    • Voluntary Leave Transfer Program Donations (for the same medical emergency only)

    Does not include:

    • Credit hours
    • Advanced annual leave
    • Advanced sick leave
    • Leave Awards
  • Q: What are the current annual hourly caps for the Leave Bank?

    A: 
    • 480 hours for personal medical emergencies per leave year
    • 480 hours for family medical emergencies per leave year
    • 720 hours for combined medical emergencies per leave year
  • Q: I am a Leave Approving Official, do I have to approve Leave Bank leave?

    A: 

    Only if the employee invokes FMLA.  Visit our LAOs page for more information.

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