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Federal Daily - October 23, 2009

OPM Extends Long-Term Care Deadline
DoD Offers Retroactive Stop Loss Pay
FLRA Updates Regulations

OPM Extends Long-Term Care Deadline

The Office of Personnel Management announced on Oct. 22 that it would extend the deadline for the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program special decision period to give current enrollees more time to make changes to their coverage. OPM extended the deadline by a full two months—from Dec. 14 until Feb. 15, 2010. Employee unions have been calling for the move in the wake of a 25 percent rate increase that will affect most enrollees who added the automatic compound inflation option to their FLTCIP plan. At an Oct. 14 hearing held to review the increases, the Senate Aging Committee and the Senate Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce heard from leaders of employee organizations like the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, whose president, Margaret Baptiste, expressed concerns that insufficient outreach and education from OPM and plan administrator Long Term Care Partners had led federal employees and annuitants to believe that the rates would never increase. On Oct. 22, Baptiste welcomed the longer decision period, but noted that “the decisions FLTCIP enrollees will be compelled to make continue to go from bad to worse because they’ll have to give up coverage to steer clear of the rate hike.”  www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=1922.

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DoD Offers Retroactive Stop Loss Pay

DoD on Oct. 21 announced plans to provide retroactive special pay for active, reserve and former servicemembers who had their enlistment extended or retirement suspended due to the military’s stop loss program. Active, reserve and former servicemembers are eligible for the special pay if they served on active duty between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, and had their enlistment extended or retirement suspended. Eligible personnel will receive a payment of $500 per month for each month (or any portion of a month) that a member was retained on active duty due to stop loss, DoD said. Applicants who are no longer in the military are eligible if they were honorably discharged, DoD said. Those “stop-lossed” in Fiscal Year 2009 may only receive payment from one stop loss authority—either the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 or the Supplemental Appropriations Act, but not both, DoD said. Servicemembers can submit claims until Oct. 21, 2010. Family members of deceased servicemembers should contact the appropriate military service for assistance in filing their claim. To see more, go to: www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?

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FLRA Updates Regulations

The Federal Labor Relations Authority on Oct. 19 announced that it issued revised operational regulations which include new rules designed to clarify and streamline the processes for filing and serving documents in FLRA proceedings. The new regulations also should make it easier to get information from FLRA via Freedom of Information Act procedures, the agency said in an announcement on its Web site. Under one change, FLRA now will treat the filing or service of documents by commercial delivery in the same way as filing or service via U.S. Postal Service mail, a change the agency said should eliminate confusion that produced untimely filings. FLRA said the revision also makes it easier to determine the timeliness of filings. To see more on the new regulations, go to: www.flra.gov/webfm_send/150.

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