Paraeducators: Information regarding payment for FCS completion

While planning the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) the District agreed to pay paraeducators who completed the FCS stipend for completion at the end of August. We have since learned that the district does not receive the FCS state revenue until September 1. Therefore, the district will unfortunately have to pay the stipend 10 days into September on a special payroll cycle. Direct deposits for paraeducators who completed the Fundamental Course of Study will post to bank accounts on September 10 (Employees will not need to wait until the end of September). Our sincerest apologies for this inconvenience.

Opportunity to change some SEBB benefits ends July 31

Stethoscope with heart-shaped center designA reminder that the SEBB Program is offering a limited opportunity to make some changes to your SEBB benefits. (Normally, you would need to have a life event, like a birth or marriage, to make these changes mid-year.)

You have until July 31 to make the changes below.

  • Add an eligible dependent to your SEBB medical coverage. You must submit documents that prove your dependent’s eligibility. Dependents can be added only to medical coverage, not to dental or vision.
  • Enroll in medical coverage if you are currently enrolled only in dental and vision coverage.
  • Increase or decrease your 2020 Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) or Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) election amounts.
  • Enroll in a Medical FSA or DCAP for the rest of the calendar year (if you’re eligible for these benefits).

Changes are effective on August 1, 2020. Use SEBB My Account to enroll in medical coverage or add dependents no later than July 31. If you need help with navigation, SecureAccess Washington (SAW) registration, or document uploads, call 1-855-648-3100 (select option 7) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, through July 31. Note: Because of weekly furloughs of state employees throughout the month of July, wait times may be longer than normal.

To enroll or change your Medical FSA or DCAP election, submit the SEBB COVID-19 Medical FSA & DCAP Change Form to your payroll or benefits office no later than July 31.

For details on this opportunity, visit the SEBB Program’s limited open enrollment webpage.

For questions please email help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu.

Department of Retirement Systems reduces customer service hours in July

Laptop and alarm clock on a white tableThe Washington State Department of Retirement Systems (DRS) will have reduced customer service availability in July due to mandatory furloughs of team members and high seasonal volumes of retirement processing.

  • DRS will be closed on the following dates: July 2, 10, 17 and 24, 2020.
  • DRS will be available for customer service questions via phone calls (1-800-547-6657) and emails on the following Mondays: June 29 and July 6, 13 and 20, 2020.
  • Due to COVID-19, DRS remains closed to in-person customer visits and onsite services.
  • Online services are still available. As always, customers can apply for retirement online.
  • While most DRS team members are now working remotely, we continue to process retirement applications and benefit payments per the usual schedule.
  • DRS has suspended in-person retirement planning workshops scheduled around the state and replaced them with live online webinars covering the same topics.
  • DRS is conducting all job interviews and skills assessments online.
  • DRS continues to monitor and promote health and safety for its team members, who are regularly updated on COVID-19 developments and best practices for slowing the spread of germs.

SEBB offers opportunity in July to change some benefits effective August 1, 2020

Stethoscope with heart-shaped center designSEBB understands that the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed your health care needs. In light of this, from July 1 through July 31, 2020, SEBB employees will have a limited open enrollment opportunity to change some of their SEBB benefits effective August 1, 2020.  These changes can be made through your SEBB account.

The changes that employees can make are the following:

  • Enroll in Medical if they are currently enrolled ONLY in dental and vision
  • Add eligible dependents to their medical coverage
  • Increase or decrease their Medical FSA or DCAP annual elections
  • Enroll in a Medical FSA or DCAP for the rest of the 2020 calendar year (if eligible for these benefits)

If you would like more information about this one-time opportunity, please visit the SEBB Limited Open Enrollment website.

If you have any questions, please send them to help-payroll@osd.wednet.edu.

Payroll Department announces end-of-year due dates

Please be aware of the following end-of-year due dates shared by the Payroll Department:

6/5/2020 – OPA & OEAPA time off requests need to be entered into Skyward and approved by the supervisor for cashouts that happen in June for these groups per their CBA’s.

6/26/2020 – OEA time off requests need to be entered into Skyward and approved by the supervisor for cashouts that happen in July per their CBA.

6/30/2020 – All 2019/20 school year timesheets are due to the payroll office.

7/31/2020 – OEA staff development for the 19/20 school year needs to be entered into Skyward and approved by the supervisors per the CBA.

Learn about Washington State Deferred Compensation Program on May 21 webinars

Person typing on a laptop computer

The Department of Retirement Systems’ Education & Outreach team will provide two live webinars covering the Washington State Deferred Compensation Program (DCP):

DCP essentials – Thursday, May 21, at 9 a.m.

This webinar will feature the fundamentals of DCP.  Content includes:

  • Minimum and maximum deferral amounts
  • Income tax reductions
  • Overview of investment approaches
  • How to make account changes
  • Withdrawal eligibility
  • And more!

DCP distributions – Thursday, May 21, at 12 p.m.

This webinar will dive deeper into distributions from DCP and answer the following questions:

  • When can I take distributions from my DCP account?
  • What are my withdrawal options?
  • Can I leave my money in DCP?
  • Can I complete a rollover or use my balance to purchase an annuity?
  • And more!

Please select the link of the webinar you would like to attend.  It is recommended to join the webinar about 10-15 minutes prior to the start to test your connection and sound.  It is also recommended participants review how to join a DRS Webinar for tips on accessing the webinar, audio, and sending questions. Please note that the audio comes through your computer, so you will need speakers or a headset.

If you are unable to attend either webinar,  you are invited to watch the DCP online video at your convenience.

CARES Act Guidance from Washington State Health Authority

The Washington State Health Care Authority School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) has asked us to share the following information about the CARES Act with employees:

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed on March 27, 2020. This federal law expands how employees can use their Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) funds.

Here’s an overview of what changed:

  • The CARES Act removes the requirement that you must have a prescription for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in order to use Medical FSA or HSA funds for these expenses. OTC drugs include cold medicines, anti-inflammatories and other products. This change is retroactive to January 1, 2020 and has no expiration date. Keep in mind that the IRS stockpiling rule is still in effect. If you buy more than three identical products in one transaction, you will not be reimbursed.
  • You can now buy menstrual care products using your Medical FSA funds. This includes pads, tampons, cups, and other similar products. This change is retroactive to January 1, 2020 and has no expiration date.
  • If you’re enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), including consumer-directed health plans (CDHP), the deductible and coinsurance are waived for COVID-19 testing and treatment for telehealth services. Contact your plan for more information about your benefits. This provision began on March 27, 2020 and expires December 31, 2021.

For more information about the CARES Act, visit the following webpages:

Navia Benefit Solutions posted CARES Act FAQs.
HealthEquity created a member hub about the CARES Act for employees.

Employee wellness resources

White ceramic teacup sits on railing with mountains and lake in the distanceAt this time, maybe more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to have resources to help stay safe, well and connected.

SEBB SmartHealth

SmartHealth is a voluntary, easy-to-use, and secure online (website and app) employee wellness platform. All SEBB members have access to this free resource, even if you waived SEBB medical coverage.

Sign in to join activities to help reduce stress, connect with others, improve your overall well-being, and build resiliency during this challenging time. You may also qualify for a $125 wellness incentive. Learn more about SmartHealth for details.

Employee Assistance Program

Personal issues, planning for life events or simply managing daily life can affect an employee’s work, health and family.

First Choice Health provides 24/7 support, resources and information for personal and work-life issues. Services include support for anxiety and depression, couples/relationship/parenting, crisis support, alcohol/drug problems, grief and loss, domestic violence, and more.

Learn more by viewing the Employee Assistance Program flyer.

OSD Community Resources Webpage

Community agencies are available to assist youth and families who need help navigating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A compilation of resources and information, including a list of local and national emergency hotlines, and links to resources such as how to cope with anxiety and how to talk with children about the pandemic, are posted on the district website.

SEBB clarifies recent mailing to employees

Last week, the Washington State Health Care Authority School Employees Benefit Board (SEBB) began mailing the SEBB Initial Notice of COBRA and Continuation Coverage Rights booklet to employees.

SEBB notified the district to share with employees that receiving the booklet does not mean that an employee’s coverage has ended. They wrote, “The notice is only to inform newly enrolled employees of their options if their coverage ends in the future. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused your employees given the current school closures due to COVID-19.”

This 13-page booklet, which explains employees’ available options for SEBB Continuation Coverage, must be sent by March 30 to all employees enrolled in SEBB coverage as of January 1, 2020 in accordance with federal requirements.

When an employee’s SEBB coverage ends, the agency will send the SEBB Continuation Coverage Election Notice booklet, which explains how employees and their eligible dependents can continue coverage under the SEBB Program.

Department of Retirement Systems announces March webinars

Person typing on a laptop computer

The Department of Retirement Systems’ (DRS) Education & Outreach team invites you to visit their DRS webinars webpage to sign up for the following webinars in March 2020:

  • DCP Distributions
  • Plan Choice
  • Plan 2: PERS, SERS, TRS
  • Plan 3: PERS, SERS, TRS
  • Purchasing an Additional Benefit (Annuity)
  • Early Retirement PERS, SERS, TRS
  • Getting Ready for Retirement
  • Applying for Retirement (tutorial of the online application)
  • Beneficiary Options at Retirement
  • Returning to Work After Retirement (PERS SERS TRS)

For date, time and link to join, please select the webinar you would like to attend. We recommend that you join the webinar 10-15 minutes in advance to test connection and sound. Please review How to Join a DRS Webinar for tips on accessing the webinar, audio and sending questions. If you encounter technical problems when joining a webinar, please call (360) 664-7930 for assistance.

Unable to attend a webinar? While the webinars are not recorded, many of the topics are available in video format by scrolling the video page of the DRS website.