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WellNYS Everyday

Retirement Planning Tip

October 2016 - If I go outside the United States, will I still receive my Social Security check?

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Work-Life Services Brochure

Work–Life Services (WLS) are five negotiated benefits programs for Executive Branch employees resulting from a collaboration between NYS and the public employee unions. These programs are designed to increase employee productivity and morale by improving the quality of work and life for employees and include: Employee Assistance Program, Worksite Child Care Centers, Flex Spending Account, NYS–Ride, and Pre–Retirement Planning.

To view or print the Work-Life Services Brochure click here.

The Employer Contribution is Now Available for the 2017 Plan Year

The Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAAccount) Employer Contribution will be available for the 2017 plan year. Executive Branch state agency employees who are M/C or represented by CSEA, PEF, UUP, Council 82, DC-37, GSEU, NYSCOPBA, or are employed by the Legislature are eligible for the DCAAccount Employer Contribution. Employees of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, ERDA, and EFC are also eligible for the Employer Contribution. To take advantage of the Employer Contribution, for the 2017 plan year, employees must enroll in the DCAAccount by the close of open enrollment. Open enrollment ends at midnight Monday November 7, 2016. Visit for complete details and Employer Contribution Rates.

Enroll in the 2017 Plan Year by November 7, 2016

The 2017 open enrollment period for the Flex Spending Account is October 3 through midnight on November 7, 2016. You can save money by enrolling in the Health Care Spending Account, the Dependent Care Advantage Account, or both. For additional program information and to enroll, visit or call Fringe Benefits Customer Service at 800-358-7202 (option 1). Representatives are available from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. Make sure you have your most recent pay stub available since you will need your NYS Employee ID Number (NYS EMPL ID), Department ID, and Negotiating Unit code to apply.

EAP: Domestic Violence Awareness

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence occurs when one person attempts to maintain power and control over another person in an intimate relationship. Most people think of physical abuse when they think of domestic violence, but it can be sexual, psychological, or economic abuse as well.

Every county in New York State has at least one agency designated to provide services for individuals, and their children, affected by domestic violence. These programs offer emergency 24-hour hotlines, information and referrals, education, support groups, advocacy and accompaniment.

For resources in your community, you can contact The New York State Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906 in English and español or other languages or using 711 if you have a hearing impairment. Local domestic violence programs in your area.

New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD for the hearing impaired) to find the program nearest you.

For additional information or assessment and referral services for domestic violence, contact your NYS agency EAP coordinator Coordinator List.

WellNYS Everyday

The NYS Work-Life Services Employee Assistance Program recently launched a wellness initiative called WellNYS Everyday. The initiative is dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering New York State employees and their families by encouraging participation in healthy behaviors, particularly the Monthly Challenges.

Retirement Planning Resources Workshops

The Retirement Planning Resources Workshop is a free, one-hour training, available to state agencies for their employees, regardless of years of state service. The training will not cover specific retirement information, and is not a substitute for the full-day DIRECTIONS seminars. Instead, the goal of this training program is to educate executive branch employees about the resources available so they can begin planning their retirement.

If you would like to schedule this one-hour training, you may contact Beth Brumaghim, Seminar Program Manager, at or 518.473.4018.

Where My Assets Are

One big problem for survivors when death has occurred, is simply finding all the property and valuable papers of the deceased. You can do your heirs and executor a real favor by filling out the Where My Assets Are form and giving copies to your loved ones, executor, lawyer, and anyone else who will need this information. You should review and update this information periodically. The form can be found on the Work-Life Services website in the Self Help Guide for Pre-Retirement Planning, chapter 7, Legal Affairs, on page 13.

Employee Contribution for PEF Represented Employees

As a result of the ratification of the one year contract, PEF represented employees who are currently enrolled in the Dependent Care Advantage Account will have the Employer Contribution automatically applied to their account for the 2016 plan year.

PEF represented employees who enroll in the Dependent Care Advantage Account with an eligible Change In Status (CIS) event will now be eligible for the Employer Contribution for the remainder of the 2016 plan year.

Click here to read the letter to PEF enrollees

New York's 529 College Savings Program

Whether you're a parent, grandparent, or someone with a special child in your life, New York's 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan can make saving for your child's future easier.

Flexible use of savings

  • Save for a child, grandchild, friend, or even yourself
  • Use at an eligible 2 or 4-year college, vocational/technical school, or graduate school anywhere in the U.S. or abroad
  • Use for tuition, certain room-and-board expenses, books, supplies, etc. Tax benefits
  • Earnings grow federally tax deferred
  • Qualified withdrawals are federally tax-free
  • You can contribute up to $70,000 in a single year ($140,000 for a married couple filing jointly) for each beneficiary without incurring federal gift tax as long as you don't make any other gifts to that child for five years.

Additional tax benefits for New York taxpayers

  • New York taxpayers can deduct up to $5,000 ($10,000 for a married couple filing jointly) in contributions to the Direct Plan on their state income tax return each year.

Easy to get started

  • Open an account with just $25 ($15 if contributing through payroll deduction)

For more information


NYS-Ride allows eligible state employees to pay up to $255 per month for certain work-related transportation expenses on a pre-tax basis. More than 8,000 participants who use public transportation to get to work currently enjoy the saving this program provides, while contributing to a greener environment by reducing carbon emissions, greenhouse gasses, and dependence on foreign oil.

The NYS-Ride website provides employees with quick and easy access to all the information they would need to learn about the program, calculate their savings and impact on the environment, enroll in NYS-Ride, make changes to their elections, or view their accounts. Please visit the website at

Retirement Planning Videos

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A series of short videos — the Planning Your Successful Retirement Video Guide — highlighting key information from the popular DIRECTIONS: Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars is now available. Designed for executive branch employees, the 23 videos were created in partnership with the Office of the State Comptroller, the Department of Civil Service, the NYS Deferred Compensation Plan, and the Social Security Administration. Employees can view the videos along with other pre-retirement planning information on this Work-Life Services website and also on YouTube at

2016 Flex Spending Account Changes in Status and New Employees

The FSA 2016 open enrollment period ended on November 24, 2015. Employees who experience a valid change in status on or after November 25, 2015 or during the 2016 plan year, may be eligible to enroll by submitting a Change in Status application. Visit to review the 2016 Change in Status information to determine if your situation qualifies you to enroll during the plan year.

Welcome to the Family Packet

Work-Life Services introduces the "Welcome to the Family Packet". Parenting is an exciting and challenging experience. Today's parents often face unique circumstances balancing their work and family responsibilities. As a New York State Executive Branch employee parent, you are entitled to several negotiated benefits designed to assist you with balancing work and life. The "Welcome to the Family Packet" will outline these benefits programs as well as provide educational child care and parenting brochures. We invite you to request a "Welcome to the Family Packet" if you are expecting or recently added to your family through the birth or adoption of a child. Email your request along with your name and home address to:

"Parenthood, it's not a job. It's an adventure" – author unknown

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