New online benefit courses offered to civilian employees

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS -- Three new on-line courses for federal civilian employees offer training in the benefit-related areas of retirement, financial planning and new employee orientation. The training, available Sept. 12 on the automated Employee Benefits Information System web program, applies to Air Force-serviced civilian employees at all stages of their careers.

"Currently, EBIS offers civilian employees the ability to make benefit elections, such as health insurance, life insurance, Thrift Savings Plan, obtain a benefits summary, and run a variety of retirement estimates, all self-service from their home or office," said Linda Hundley, technical support section chief for the Air Force Personnel Center's civilian operations branch. "By adding the Benefit eSeminars to EBIS, it just further enhances employee self-service," Ms. Hundley added.

The new on-line training includes the following courses: Planning for your Retirement, Financial Planning and New Employee Benefits Orientation.

Planning for Your Retirement gives employees a detailed understanding of the benefits civilians are entitled to under the civil service and the federal employee retirement systems. As well, the training helps civilian employees understand benefits related to the federal benefit programs of Social Security, Medicare, TSP, the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, Long Term Care insurance, the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance program and the Flexible Spending Account program.

The Financial Planning course assists civilian employees with proper management of finances to enable them to meet life goals now, in the future and for retirement. The training focuses on the topics of insurance, taxes, investment options, investment planning and estate planning.

The third new course, New Employee Benefits Orientation, provides new civilian employees with an understanding of each federal benefit program, how each program works, and how to receive the maximum benefit from them.

"There is an obvious need for civilian financial education and pre-retirement seminars. There are currently 106,618 Federal Employees Retirement System employees and of those that are eligible to receive matching agency contributions, 28,423, 27 percent, are not contributing or contributing less than 5 percent to the Thrift Savings Plan," said Ms. Hundley. "Since TSP makes up one-third of a FERS employees retirement income, this figure is astounding," she added.

The training also meets the regulatory requirements for required retirement, financial planning and benefits counseling, as well as supporting the Personnel Service Delivery goal of more efficient and effective delivery of services to civilian employees.

To take the eSeminars, civilian employees need access to EBIS via the Air Force Portal or the Air Force Personnel Center "Ask" web site's secure link. Once logged into EBIS, click on the eSeminars icon at the top of the screen to see the list of courses available.

Employees with questions about the eSeminars or EBIS can also contact the 24-hour Air Force Contact Center at 1-800-616-3775.