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Pay and Compensation -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
Are military retirees authorized Cost of Living Adjustments?

Answer:
Military retirees are authorized Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) and they are based on the effective date of the active duty basic pay rate used to compute their retired pay.

Question:
Are TRICARE Prime enrollees eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses if referred to another health care provider?

Answer:
The TRICARE Prime travel entitlement is available to non-active duty TRICARE Prime enrollees and TRICARE Prime Remote family members (when implemented) when they are referred for specialty care more than 100 miles from the Primary Care Manager (PCM) location. Beneficiaries must have a valid referral and travel orders from a TRICARE representative at the military treatment facility (MTF) where they are enrolled or from the regional lead agent's office if their PCM is a TRICARE network provider.

Question:
As a DoD or DA Civilian employee, how do I go about transferring sick leave to my co-worker?

Answer:
The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) permits Federal employees to transfer their unused, accrued annual leave to other employees who have been determined to have a medical or family medical emergency and have been approved as a leave recipient.

Question:
As a DoD or Department of the Army Civilian, how do I acquire annual leave?

Answer:
Annual leave is provided for general time off and vacation, and is accrued at different rates, depending on the years of service.

Question:
As a member of a reserve component, am I entitled to CONUS COLA?

Answer:
By law, a member with a Reserve Component is required to be on active duty 140 days before he/she is entitled to a CONUS Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), unless the call or order to active duty is in support of a contingency operation.

Question:
As a military retiree, while I receive a monthly Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)?

Answer:
Military retirees will not receive a monthly Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), but will receive one LES annually.

Question:
Can my spouse have access to my Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)?

Answer:
You can allow your spouse to have access to your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) by making those arrangements with your Finance NCO or unit POC. For example, during deployments you may be requested to complete a form or authorization letter to this effect. You can also supply your spouse with a Restricted Access Personal Identification Number (RAPIN) which provides view-only access to your LES via MyPay on the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) website.

Question:
Does my military service count toward my Social Security benefits?

Answer:
Yes. Active Duty, Active Duty for training, and Armed Services Reserves all count toward your Social Security benefits.

Question:
How are vacation days determined for full-time and part-time employees (military and civilian)?

Answer:
Military personnel accrue 2.5 days of annual leave (paid vacation) each month of service (or 30 days/year). Up to 60 days of unused leave from one year can be carried over to the following year. However, on the first day of the fiscal year (October 1st), any excess leave above 60 days is forfeited. There are some exceptions to these rules such as the ability to carry over more than 60 days of leave (e.g., up to 90 days) if the service member was unable to take leave due to an assignment in a hazardous duty zone. Accrual of annual leave for Department of the Army (DA) Civilian employees is computed based on total number of years of years of creditable Federal service including active duty military time: < 3 yrs of Federal service = 4 hours per pay period (13 days per year); 3 - 15 years of Federal service = 6 hours per pay period (20 days per year); 15 or more years of Federal service = 8 hours per pay period (26 days per year). Generally, a maximum of 240 hours may be carried over to the next leave year; however, exceptions exist.

Question:
How do I go about negotiating my salary and benefits?

Answer:
Whether you are trying to negotiate with a perspective employer or your current employer about your salary or benefits, make sure you have a good understanding of what people with your qualifications and experience are getting for this type of position. This is not an easy thing to pinpoint, but there are many resources available such as books and employment counselors and job comparison websites. Once you know this, approach your employer with confidence and be prepared to justify your requests for a higher salary or increased benefits by outlining your previous accomplishments (include quantifiable data such as dollars you saved the company or time saved by practices you established) and what it is your employer can expect of you to warrant better entitlements.
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