From NSA Bethesda Public Affairs
Starting with the civilian pay period ending September 12, and with military mid-month pay, DFAS will defer withholding of the 6.2% Social Security tax for all employees making less than $104,000 annually.
Civilian and military employees impacted by this action will see a small bump in their pay. The money, intended to serve as a loan to help with COVID-19 financial hardships, is a federal tax deferment, meaning it must be repaid and will be owed in 2021.
Federal employees may not opt out of this deferment plan.
The deferment will be added to all paychecks through the remainder of 2020. The total amount deferred in 2020 will be evenly split over several months as an amount owed and collected automatically from paychecks starting in January and ending in April of 2021.
To adjust for this deferment, employees may place the deferred "extra" amount from each 2020 paycheck into a savings account so the “missing” difference from each paycheck in 2021 will be available for bills and other financial requirements.
For any service member and eligible civilian employee working on Naval Support Activity Bethesda, help with planning for financial difficulties is available through the Military and Family Support Center.
Anna Rhodes, the MFSC Work and Family Life supervisor, says anyone who feels like their finances are tight should consider seeking assistance from MFSC’s Personal Financial Management Specialists.
“I recommend they come meet with Personal Financial Management to work on a budget and figure out where all of their money is going,” she says, “so they know where they’re spending the most money and how they can cut down on some of those expenses.”
While the PFM specialists can teach people how to budget, she adds, the benefit of their presence is the ability to help each customer address their own unique circumstances.
“They will work with you one-on-one. If you bring in your financial documents and LES, they will sit down and go over a budget specific for you.”
Rhodes emphasizes all appointments are privileged. Anyone seeking help from the PFMs needn’t worry about personal information being disclosed to their supervisor or chain of command.
Additionally, in response to the requirements for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic response, MFSC staff adjusted their services, adding online options for meeting with customers. The result, explains Rhodes, is that PFMs can provide services remotely.
“We can do appointments by phone or video conferencing software,” she says.
Aside from COVID-19 budget planning, Rhodes as a former military spouse herself, recommends that personnel who are coming to NSA Bethesda on new orders consider making an appointment before or right after they arrive.
“Because we are in a high BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) area, but we are also in a high cost-of-living area, a lot of times people coming from an area that’s not as high in BAH think ‘I have this extra money’ so they end up spending more money because they aren’t living within their means,” she says, adding the same can be true for service members who are about to move out of the barracks.
“Talking about how they're going to be able to afford rent is really beneficial.”
To make an appointment with one of the PFMs at NSA Bethesda, call the MFSC Information Desk at 301-319-4087 (DSN: 312-285-4087).