Flexible Spending Accounts 2007 Open Season November 12 Through December 29

The 2007 Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) Open Season is scheduled for November 12, 2007, through December 29, 2007, 5:00 p.m. Central Time (CT). Eligible career employees who elect to participate in the FSA pro­gram must enroll via PostalEASE during this time. Enroll­ments made during this FSA Open Season are effective for the 2008 plan year — January 1 through December 31, 2008 — plus a grace period that extends until March 15, 2009. Enrollment ends sooner for participants who sepa­rate or have extended leave without pay.

FSAs allow employees to set aside a portion of their pre­tax earnings for certain types of out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses. The money withheld for FSAs is not subject to income, Medicare, or Social Security taxes. United Healthcare administers the FSA program for the Postal Service™.

The booklet FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts (November 2007), which is being mailed to all employees, provides an overview of FSAs.

Grace Period Still in Effect

Employees with FSAs — for Health Care, Dependent Care, or both — are able to use any balance remaining in an FSA at the end of the plan year to cover expenses incurred during the 2 1/2 months following that plan year. For the 2007 plan year, the grace period extends until March 15, 2008. For the 2008 plan year, the grace period will extend until March 15, 2009. With the grace period, employees do not have to schedule services or procure items in an end-of-year rush to avoid losing money in the account. Of course, participants have to spend the previ­ous year’s balance by March 15 or forfeit the money under the use-it-or-lose-it rule.

The grace period is available only to FSA participants who are still enrolled on December 31 of the plan year. Most FSA participants remain enrolled through December 31, but an employee who retires before that date (on December 30, for example) is not eligible for the grace period.

The deadline for filing claims has not changed — the FSA Customer Service Center must receive all claims by September 30 of the year after the plan year.

For full details, refer to FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts (November 2007).

Using PostalEASE to Enroll

To enroll in FSA during open season, employees have four options:

1. Go to https://liteblue.usps.gov.

2. Use an employee self-service kiosk.

3. Go to http://blue.usps.gov, click on Employee Self-Service, and then click on PostalEASE.

4. Call the PostalEASE toll-free number at 877-4PS-EASE (877-477-3273).



To publicize FSA Open Season, all offices must post the open season notice on bulletin boards through December 29, 2007. See page 62 in this issue.

Direct Mailings to Employees

Headquarters Compensation is coordinating FSA Open Season mailings to career employees at their mailing addresses of record. Employees receive a leaflet, post­cards, and an enrollment kit consisting of an FSA brochure, a PostalEASE FSA worksheet, and a withdrawal request form. See details under “Open Season Materials, Direct Mailings to Career Employees.”

Undeliverable mailed kits are returned to the employing office of record. When an office receives a returned kit, the office should encourage the employee to update his or her address. Employees with access to Employee Change of Address on the Postal Service Intranet (blue page) or an employee self-service kiosk should use those entry methods.

Employees who cannot use the Intranet or a kiosk should submit an updated PS Form 1216, Employee’s Current Mailing Address, to the Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC). See ordering information under “Open Season Materials, Additional Supplies of Materials.”

Review of Basic FSA Provisions

Eligibility to Participate

Participation in the FSA program is limited to career employees. To enroll, a career employee must have com­pleted at least 26 full pay periods of Postal Service career service during the current appointment by the end of pay period (PP) 26-07 (December 21, 2007). A career employee who is in a leave without pay (LWOP) status that has lasted for eight consecutive full pay periods as of December 21, 2007, is not eligible to participate in the FSA program, unless he or she is returning from uniformed military service.

Election Opportunities — Health Care and Dependent Care FSAs

Eligible career employees may elect to participate in one, or both, of two FSAs — the Health Care FSA and the Dependent Care FSA. Each FSA covers eligible expenses for services that are received during the employee’s period of participation during the 2008 plan year (for most employees this will be January 1, 2008, through March 15, 2009). Annual contributions to the Dependent Care FSA are limited to $5,000 for a family and $2,500 for a married employee filing a separate income tax return. FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts, describes eligible and ineligi­ble expenses and provides guidelines for estimating 2008 expenses.

Reminder: Health care expenses for dependents must be included in the Health Care FSA contribution amount and not in the Dependent Care FSA.

Withholding of FSA Contributions

Contributions for each FSA are withheld in equal amounts through payroll deductions covering 26 pay peri­ods (PP 01-08 through PP 26-08). The minimum annual contribution employees may make to either FSA is $130 ($5 per pay period).

Qualified Life Status Change Enrollment and Elections

Participants may neither cancel enrollments nor change contribution levels during the plan year except following qualified life status changes, as explained in FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts. In those cases, HRSSC spe­cialists determine a participant’s eligibility to enroll or to change contribution levels during the plan year and respond to employee inquiries about that eligibility.

FSA Claims

Participants mail or fax Form FSA1, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Withdrawal Request, directly to the FSA Customer Service Center in El Paso, Texas, as explained on Form FSA1.

Open Season Materials

Direct Mailings to Career Employees

The following items are mailed to each career employee at his or her mailing address of record during the FSA Open Season:

Additional Supplies of Materials

Residual materials will no longer be distributed to field offices.

Additional copies of the following items can be ordered from the Material Distribution Center (MDC). FSA items will not be available until mid-December. PS Form 1216 is available now. Order by using touch-tone order entry (TTOE): Call 800-273-1509.

Note: You must be registered to use TTOE. To register, call 800-332-0317, option 1, extension 2925, and follow the prompts to leave a message. (Wait 48 hours after register­ing before placing your first order.)

Use the following information to order:

Employee’s Current Mailing Address
PSIN: PS 1216
PSN: 7530-02-000-7354
Unit of Measure: SE
Quick Pick Number: 118
Bulk Pack Quantity: 4,000
Minimum Order Quantity: 1
Price: $0.0187
Edition Date: 06/05

Flexible Spending Accounts Overview and Tax Savings Estimator
PSN: 7610-04-000-5138
Unit of Measure: EA
Quick Pick Number: N/A
Bulk Pack Quantity: 2,100
Minimum Order Quantity: 1
Price: $0.00
Edition Date: 10/07

Flexible Spending Accounts
PSN: 7530-02-000-9910
Unit of Measure: EA
Quick Pick Number: N/A
Bulk Pack Quantity: 250
Minimum Order Quantity: 1
Price: $0.00
Edition Date: 11/07

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Withdrawal Request
PSN: 7530-02-000-9911
Unit of Measure: EA
Quick Pick Number: N/A
Bulk Pack Quantity: 2,000
Minimum Order Quantity: 1
Price: $0.00
Edition Date: 11/07

Further Information

FSA Customer Service Center Toll-Free Hotline

Employees with questions should call the FSA Cus­tomer Service Center’s toll-free hotline at 800-842-2026. After enrolling, participants may use the hotline to:

The FSA Customer Service Center also provides a tele­type (TTY) line at 866-649-4869 and 866-206-7810. The Center encourages employees to have a colleague place an advance call to the toll-free hotline before they use the TTY line.

Tax Advice

FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts, provides some tax information. Participants with tax questions not addressed in FSA BK1 should contact their tax advisors or call the IRS toll-free information line at 800-TAX-1040 (800–829-1040).

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)
2007 Open Season

Enrollment for 2007 FSAs begins: November 12, 2007
Enrollment ends: December 29, 2007 (5:00 p.m. CT)
Enrollments are effective: January 1, 2008

Who Can Enroll

Only career employees are eligible to enroll in FSAs for 2008.

How to Enroll

To use the Web — the easiest way to use PostalEASE — access the system in any of these ways:

To use the telephone, call the Employee Service Line at 877-4PS-EASE (877-477-3273).


If you cannot successfully complete your transaction using PostalEASE because of a medical condition or other reason, contact the Human Resources Shared Services Center (HRSSC) for assistance.

How to Get Your USPS Personal Identification Number (PIN)

To use PostalEASE, you must enter your Employee ID and USPS PIN. If you don’t know your USPS PIN, you can get it any one of these ways:

Details Are in the Mail

A leaflet and a brochure, FSA BK1, Flexible Spending Accounts, with a PostalEASE FSA worksheet included, are being mailed to all career employees. If you do not receive yours by November 26, 2007, contact the HRSSC.


Hotline for FSA questions: 800-842-2026.

TTY line for employees who are deaf or hard of hearing: 866-649-4869 or 866-206-7810. Advance call to hotline encouraged.

Please Post on All Bulletin Boards Through December 29, 2007.