DFAS team praised for COVID response

Story by J. C. Woodring, DFAS Corporate Communications

DFAS HEADQUARTERS, June 22, 2021 – The Defense Department's comptroller selected a Defense Finance and Accounting team for its COVID support financial management contributions in a contingency operation. The service team collaborated extensively with other federal entities to define system requirements and quickly implement all COVID-related legislative acts.

Those entities included: the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness, the military services, the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Management and Budget, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, Interior Business Center, and National Finance Center

Additionally, the team communicated and coordinated with other DoD agencies and non-DoD customers, such as the Veterans Administration.
Team highlights include:

OASDI Tax Deferral
The implementation of the OASDI Tax Deferral required the modification of four payroll systems in less than two weeks to temporarily defer Social Security tax withholdings. This change impacted approximately 2.7 million customers, including 65 percent of serviced civilians, 94 percent of military, and 99 percent Non-Appropriated Fund customers. DFAS ensured customers received accurate information about the impacts to their pay through its website, social media page, and myPay. The agency also partnered with DoD and the services to deliver consistent messaging to everyone.

Families First Coronavirus Relief Act
Effective two weeks after passage, the FFCRA created three new leave categories based upon whether the employee or a family member was the cause of the leave. The team developed and disseminated interim payroll guidance quickly, enabling DoD to issue the first policy by a government entity and allowing 1.3 million employees to use the leave on the effective date.

New Leave Codes
The team expedited a system change to implement three new leave codes in June. As of November, over 80K employees used paid leave for their coronavirus illness or to care for family members impacted by the pandemic.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act
The CARES Act lifted premium pay caps for federal employees supporting COVID, and educational benefits for student loan repayments up to $5,250 were non-taxable earnings if paid between March 27 and Dec 31, 2020. In addition, the CARES Act gave the Veterans Administration a unique pay limit waiver authority to waive all pay limits for employees working COVID. DFAS completed a system change for the DoD-wide waiver.
Mary Jelev led the team. Other members included:

Cleveland: Daniel Schulz, Erin Walker and Pat Valdez
Indianapolis: Shannon Coppinger, Ron Gambill, Ryan Howard, Steve Jerin, Bryon Konvolinka, Eros Kopliku, Mary Marsh, Charles Miller, Jon Owens, Tim Parker, Jamie Porterfield, Dustin Smith, Matthew Whyde and Tyler Winkelman
Texarkana: Jana Haynie and Kayla Harbour

Page updated July 22, 2021