SmartDocs – Important financial messages at your fingertips
Keeping 6.6 million customers up-to-date with information on their pay accounts is a challenge. Every month, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service sends millions of emails ranging from routine payday alerts to detailed instructions on updating individual choices for managing pay accounts and records.
SmartDocs, the email process used by DFAS, sends millions of messages monthly notifying military members, military retirees and annuitants, and federal civilian employees that updated pay account statements and other information is available at the agency’s online myPay pay management site. When customer’s attention is needed to maintain or update their pay choices, SmartDocs deliver the news. Anytime a myPay password is requested or updated, SmartDocs lets the account owner know.
“SmartDocs allows us to put both general and, at times, very detailed information in front of the customers who may need it to manage both their pay account and personal finances,” said Liz Dieppa-Wells, myPay system program manager. “Most are aware of our notifications when leave and earning statements or retiree account statements are posted to their myPay accounts. But we also use them to inform customers of new policies, ways to use myPay to simplify or enhance their ability to manage portions of their financial business, or instructions on how to update or maintain their choices on a variety of pay issues.”
During the January to June 2015 period, DFAS has sent…
• More than 2.6 million myPay transaction notifications
• About 2.8 million retiree newsletter notifications for Army Echoes (508,000) and DFAS Retired/Annuitant Pay (1,359,000)
• More than 15,000,000 federal civilian employee leave and earning statement notifications
• More than 3,743,000 notices of W-2 availability to civilian employees and military members
• More than 6,867,000 notices to military members that leave and earning statements were available at their myPay accounts
• Millions of additional SmartDocs to military members, retirees and federal civilian employees with information on new myPay capabilities; such as the availability in January of 2015 Affordable Care Act information forms
SmartDocs emails are sent using email addresses registered in myPay account owners’ profile information. The system allows both a primary and secondary address to be entered, increasing the opportunities to keep informed of changes to customer pay accounts.
“We’ve gotten calls from customers concerned that someone is sending emails attempting to get their myPay password or other personal information,” said Tom McKenna, DFAS director for the finance mission area. “SmartDocs emails are notifications and do not ask customers to provide information. When information is needed or if the customer needs to do something, we’ll always provide a safe way for them to talk with us.”
McKenna, who oversees operations of DFAS call centers, pointed out that SmartDocs is not a bulk email system. While the same message may be sent to millions of customers, only those with a possible interest in the information will receive the SmartDocs in their inbox.
“The offices that develop SmartDocs messages design each email for the specific type of customer that can use that information,” McKenna said. “If a notification affects active-duty military only, that SmartDocs will only be sent to active-duty members and not to reservists or Guardsmen. The system is customizable so we can target customers based on their own specific situation.”
Keep updated email addresses on file
A recurring challenge to DFAS pay offices are customer email addresses that have been changed, cancelled or forgotten.
“Separated or recently retired military members are a particular concern,” said Leslie Bales, customer operations director. “Many of them had official email addresses that are cancelled once they leave service. Unless they put a valid email address they can access into their myPay profile, SmartDocs notifications of W-2 availability won’t reach them. Retirees move and that can affect both their mailing and email addresses. Unless they let us know, we can’t find them. Of course, using myPay is the easiest and quickest way to accomplish this.”
myPay customers can add or update primary or secondary email addresses in their myPay profiles. These addresses are used whenever appropriate notifications are sent to customers meeting specific demographics such as military service, retired, civilian employee, TSP participant, etc.
Can't find your SmartDocs?
Email programs are helpful and, for some, vital. They organize incoming and outgoing messages and help manage the flow of information used in both personal and professional situations. But people can’t use information they don’t see.
Whether through an email program’s filtering tools or an inadvertent user choice, some customer accounts may automatically put SmartDocs messages into the Junk or Spam box, or even delete the message entirely.
Placing the correct official SmartDocs address (DFAS-SmartDocs@mail.mil) in the Safe or Trusted Sender list can help keep official messages in the inbox. Checking the email program’s rules, if available, to find out if SmartDocs are automatically heading to the Junk or Delete list, and making changes to place SmartDocs where they can be found.
Don’t ignore SmartDocs
It’s easy to assume that every SmartDocs is a notification that an LES or retiree account statement is available in myPay; and it can become a habit to ignore SmartDocs messages with an assumption that they only contain routine, non-critical information.
But what if a change in pay policy or law means you need to change TSP elections, withholding information, or some other pay-related choice? Without reviewing SmartDocs messages, customers may miss opportunities to maintain or change their pay account choices for their best advantage.
Page updated June 29, 2015