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Relocating

Are you considering relocating your federal career - either by your choice or by Uncle Sam? There are practical issues and concerns to think about when deciding whether or not to relocate. Others have done it while still others have not. This forum will allow for all to offer their insight, post their questions, and help each other out.

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NorCal  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, November 07, 2017 10:28:28 AM(UTC)

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Does another have some advice/ best practices when it comes to transferring from one federal agency to another? In my case I'm going from the Forest Service to the VA. The only advice I've got was to print out my leave and earnings statement so I have a copy of my vacation, comp, and sick time accruals in the event they don't carry over or there is a discrepancy.

Other questions include medical coverage, does it simply carry over or will I experience a lapse in coverage and be forced to re-sign up for insurance(s)? What about TSP?

If anyone here has some insight, I'm all ears! I did a quick search on this topic and didn't come up with anything.

Thanks in advance.
Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran
frankgonzalez  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, November 07, 2017 1:04:26 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: NorCal Go to Quoted Post
Does another have some advice/ best practices when it comes to transferring from one federal agency to another? In my case I'm going from the Forest Service to the VA. The only advice I've got was to print out my leave and earnings statement so I have a copy of my vacation, comp, and sick time accruals in the event they don't carry over or there is a discrepancy.

Other questions include medical coverage, does it simply carry over or will I experience a lapse in coverage and be forced to re-sign up for insurance(s)? What about TSP?

If anyone here has some insight, I'm all ears! I did a quick search on this topic and didn't come up with anything.

Thanks in advance.
Everything carries over (Medical, TSP, etc), but make certain you have records of everything in case something glitches (I had an issue with my vision/dental insurance...but because I had the paperwork to back it up, it was quickly restored with no break in benefits).

Collect your SF-50s, etc. In theory they will switch, BUT always try to have your own copies.

I moved from Air Force (DoD) to Coast Guard (DHS) to NASA. Minor glitches, but nothing that wasn't fixed pretty quickly.
You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
computerscott2  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, November 14, 2017 5:54:37 AM(UTC)
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Keep the last 2 pay statements from every agency you transfer from. This will be important not only for leave transfer but to be able to assist OPM in determining your retirement status. I say last 2 because you may lose access to the pay system where you print it out before you get your last one.
Instruct your agency to mail you your final SF-50 and ensure they have your correct mailing address.
If your agency participates in e-OPF, ensure any SF-50 that shows promotion, reassignment, major awards, etc. is in there. Get your HR people to upload it if not.
Ensure you update your address in the pay system so you can get your W-2's at the right address. This includes putting in a non-government email address, one that you can access after you lose your current gov email address.
If you have TSP loans make sure your new agency is aware of them right away.
If you need to make changes in FEGLI, Health, etc when joining the new agency, it is often considered an "open period" for you. Take advantage of it.
Print out your last 2-3 W-2's from that agency. You may lose access to their system and you may need them for applying for a loan, etc. A lot easier to do it while you still have access.
Ensure you have HR, supervisor and other agency contacts printed out in a clear location for your spouse/relatives in case something freaky happens and you die or are injured during the switchover weekend.
computerscott2  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, November 14, 2017 6:22:45 AM(UTC)
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Make sure your last date with one agency is the Saturday and your next date with the new agency is the Sunday.
Use up any credit time as that does not transfer over.
Your comp time may not transfer over, BUT your agency may pay it out to you. Do not count on your comp time transferring over.
If you are transferring over at the same grade level, ensure you have your SF-50 with your last WIGI date on it. Your new agency may not put in the correct date and you may have to provide it to them so that they can get it corrected. Had to do this three times with 3 different agencies. It's not their fault they had different HR systems.
Also if you are transferring over to a career ladder position, your new agency MAY count your current TIG towards your new position, but it is up to them.
If you have ever been paid at a higher rate in the federal system you can ask them if they can bring you in using the Highest Previous Rate (HPR) method. For example if you were a GS-13 and you took a downgrade to GS-9 Step 10. You get hired at a new agency and they brought you in as a GS-12. You can ask if they can bring you in at the HPR you have held in the federal government (if it is currently higher than what it was. i.e if you were as GS-13 making 90K a year then and the starting pay for your GS-12 is 85K now, they may be able to bring you in closer to the 90K). This may not be applicable to your situation but may help others. For HPR you need to ask BEFORE you start your new job, not after.
Exit7A  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, November 15, 2017 3:10:54 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: computerscott2 Go to Quoted Post
Make sure your last date with one agency is the Saturday and your next date with the new agency is the Sunday.
Use up any credit time as that does not transfer over.
Your comp time may not transfer over, BUT your agency may pay it out to you. Do not count on your comp time transferring over.
If you are transferring over at the same grade level, ensure you have your SF-50 with your last WIGI date on it. Your new agency may not put in the correct date and you may have to provide it to them so that they can get it corrected. Had to do this three times with 3 different agencies. It's not their fault they had different HR systems.
Also if you are transferring over to a career ladder position, your new agency MAY count your current TIG towards your new position, but it is up to them.
If you have ever been paid at a higher rate in the federal system you can ask them if they can bring you in using the Highest Previous Rate (HPR) method. For example if you were a GS-13 and you took a downgrade to GS-9 Step 10. You get hired at a new agency and they brought you in as a GS-12. You can ask if they can bring you in at the HPR you have held in the federal government (if it is currently higher than what it was. i.e if you were as GS-13 making 90K a year then and the starting pay for your GS-12 is 85K now, they may be able to bring you in closer to the 90K). This may not be applicable to your situation but may help others. For HPR you need to ask BEFORE you start your new job, not after.


My Agency's pay period ends on Friday and starts on Saturday so the dates you recommended may not be appropriate. My guess is that you would want to start you new job at the beginning of the new Agency's pay period.
Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way!
Hanif  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, December 20, 2017 11:22:48 AM(UTC)

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Some of my transitional items in addition to what was said above.

-Have extra money saved up, the new agency didn't take 2 pay periods of dental/vision deductions and then on the 3rd pay period took all those pays at once.
-TSP Loans. I had to manually send in a check to cover the required payment due to the delay in having the TSP Loan processed. The payroll clerk had to manually call TSP and enter the loan information.
-I had travel comp time that they didn't automatically transfer and I had to petition to get it transferred.
-Tax Withholding had to be redone even though I did the form during onboarding.
-TSP contributions, life insurance contributions, and FEHB election I redid. I don't recall if they called in an open season, but more a QLE.
-Previous command has some SF form they may have to fill out in order for the new agency to process you onboarding. Make sure when the new agency asks for your previous HR rep, you give them someone intelligent who knows your packet, instead of a generic name from a website.
-Keep copies of everything you do in the digital onboarding systems, just incase the new agency supervisor can't access the file or the HR specialist didn't submit everything to the OPF
thanks 1 user thanked for this useful post.
DroneBee on 12/20/2017(UTC)
DroneBee  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, December 20, 2017 1:22:27 PM(UTC)

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These are really good suggestions! I would add that you have to keep on top of everything because once you are onboard, you are no longer the priority - HR has gone on to the next thing! Good luck!
Nrml1  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, December 20, 2017 8:52:00 PM(UTC)
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If you are transferring agencies can you change your benefits (dental) once onboard, or only during open enrollment?
Linds  
#9 Posted : Saturday, December 23, 2017 10:36:37 AM(UTC)
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You definitely need to stay on top of those things that slip through the cracks when transferring. I was worried about my leave, but that transferred just fine. What didn't transfer was my TSP Loan. That took like 2-3 months. It was an utterly ridiculous situation & shouldn't have taken that long. It took multiple calls (I transferred to the Air Force) for them to do something. Not to mention while I was getting all my ducks in a row before I came on board I told them I had a loan & gave them all the info they needed.
And my dental & vision didn't transfer over, but when I called them up about it they fixed it almost right away. I did have to play catch up with pay for one or two pay periods but it worked out.
thanks 1 user thanked Linds for this useful post.
Nrml1 on 12/25/2017(UTC)
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