The Pay Implications of Temporary Border Details, and More
A weekly roundup of pay and benefits news.
The Office of Personnel Management last week called on federal employees across the government to press pause on their normal duties so that they can help process the growing number of unaccompanied children arriving at the southern border.
In a memo to agency heads, Acting OPM Director Kathleen McGettigan said the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement is seeking feds to temporarily join the agency on 120-day detail to help at facilities for unaccompanied children along the southern border, particularly in Texas and California. Duties on these details will include “contact with migrant children” as well as a variety of federal agencies and nonprofit organizations, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.
Employees who volunteer for the details will not be eligible for pay increase or promotions. But McGettigan wrote that it will be a “reimbursable” detail, meaning that HHS will pay for travel, lodging and per diem.
Given that the detail involves contact with minors, feds who volunteer for the detail will need to undergo an additional “child care investigation” before they can be approved for service.
The Internal Revenue Service this week confirmed that, following a month-long process to receive payment files from the Social Security Administration, the third round of stimulus payments will go out to the majority of those who do not typically file taxes each year, including some Social Security and Supplementary Security Income beneficiaries, by April 7.
“The IRS continues to review data received for Veterans Affairs benefit recipients and expects to determine a payment date and provide more details soon,” the agencies said in a statement. “Currently, the IRS estimates that economic impact payments for VA beneficiaries who do not regularly file tax returns could be disbursed by mid-April. VA beneficiary payment information will be available in the Get My Payment tool at a future date.”
Members of Congress and liberal advocacy groups had accused Social Security Administrator Andrew Saul of purposefully slow-walking the transfer of payment files in a way that he did not for the two rounds of stimulus payments that went out during the Trump administration. Saul hotly disputed those accusations, arguing that his agency did not receive direct appropriations to deliver the file, requiring him to negotiate a reimbursable memorandum of understanding between the Social Security Administration and the IRS first.