special pays

Latest Special Pays Update

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Here is the update posted on the BUMED Special Pays Website a few days ago:

16 January 2020: The NAVADMIN releasing the approved FY20 Medical Department Special & Incentive Pay Plan is expected to be signed and released in the coming weeks, Until that time, the following clarifications are provided:

  • If an officer’s eligibility date for a special pay is on, or after, 1 October 2019, the request cannot be submitted until the FY20 Medical Department Special & Incentive Pay Plan is approved and released. The NAVADMIN is the authority from Chief, Navy Personnel authorizing Chief, BUMED to execute the special pays in FY20.
  • Once the NAVADMIN is released, medical department officers will have 30 days from the date of release to submit a special pay request effective 1 October 2019, or the date the officer became eligible if after 1 October 2019.
  • Requests for Retention Bonus effective 30 September 2019, or earlier, cannot be submitted until the NAVADMIN is released, as the guidance governing these requests is included in the FY20 Medical Department Special & Incentive Pay Plan.

Special Pays Update for Those Receiving a Retention Bonus (RB)

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There are a couple of items BUMED Special Pays recently learned from DFAS.

First, for those receiving RB rates over $50,000, an update to DFAS’s system prevents them from entering an initial RB payment over $50,000.  For RBs with an annual rate over $50,000, DFAS is entering the initial payment of $50,000 then going back into the member’s account at a later date and adding the remainder of the amount due.   Unfortunately, with the volume of RBs DFAS is processing, they may not be able to go back into the account to make the adjustment until after the initial payment is made so there may be a gap in receipt of the full RB amount.  This only impacts the initial payment.

Second, for those who have recently Terminated and Renegotiated an RB to a different rate, if the anniversary payment of the legacy agreement is within a few weeks of when the new acceptance letter was submitted to DFAS, this year’s anniversary payment may be made at the old rate.   DFAS will then go in afterwards to adjust the RB to the new rate.  Again, with the volume of RBs being processed, there is no way to know how soon after the anniversary payment is made that DFAS can make the adjustment.

In either scenario, if the member has not received the adjusted payment within 2 weeks after the effective date, the member should contact his/her command HRD/Admin office.  The HRD/Admin offices are to compile a list to send to the BUMED Special Pays Office via the usn.ncr.bumedfchva.mbx.specialpays-bumed@mail.mil email address.

Questions should be directed to the command HRD/Admin office.

Reminder to Graduating Residents – You are Now Eligible for GMO Incentive Pay

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Congratulations to those who just graduated residency. Please note the following on page 3 of the BUMED Medical Corps Special Pay Guidance where it discusses General Medical Officer (GMO) Incentive Pay (IP):

Medical Corps officers who complete initial residency on active duty are eligible for the GMO IP the day after completing residency.  For those who complete residency not on active duty eligibility is the date reported to first permanent command, if less than three months after completing residency.

This means you need to go to your Special Pays coordinator and apply for the GMO IP. It increases you from a residency IP of $8,000 per year to the GMO IP of $20,000 per year.

If you are not sure where to go or how to get this pay, I’d try to do what the BUMED Special Pays page says:

If there are any questions please direct them to your HRD/Admin/Special Pays Coordinator, or Specialty Leader, who will forward to BUMED inquiries they are unable answer at the command level, but no individuals should be bypassing their local command admin support, since they need to be able to understand the issues, and responses, to be able to better support the command.

Initial Application for Board Certification Pay and Your Proof of Certification

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Here is some info from BUMED about Board Certification Pay (BCP) for those applying for it the first time:

Please make sure that the date on the proof of board certification that you submit is reflective of the true date of your certification. The Special Pays team has encountered a few packages in which the date on the letter from the respective board is later than the actual date of certification. This particularly seems to impact the Internal Medicine community. Currently, the “fix” is for the individual to reach out to the board and ask for a revised letter reflecting the actual date of certification.

For awareness, BCP is retroactively paid to the date of board certification, so any disparity could result in forfeiture of hundreds/thousands of dollars.

We in the Corps Chief’s office are working to see if we can find a less administratively intensive way of getting the dates right, but in the meantime, it is in everyone’s best interest to make sure they are getting all the pay to which they are entitled.

Any question about special pays should be directed to your command’s special pays coordinator.

Guest Post: The Fellowship-Retention Bonus “Loophole” Still Exists; Are You Eligible?

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By Dustin Schuett, DO

Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense or the United States Government.

The 2018 Navy Graduate Medical Education Selection Board results were released 12 DEC 2018. For a select few Navy physicians pursuing fellowship, the opportunity exists to take a Retention Bonus (RB, formerly Multi-year Specialty Pay) and pay back their fellowship obligation and the RB obligation concurrently without extending their Navy commitment.

To be eligible, the physician must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Be at 8 years or more of active duty time in the Medical Corps.
  2. Have completed all pre-commissioning obligation time:
    • All initially obligated HPSP/USUHS/HSCP time AND any ROTC or USNA obligated time
    • This does not include residency obligation time

Essentially, if you went to medical school on a 4 year HPSP scholarship, have completed or will have completed 4 or more years of combined GMO and post-residency payback time BEFORE starting fellowship and have 8 total years active duty Medical Corps time, you’re likely eligible.

Here is my personal example:

4 year HPSP > 1 year internship > 2 years as a GMO > 5 years of residency > 2 years post-residency staff time (4 total including GMO time) = 4 years of total payback completing HPSP obligation, 10 years in Medical Corps

As an orthopaedic surgeon, our annual Incentive Pay (IP) is $59,000. I was able to take a 3 year RB which increases my IP to $73,000 annually plus an additional $33,000 lump sum paid annually for a total of $106,000/year, a $47,000 increase per year without increasing my obligation time.

If you have questions about special pay, please follow the current BUMED guidance:

If there are any questions please direct them to your HRD/Admin/Special Pays Coordinator, or Specialty Leader, who will forward to BUMED inquiries they are unable answer at the command level, but no individuals should be bypassing their local command admin support, since they need to be able to understand the issues, and responses, to be able to better support the command.

For more information, see the Medical Corps Special Pay Guidance that can be found on the BUMED Special Pays website.

Good Luck!

Updated FY19 BUMED Special Pays Information Posted

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The FY19 BUMED special pays guidance is now posted on the BUMED Special Pays website. The changes largely involve the Retention Bonuses (RB) and changes are highlighted in yellow on each Corps specific document.

If you want to read the BUMED talking points on the changes, they can be found here.