2010 Benefits and Payroll News

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E-mail questions to: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu

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Use of Floating Legal Holidays - December 25, 2010 and January 1, 2011

December 14, 2010 | Source: Office of Human Resources

All employees eligible to earn and use legal holidays should note that Christmas Day, Saturday December 25, 2010, and New Year's Day, Saturday, January 1, 2011, are floating legal holidays since these holidays fall on a regularly scheduled day off (a Saturday) for most employees.

Classified Employees - Use of Floating Holiday

  1. For classified employees (those paid bi-weekly), floating holiday time can be used anytime during the calendar year in which it is granted, but MUST be used by the end of the calendar year. For example:
  2. The December 25, 2010 floating legal holiday must be used by December 31, 2010.
  3. The January 1, 2011 floating legal holiday must be used by December 31, 2011.
  4. There are no provisions that allow classified employees to carryover floating holiday time into the next calendar year.

Unclassified Employees - Use of Floating Holiday

For unclassified employees (those paid monthly), floating holiday time can be used anytime during the fiscal year in which it is granted (July 1 - June 30), but MUST be used by the end of the fiscal year. For example:

  1. The December 25, 2010 floating legal holiday must be used by June 30, 2011.
  2. The January 1, 2011 floating legal holiday must be used by June 30, 2011.
  3. Unused floating holiday time is lost after June 30.

For both classified and unclassified employees, floating holiday time is allocated to the employee during the pay period in which the holiday falls and will appear on the next leave or earnings statement. When floating holiday time is used before the holiday occurs, the balance will appear as a negative number on the earnings statement and in the leave accounting system.


Unclassified Monthly Pay Date for December Earnings is January 3, 2011

Updated December 7, 2010 | Source: Office of Human Resources

TO: Unclassified employees paid on the 1st of the month.

If you are normally paid on the 1st of the month, this is a reminder that the Unclassified monthly pay date for December earnings is January 3, 2011 since January 1, 2011 is a Saturday.

When a pay date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Federal Reserve holiday, the pay date is usually the previous business day or non-Federal Reserve holiday. An exception to this normal pay date provision is the Unclassified monthly pay date that falls on New Year's Day - January 1. To avoid tax-related issues, the January pay date for December earnings must be the "official banking business day" following the New Year's holiday. The "official banking business day" is defined as a calendar day other than a Saturday, Sunday or a Federal Reserve Holiday.


Change in Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) Contribution Rates for 2011

Updated November 16, 2010 | Source: UW System Administration

As you may know, most UW employees currently are not required to contribute anything toward their Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) fund. However, during its annual review process in June 2010, the Employee Trust Funds (ETF) Board approved changes that will now require a modest WRS employee contribution for 2011. The increased rates were deemed necessary by the ETF Board to maintain solid funding of the WRS, which suffered large investment losses during the 2008 downturn of the stock market.

Please note these rates are effective for 2011 and will be reviewed again prior to the 2012 calendar year. Please also note the UW System is prohibited, under the 2009-11 compensation plan and collective bargaining agreements, from paying the increased portion of the required contribution.

Here is what the change means for you:

As of January, employees will be required to pay the following contribution rates of WRS-covered earnings for 2011:

UW System will pay the remainder of the WRS contribution rate for 2011. The WRS contribution rate paid by UW System on behalf of most employees will be 11.4% of earnings (20.5% for protective occupation employees, 10.6% for Building Trades employees, and 9.1% for LTEs).

Any required WRS contributions are automatically deducted from an employee's paycheck. Unclassified employees (paid monthly) will first have a WRS deduction on the January 3, 2011 paycheck and classified employees (paid bi-weekly) will have the first deduction on the January 13, 2011 paycheck. For example, 0.2% of an annual salary of $40,000 amounts to $3.08 per biweekly paycheck and $6.67 per monthly paycheck.

For additional information, see http://www.uwsa.edu/hr/benefits/WRSratefaq.pdf. This document will be updated and expanded to reflect additional FAQs as needed.


No Change In Social Security and Medicare Wage Bases and Rates for 2011

November 12, 2010 | Source: UW Service Center and the Social Security Administration

Note: This news item was revised on January 3, 2011 to reflect new information. View the updated news item: Employee Tax Rate for Social Security Reduced to 4.2% for 2011; Other Tax Law Changes Will Impact Employee Take-Home Pay.

The Social Security and Medicare wage bases, the amount of an employee's salary that can be taxed for Social Security and Medicare purposes, will not change for 2011. The first $106,800 of an employee's wages are taxable for Social Security purposes and an employee's entire salary is taxable for Medicare purposes.

Because there is no cost-of-living adjustment for January 1, 2011, the Social Security (full FICA) wage base for 2011 will be the same as the wage base for 2010, $106,800. The Medicare wage base will not have a dollar limit for 2011.

The employer and employee tax rates will remain the same in 2011. The Social Security (full FICA) rate remains at 7.65% (6.20% Social Security plus 1.45% Medicare) for wages up to $106,800. All wages over $106,800 are subject only to the 1.45% Medicare rate. The rate remains at 1.45% for others who are subject only to Medicare.

The University matches the employee contribution rate and amount for both the Social Security and Medicare components. The amount listed on employee earnings statements as SOC SEC is the total of the Social Security and Medicare tax withholding, which is sometimes referred to as Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax.

Related Link: Social Security Administration, Maximum Taxable Earnings


State Group Health and State Group Life Insurance Premium Holiday

November 12, 2010 | Source: UW System Administration

UW employees that are enrolled in State Group Health (SGH) and/or State Group Life (SGL) insurance will not have a premium deduction taken from their November earnings for either of these plans.

Employees currently pay SGH and SGL insurance premiums two months in advance of coverage. Beginning with coverage for January 2011, the premiums will be paid one month in advance of the coverage month. During the transition period, employees will not have SGH and SGL premium deductions for one month – this is considered a premium holiday. Normal payroll deductions will resume after the one-month premium holiday.

The one-month premium holiday applies to SGH and SGL premium deductions only. All other benefit premium deductions will still be taken from your November earnings.

The following paychecks will be affected:

Classified employees (those paid bi-weekly): No SGH insurance deduction on the November 18, 2010 paycheck, and no SGL insurance deduction on the December 2, 2010 paycheck.

Unclassified employees (those paid monthly): No SGH or SGL insurance deductions from the December 1, 2010 paycheck.

Your earnings statement during the premium holiday: On your earnings statement(s) affected by the premium holiday, you will not see the monthly amount you pay for SGH or SGL. If enrolled in SGH insurance, you will see the statement "HLTH PREM HOL" instead of the name of your health plan, and the word "YES" instead of the monthly premium.

If enrolled in SGL insurance, you will see the statement "LIFE PREM HOL" instead of the name(s) of the SGL levels in which you are enrolled, and the word "YES" instead of the monthly premium.

For additional information, see the Premium Holiday FAQ or contact your benefits office.


T. Rowe Price Webinar "Retirement Investing From Beginning to End" November 4 and 5

October 15, 2010 | UW-Madison Office of Human Resources and UW System Administration

T. Rowe Price will be offering the webinar "Retirement Investing from Beginning to End" presented by Drew Kessler, a Retirement Specialist in T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services. He is passionate about educating investors on retirement planning.

This 40-minute program explains asset classes, reviews the concepts of risk and return, and helps employees make the most of their investment choices. The plan's investment options are discussed and profiled using market capitalization, investment style, and geographic characteristics. There will be time for questions and answers.

Webinar times:

Thursday, November 4 - 9:30am, 11:30am, 3:30pm and 6:00pm
Friday, November 5 - 10:00am, noon and 2:00pm

To participate in the webinar from your desktop, register at http://inter.viewcentral.com/reg/troweprice/uw

If you would prefer to view the webinar in a group setting, it will also be presented at Memorial Union at the times listed below. There is no registration required.

Memorial Union - Check "Today in the Union" for room locations.
November 4 - 9:30am, 11:30am and 3:30pm
November 5 - 10:00am, noon and 2:00pm

More TSA Opportunities - TSA Basics Seminar and Individual Counseling Sessions
UW staff are offering the TSA Basics Seminar "Cutting Taxes Today & Investing for the Long Term" on December 6, 10:00-11:00am, at 21 North Park Street, Suite 5045. Register at the OHRD Benefits Education Website. Whether you already have a UW TSA account, are looking to start your account, or simply would like more information about the program, you can sign up for an individual counseling session. Fidelity and TIAA-CREF have dates available this semester. For dates and information on how to register, see: http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/ecbs/tsa-workshops.html


Benefit Enrollment and Change Period Begins October 4

Updated: September 14, 2010 | Source: UW System Administration and UW Service Center

There are important changes to your benefits for 2011 that may require you to take action during the Benefit Enrollment & Change Period that begins on October 4, 2010 and ends on October 29, 2010 for most plans. This is the only time during the year when you are eligible to make benefit plan changes unless you have a life event (marriage, birth, divorce...) that allows you to add or change benefits. All benefit enrollments and changes made during this period will be effective January 1, 2011.

Detailed benefit information will be available in late September both online at www.uwservice.wisc.edu/2011 and on the Work Record tab in My UW. Please also watch your email for details.

You may take the following actions during the benefit enrollment and change period:

Watch for benefit plan changes for 2011:

Prior to the Benefit Enrollment & Change Period, you should review the benefit plans in which you are currently enrolled by looking at the benefit deductions on your earnings statements and at your most recent UW System University Staff Benefits Statement. Most employees can access their earnings and benefits statements in My UW, under the Work Record tab.


ETF Launches "myETF Benefits" Online Service

September 1, 2010 | Source: ETF and UW-Madison Office of Human Resources

Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has launched "myETF Benefits", an online service that allows employees covered under the State Group Health Insurance program to view their health insurance coverage information. Employees can view historical changes related to their health insurance coverage and find information on various benefit topics. See ETF's website for information about access to "myETF Benefits".

UW Employees will continue to use the online fillable health insurance application or a printed paper form to enroll in and make changes to health insurance coverage. Online enrollment for State Group Health Insurance and other benefit plans will be implemented with the new UW Human Resource System (HRS) scheduled for implementation in 2011.


New Retirement Drop-In Sessions Scheduled

August 13, 2010 | Source: Office of Human Resources

The Office of Human Resources — Employee Services team will be offering Retirement Drop-In Sessions starting September 28, 2010. These sessions are for employees who have their retirement packet (estimates and application) from the Department of Employee Trust Funds and are ready to retire. The sessions are on a first come, first served basis. No appointment is required, and more information about the sessions is available on the Retirement Education page.

Please e-mail questions to the Office of Human Resources at: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu


Multiple (Summer) Deductions for Unclassified Nine-Month Appointees
May 20, 2010 | Source: UW Service Center

UW Unclassified appointees (Academic Staff, Faculty, Graduate Assistants, and Employees-in-Training) who have nine-month (academic year) appointments and certain other Unclassified employees who are expected to return to UW employment in the Fall will have multiple insurance deductions taken from May earnings (payable June 1) so that insurance coverage continues through the summer months. Since most insurance premiums are paid in advance of coverage, the additional three deductions from May earnings (for June, July and August) will maintain coverage until deductions resume with September earnings.

Multiple deductions are not taken for Tax-Sheltered Annuities, Deferred Compensation or the Employe Reimbursement Account (ERA) program. Deductions for these programs will automatically resume on the October 1 pay check.

If you are a UW Unclassified appointee with a nine-month appointment, and you work during the summer, you will not have multiple insurance deductions taken from May earnings.

Please e-mail questions to the Office of Human Resources at: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu


2010 Staff Benefits Statements Now Available
April 27, 2010 | Source: Office of Human Resources

UW-Madison employees now have access to their Staff Benefits Statements on their My UW page, under the Work Record tab. The benefits statement provides employees with an overview of their benefit and insurance plans, coverage level and the projected annual costs paid by the employee and the University. The estimated premium, Social Security and retirement projections for the calendar year are based on salary information and benefit enrollments in effect on April 1, 2010. Employees should review their statement for benefit enrollments and coverage levels; a detailed explanation of the statement is available online: Explanation of UW Staff Benefits Statement

Please e-mail questions to the Office of Human Resources at: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu

The statement is produced once a year

COBRA Premium Assistance Program Extended
April 22, 2010 | Source: UW System Administration

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), includes provisions that provide COBRA premium assistance to employees who are involuntarily terminated from employment who continue health insurance and other related medical benefits through COBRA provisions. On April 15, 2010, ARRA was amended for a third time by the Continuing Extension Act of 2010. Prior to this amendment, only employees who involuntarily terminated employment at any point from September 1, 2008 through March 31, 2010 were eligible to apply for COBRA premium assistance. This recent amendment expanded eligibility to include anyone who involuntarily terminates employment through May 31, 2010.

If eligible for COBRA premium assistance, the University of Wisconsin will pay up to 65% of the COBRA premium for health insurance and other medical-related insurance premiums for up to 15 months of COBRA coverage.

UW employees who carry health insurance or any other medical related benefits who terminate employment through May 31, 2010, will be sent a COBRA notice and packet of information describing how to apply for COBRA premium assistance from their staff benefits office.

For more information:
UWSA COBRA Premium Assistance Page
Department of Labor COBRA Premium Assistance Page


ETF "Your WRS Benefits" Live Webcast April 15, 7-9pm

April 13, 2010 | Source: Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF)

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) will broadcast a live interactive employee benefits presentation for Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) participants considering or planning retirement in the near future.

Topics covered include WRS retirement, separation and survivor benefits, as well as health and life insurance benefits options at retirement. Online viewers will be able participate in the presentation by emailing questions directly to the presenter.

Your WRS Benefits 2010 Video (April 15, 7-9pm): Click to view the video presentation

Viewing requirements:

This video will also be available beginning April 16, 2010 in the ETF Video Library for on demand viewing at anytime.


Wisconsin Retirement System Annual Statement of Benefits
April 12, 2010 | Source: UW Service Center

Wisconsin Retirement System Annual Statement of Benefits

UW employees covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) in 2009 will be receiving their annual WRS statement in campus mail beginning the week of April 12, 2010.  The statement provides employees with information about their individual WRS account as of January 1, 2010. The statement includes:

Employees should review their statement.  A complete explanation is included with the statement. In addition, employees can view the Employee Trust Funds "Your Annual Statement of Benefits" video for detailed information on how to interpret their statement.

Note: Classified employees may notice that their 2008 earnings are higher than their 2009 earnings.  This is due to there being 27 pay periods in 2008 and 26 pay periods in 2009.  All employees receive full WRS credit for any furlough time taken.

Related link: ETF Statement of Benefits Distributed in April
2010 Variable Fund Effective Rate and Variable Annuity Adjustment (revised March 26)

If you have questions or if you have not received your statement by May 3, please contact the Office of Human Resources at: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu

ETF Releases Revised State Group Life Insurance Booklet
March 30, 2010 | Source: Employee Trust Funds

Employee Trust Funds (ETF) has released an updated edition of the Wisconsin Public Employers Group Life Insurance booklet.  The plan, available to all UW employees who enroll and have completed six months of service under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), provides Basic, Supplemental, and Additional levels of coverage that are based on an employee's previous calendar year earnings, as reported to WRS.  An employee can elect to have up to 5 times their annual income in coverage.  Spouse/Domestic Partner and dependent coverage is available.

State Group Life Insurance plan changes announced January 22, are described in the revised booklet:
- The Annual Premium Rate Change for UW employees has been changed from March 1 to April 1.
- References to "spouse" in the revised booklet include a "domestic partner", as defined in Wis. Stats. 40.02(21d), of an employee insured under this life insurance program and for whom the employee has submitted a Affidavit for Domestic Partnership, ET-2371 with ETF.
- Active employees who reach age 70 and have Additional coverage no longer need to submit an enrollment form to continue Additional coverage beyond age 70.

With the release of the revised plan booklet, ETF has also updated two forms to reflect the plan changes; Life Insurance Application/Cancellation/Refusal, ET-2304, and Life Insurance Evidence of Insurability, ET-2305.

The 2010 premium table can be found at the State Group Life Insurance Premiums Page.

For more information on domestic partnership provisions, see Domestic Partner Benefits, ET-2370.

Send questions to: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu

Related Link: Wisconsin Public Employers Group Life Insurance Program


ETF Issues Statement on the Federal Health Insurance Act
March 26, 2010 | Source: Employee Trust Funds

On March 23rd, 2010, President Obama signed health reform into law; the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R.4872). The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF), the state agency that administers the state and local group health insurance programs, is currently in the process of reviewing both the Act and the reconciliation bill to determine the impact they will have on the programs administered by ETF. The Act and reconciliation bill contain a substantial amount of language (the Act has nearly 2500 pages). Therefore, we would appreciate your patience as we carefully review the Act and the reconciliation bill in their entirety. We will provide more information about the impact of the Act on the state and local health programs as it becomes available.

Related link: ETF Statement on the Federal Health Insurance Act

Send questions to: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu


IRS Consumer Alert: Unsolicited Email Warning
March 11, 2010 | Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS does not send taxpayers unsolicited e-mails about their tax accounts, tax situations or personal tax issues. If you receive such an e-mail, most likely it's a scam.

IRS impersonation schemes flourish during filing season. These schemes may take place via phone, fax, Internet sites, social networking sites, and particularly e-mail.

Many impersonations are identity theft scams that try to trick victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to access their financial accounts. Some e-mail scams contain attachments or links that, when clicked, download malicious code (virus) that infects your computer or direct you to a bogus form or site posing as a genuine IRS form or Web site.

Some impersonations may be commercial Internet sites that consumers unknowingly visit, thinking they're accessing the genuine IRS Web site, IRS.gov. However, such sites have no connection to the IRS.

For more information on scams and what to do if you're subject to one, see:
Online Scams that Impersonate the IRS
Suspicious e-Mails and Identity Theft and How to Report and Identify Phishing
E-mail Scams and Bogus IRS Web Sites


ETF Extends Deadline to Remove Health Insurance Adult Child Dependents Age 19-26

February 26, 2010 | Source: Employee Trust Funds (ETF)

The Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) is extending the deadline for State Group Health Insurance subscribers to delete adult child dependents age 19-26. This opportunity is only available if a subscriber wishes to delete a dependent age 19-26, not add a dependent. This is not an opportunity to remove a domestic partner.

The deadline was extended to assist subscribers who currently cover a non-tax dependent age 19-26 on their health insurance, but may want to remove the dependent due to the imputed income tax liability. A subscriber can also delete a tax dependent age 19-26 from their plan during this extension period.

The subscriber must submit a completed Health Insurance Application/Change Form, ET-2301 to their employer to delete an adult child dependent age 19-26. The application must be received by the employee's benefits office on or before March 15, 2010. The coverage end date will be the end of the month following receipt of the application. For applications received in February 2010, the coverage end date for the adult child dependent will be February 28, 2010. For applications received between March 1 and March 15, 2010, the coverage end date is March 31, 2010. There will be no retroactive deletions for these dependents.

COBRA is not available for dependents that are voluntarily cancelled.

Send questions to: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu

Related Links:

Imputed Income and Health Insurance Benefits
ETF - Benefit Eligibility for Adult Children up to Age 27


Long-Term Care Insurance Workshops

February 19, 2010 | Source: UW-Madison Office of Human Resources

Gary Praznik of HealthChoice Long-Term Care Solutions will be presenting an information workshop on the UW-Madison campus. No registration is necessary. UW-Madison employees are invited to attend one of the following seminars.

Long-Term Care: The Missing Link In Your Financial Plan
Learn how your Long-Term Care benefit provides protection.
Speaker: Gary Praznik, HealthChoice Long-Term Care Solutions

Tuesday, February 23, 11:30am-12:30pm
UW-Madison Welcome Center, 21 N. Park Street, Room 1108 | Map

Tuesday, February 23, 3:00-4:00pm
UW-Madison Welcome Center, 21 N. Park Street, Room 1108 | Map

Gary will be available before and after the workshop for individual questions. Contact information: Gary F. Praznik, HealthChoice, (800)334-7988

Long-Term Care Insurance is an optional insurance available to University of Wisconsin employees, including their spouses, parents and spouse's parents. The Long-Term Care Insurance programs for state employees may cover expenses usually not covered by group health insurance including long-term home health care, assisted living, community-based care (adult day care) and nursing home care.

Send questions to: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu

Related Link: Long-Term Care Insurance Page


Duplicate Tax Statement Requests
February 9, 2010 | Source: UW-Madison Office of Human Resources

Duplicate tax statements for 2009 W-2, 1042-S, and Fellowship/Scholarship informational letters are available on the MY UW-Madison portal (MY.WISC.EDU). To print a duplicate tax statement:

Employees who terminated employment in 2009 (particularly student employees) may not have access to MY UW-Madison portal. If you do not have access, you can request a duplicate tax statement by completing an Employee Duplicate Tax Statement

Duplicate tax statement requests are processed and statements are mailed to employees within 10 days of the request receipt. Please note that requests for 2009 tax statements will not be processed before February 15.

Requests for 2009 duplicates are processed at no charge. Processing fees for other years are as follows:

Submit a check payable to the University of Wisconsin for the correct dollar amount. Duplicates will not be processed or issued without payment. Mail the check to: UW Service Center, 21 N Park Street, Suite 5101, Madison, WI 53715.


ETF Releases Revised Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) Booklet
February 4, 2010 | Source: Employee Trust Funds and UW-Madison Office of Human Resources

Employee Trust Funds has released the latest edition of the Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) Booklet. The plan, available to all UW employees who enroll and have completed six months of service under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), provides up to 75% of the higher of an employee's previous calendar year earnings, as reported to WRS or a projected salary due to a change in an employee's rate of pay prior to a disability, in the event an employee become disabled. The plan provides a maximum of $4,000 per month for standard ICI coverage and up to $7,500 per month with supplemental coverage.

New 2010 Premium Rates, effective February 1, are based on employees' 2009 average monthly WRS earnings (total earnings rounded to the next higher thousand and divided by 12) and accumulated sick leave (or elimination period for UW Faculty). Premium categories for UW classified employees are based on the employee's accumulated sick leave hours as of the prior year's last complete payroll period. For 2009, this was pay period 26B (December 6, 2009 through December 19, 2009).

The 2010 ICI premium rate charts can be found at: ICI Premium Pages

Send questions to: benefits@ohr.wisc.edu

Related Link: ETF Income Continuation Insurance (ICI) Page


Employee Reimbursement Accounts (ERA) Customer Alert
February 4, 2010 | Source: Fringe Benefits Management Company (FBMC) and UW-Madison Office of Human Resources

ATTENTION: MEDICAL EXPENSE ACCOUNT PARTICIPANTS:

2009 CARRYOVER BALANCE NOT ON NEW FBMC CARD
By now you have received your new myFBMC Visa® Payment Card. Please be aware that only 2010 monies have been loaded onto the new card.

If you have a carryover balance in your account from 2009, this balance will not be reflected on your new FBMC card. Reimbursement requests must be submitted to FBMC via paper claim form by April 15. In future plan years, any previous year's balance will be loaded on the FBMC card.

Please be advised that you will be receiving in the mail additional information regarding card usage and instructions for submitting required documentation.

ATTENTION: ALL PARTICIPANTS

ERA GRACE PERIOD FOR MEDICAL AND DEPENDENT CARE EXPENSE CLAIMS
Services received between January 1 and March 15, 2010 may be reimbursed from funds remaining from the 2009 plan year.  The deadline for submitting 2009 claims is April 15, 2010.  All claims must be received by the Fringe Benefit Management Company or postmarked by April 15 to be reimbursed from 2009 funds.

Questions?  Please refer to the myFBMC Payment Card FAQs located at www.myFBMC.com or contact FBMC Customer Service at 1-800-342-8017 (Mon-Fri, 7 am to 10 pm EST).

Related Link: myFBMC General FAQs