From: Headquarters, Commissioned Corps <COMMCORPS-HQ@LIST.NIH.GOV> On Behalf Of Commissioned Corps HQ (HHS/OSG)
Sent: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 9:30 AM
Subject: Notice: 2020 Temporary Deferral of Social Security Taxes

Dear Public Health Service Officers,

In order to help with financial burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an executive order was signed by President Trump that will temporarily defer payroll taxes for certain federal employees, including uniformed service members, from September 1 to December 31, 2020.

For United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps officers who receive less than $8,666.66 per month for basic pay, USPHS will temporarily defer the withholding of your 6.2% Social Security tax. If your monthly rate of basic pay is at or above this threshold, your social security tax withholding will not be affected by the temporary deferral.

Key Facts:

– The Social Security tax is labeled as “FICA-SOC SECURITY” and is calculated as 6.2% of your basic pay.

– This change is effective through the end of the 2020 calendar year and only applies to your Social Security tax withholding.  Normal withholding of your FICA-Social Security taxes will resume effective January 1, 2021.

– You are not eligible to opt-out of the deferral if your basic pay falls within the stated wage limits.  The deferral will happen automatically.

– In accordance with current Internal Revenue Service guidance, collection of the deferred taxes will be taken from your wages between January 1 and April 30, 2021. Additional information on the collection process will be provided in the future.

– If you separate or retire in 2020 before the Social Security tax can be collected in 2021, you are still responsible for the Social Security tax repayment.

As more information becomes available, it will be posted on:

For questions on the temporary deferral of the 6.2% Social Security withholding:

– Visit the IRS page:

Should you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact CCHQ Financial Services Branch at


Susan M. Orsega


Director, Commissioned Corps Headquarters

Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored. This is an official communication to Commissioned Corps officers of the U.S. Public Health Service from Commissioned Corps Headquarters (CCHQ). All active duty officers are automatically subscribed to this listserv based on their official email addresses as registered in the RedDOG application. For security reasons, CCHQ will not accept requests to be added to the Listserv.

As of 2/24/20 a new online earnings manager was announced by RADM Orsega, it’s functions are highlighted in red below. A training module on PHSPay is located in the  USPHS Commissioned Corps Learning Management System .

Link to PHSPay

Link to FAQ list for PHSPay

From: Headquarters, Commissioned Corps <COMMCORPS-HQ@LIST.NIH.GOV> On Behalf Of Commissioned Corps HQ (HHS/OSG)
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2020 4:18 PM
Subject: Managing Your Pay Just Got Easier! Learn How to Use PHSPay

Dear Commissioned Corps Officers,

Commissioned Corps Headquarters is excited to announce that beginning February 24, 2020, you will be able to manage your pay online. PHSPay brings your pay and earnings information to your computer in a secure environment. PHSPay lets you receive your monthly earning statements and annual tax documents electronically, as well as make certain payroll updates online without completing paper forms. You will be able to update your direct deposit, update your payroll address, update your Thrift Savings Plan contributions, and update your federal or state tax withholdings.

PSHPay is the fastest and most convenient way to manage your pay. You can review PHSPay Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) under the “Financial Services” tab on the Commissioned Corps Management Information System website.

To access PHSPay go to Access Management System validation is required to access the payroll system. A training presentation is also available on the Commissioned Corps Learning Management System (CCLMS) to assist officers in accessing and utilizing the system. Please review the training presentation for assistance with PHSPay navigation.


Susan M. Orsega


Director, Commissioned Corps Headquarters

2020 military pay charts can be viewed here.

Active-duty Commissioned Officers are paid monthly, through direct deposit. Active-duty pay consists of three components: Basic pay, basic allowance for subsistence (BAS), and basic allowance for housing (BAH). Basic pay is taxable. The allowances are not taxed.

BAH is based upon your duty zip code, pay grade, and whether or not you have dependents. In order to receive the BAH at the appropriate rate, officers who have dependents are required to complete and submit a PHS 1637-1 form to re-certify their dependents annually.

Active duty officers who have questions about their pay should contact Compensation. Compensation manages USPHS Commissioned Corps payroll operations to include: Determination and documentation of eligibility for payments, deductions, and allotments, including all payment starts, stops, or changes

  • Monthly payments of Active Duty pay and entitlements
  • Monthly processing of voluntary/involuntary payroll allotments and deductions
  • Administration and payment of special and incentive pays
  • Customer assistance to payees

Retired officer pay is now serviced by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Thanks to the efforts of COA, Kentucky does not tax active-duty pay of PHS officers and Ohio does not tax the pay of retired PHS officers.