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If You Have a PIN, Then You Can Get In

By Ron Hall
December 14, 1998

"...Look, I know I've got my latest health insurance files here somewhere and hmmmm, where DID I put my folder on my U.S. Savings Bonds and--RATS! I just spilled coffee on my latest earnings and leave statement! Cheeez, mumble, grumble..."

If you sometimes find that your attempts at keeping your personal records in order are as hopeless as a salmon trying to swim up Niagara Falls, then the National Finance Center may have a solution for you.

It's called the "Employee Personal Page."

"The Employee Personal Page is a new feature on NFC's home page--which, of course, is part of the Department's home page," explained Beth Rockwell, chief of the Personnel Systems Branch with NFC in New Orleans and project manager of this new initiative. "It allows employees serviced by NFC to view data concerning their own payroll, leave, travel voucher information, life insurance, health insurance, U.S. Savings Bonds, Thrift Savings Plan, and related information."

"In short," added George Morris, a personnel management specialist with the Office of Human Resources Management, "it eliminates much of the need for an employee to request information from his/her servicing personnel office."

"Instead, the employee can access it immediately, with no delay, and can do this with Internet access from home or work, 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

NFC computer specialist Greg Kidd noted that, to access the information, an employee first needs to access NFC's home page,

The system will then provide instructions on how the employee can obtain a "Personal Identification Number," or PIN.

"Without a PIN, nobody can access the personal information--including that employee," Kidd affirmed. "This, along with an employee's use of his/her Social Security number, helps to ensure that all data is kept private."

But how safe is this system?

"The security system we've employed with the Employee Personal Page," emphasized NFC computer specialist Steve Cunningham, "ensures that an employee's information is encrypted and locked with a 'mathematical key' when the data is transferred between the employee's computer browser and NFC's computer system."

NFC computer specialist David Turner added that USDA employees were mailed a leaflet on this system in the Statement of Earnings and Leave for Pay Period No. 10. It officially went active on June 7.

"As of December 8," said NFC secretary Theone Greenlee, "8,008 USDA employees--and 14,800 federal employees governmentwide--have obtained PINs for use with the Employee Personal Page."

About the Author

Ron Hall is Editor of USDA News, an employee publication at the US Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. You may reach him at (202) 720-5747 or