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January 13, 2016

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 14, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, January 13, 2016
 E-News  
 A Message From Your Executive Director

On behalf of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association Board of Directors and staff, I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year! The year ahead holds many opportunities for IFDA members and I’m excited to tell you about several of them.

If you haven’t logged on to explore the member-only side of the new IFDA website, I encourage you to do so at your earliest convenience and to ask your designated employees and staff members to do so as well. The new AMS capabilities are so far advanced in comparison to the old membership software. I know you will be impressed with what you see. IFDA Communications and IT Specialist, Melissa Bealon, spent a huge amount of time last year cleaning up the old database and website information, and researching, comparing, proposing and converting to the new AMS. Increased networking opportunities between fellow members and IFDA will be an added member benefit with the new AMS.  Melissa also recently resurrected the IFDA Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

You now have the ability to track not only your IFDA earned continuing education credits under your profile but also any hours you’ve earned from other providers as well as your designations. IFDA is off to a great start for the 2015-2017 licensing period and has offered you a total of 41 categorized continuing education classroom hours already in just the first 4 months of the new licensing period ~ 23 Funeral Directing hours, 12 Embalming hours and 6 General Elective hours.

Another benefit of the new AMS is the online learning option that will renovate our home study program. Certifications are sent by email when you complete and pass the test. You can login to your profile and under the Professional Development tab you can view and print your CE transcripts at any time.  We plan to introduce you to a new online CE course in the very near future. IFDA Bookkeeper and Operational Assistant, Elizabeth Lovegrove will be adding the home study courses to the new site for you to take online.

I’m also pleased to tell you about the upcoming Career Center enhancement that will be implemented soon. It includes a career planning area to help job seekers negotiate employment contracts and search engine optimization that will maximize the number of visitors to the site, allowing you to find or fill a position.

Your IFDA Board of Directors and staff are working hard on a Strategic Plan. As an IFDA member, you are an owner of this association and we need to know your thoughts, wishes and ideas. I encourage you to take part in IFDA surveys and member forums and to share your opinions with us.

IFDA is also working on a financing option that you can offer to families for help with funeral funding at time of need. 

The 2016 IFDA Convention will be held at the Tinley Park Convention Center June 27-29 and I invite you to make plans now to attend. We have an excellent lineup of speakers and you will have the opportunity to achieve your NFDA Certified Crematory Operator designation on June 30th. Twenty-four attendees received their CCO designation at the 2015 IFDA Convention.

NFDA will launch Have the Talk of a Lifetime to the consumer in early 2016. Are you ready? IFDA Immediate Past President, Jay Markwell joined me last year to put on a program at the Taylorville Police Department for their local senior citizens. We invited local IFDA member funeral directors and coroners to help answer any questions. There was a lot of good dialogue and attendees really seemed to enjoy it. IFDA has been invited to present a similar program for the Cook County Elder Justice Center. Please consider promoting the Have the Talk of a Lifetime campaign and educating those in your community on the benefits of preplanning and memorialization.

I also want to encourage you to share any upcoming milestones with IFDA so we can let others know of your achievements. Please send your IFDA Member News to info@ifda.org so we can include it in upcoming issues of the IFDA E-News Bulletin.

Mary Carey
Executive Director

Military Funeral Honors For Illinois Veterans
 

IFDA talked with representatives from the Illinois Army National Guard Survivor Services Program to get an update on the latest information available for providing Military Funeral Honors within the state of Illinois for Veterans in honorable standing of the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
Here's what we learned -

Depending on the branch of service and your location, it can be hard to find an honor detail. To facilitate the process, the Army National Guard Survivor Services Program provides coordination of Military Funeral Honors for any eligible Veteran regardless of branch of service. For a Veteran to receive Military Funeral Honors through the Illinois Army National Survivor Services Program, follow these steps:

Start by contacting the branch of service (Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, etc.) in which the deceased served or you can contact the IL Army National Guard Military Funeral Honors Office in your area (see the Military Funeral Honors Map below to see which office is assigned to your county).  The Military Funeral Honors for Illinois Veterans Brochure (see below) has branch contact information for you. The branch of service in which the deceased served must be provided the opportunity to perform the Honors. If they cannot perform the Honors then complete the Right of First Refusal (see form below).  Once this is completed then you can complete the Request for Military Funeral Honors Form (see form below) and forward it to the IL Army National Guard Military Funeral Honors Office in your area. The office will make contact with you to confirm and will provide the Military Funeral Honors for the deceased.

All of the above documents are loaded into the Forms Library.

   
IRS Announces 2016 Standard Mileage Rates for Business
 

Dec.17, 2015
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2016 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 54 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 57.5 cents for 2015
  • 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 23 cents for 2015
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business mileage rate decreased 3.5 cents per mile and the medical, and moving expense rates decrease 4 cents per mile from the 2015 rates. The charitable rate is based on statute.  See the full announcement here.

Changes to the Funeral Directors and Embalmers Licensing Code Effective January 1, 2016: IDFPR Lifts 40 Year CE Exemption
 

A licensee who has been engaged in the practice of funeral directing and embalming for at least 40 years is exempt from CE requirements. The exemption had to be received by January 1, 2016. 225 ILCS 41/10-35.

As you know, IFDA very strongly opposed the lifting of the 40 year exemption when it was proposed as part of a large package of changes to the rules that were due to sunset in 2013. IDFPR determined that as long as you are still a practicing licensee, you need to be up to date on your continuing education. IDFPR refused to negotiate on this and it was not just Funeral Director & Embalmer licensees that were targeted with this exemption but a broad range of other licenses as well.

Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, a person who is licensed as a funeral director and embalmer under this Code and who has engaged in the practice of funeral directing and embalming for at least 40 years shall be exempt from the continuing education requirements of this Section. Licensees who have not engaged in the practice of funeral directing and embalming for at least 40 years by January 1, 2016 shall not receive this exemption after that date. In addition, the Department shall establish by rule an exemption or exception, for a limited period of time, for funeral directors and embalmers who, by reason of advanced age, health or other extreme condition, should reasonably be excused from the continuing education requirement upon the approval of the Secretary. Those persons, identified above, who cannot attend on-site classes, shall have the opportunity to comply by completing home study courses designed for them by sponsors. (Source: P.A. 96-1463, eff. 1-1-11; 97-1130, eff. 8-28-12.)

Check Out IFDA's Facebook and LinkedIn Pages
  Be sure to check out the IFDA Facebook page and give us a "like"!
  While you're at it, check out the IFDA LinkedIn page too!
Illinois Rx Card Program Offers Savings
  The program is designed to help those who do not have prescription drug coverage or who have coverage but are subject to large deductibles, large co-pays, formulary limitations, dosing limitations, gaps, and/or any cash out-of-pocket expenses.   It's a free program open to all Illinois residents that wish to save on their prescription prices. There are no premiums or deductibles associated with this program whatsoever.  Follow this link for more information.
NFDA Meet the Mentors Submissions Sought  

Many of you know a young funeral director or two who would benefit from participating in NFDA’s Meet the Mentors. Only 50 funeral directors under 40 will be randomly selected for this exclusive opportunity to interact with successful funeral directors (Mentors) and network with peers over a three day period. The Funeral Service Foundation (FSF) has provided a generous grant to cover all expenses and registration fees with the exception of travel to the event, so the individual only needs to pay for their transportation costs.

Enter now for your chance to be part of an extraordinary professional opportunity – Meet the Mentors*! Fifty funeral directors age 40 and under will be randomly selected to participate in an exclusive in-person meeting with some of the profession’s leading funeral directors.

The value gained through interacting with innovative, successful industry leaders and networking with other young professionals during this program is like no other! Please share this opportunity with eligible peers and staff members.

This once-in-a-lifetime event takes place March 13-15 at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta. The entry deadline is Friday, January 15. Enter or share today!

This, That & The Other
 
  • Stop by the New Website FAQ page for info on how to post a picture on your profile.  
 
  • IDFPR will be using email as a primary notification method for license renewal and other notifications.  It is critical that the Department has the primary email address and phone number for all licensees. Be sure to visit - http://www.idfpr.com/addressUpdate.asp to update your information.
 
  •  HEADS UP!!  It's not quite time yet, but when the time comes (in a couple of months), dues statements will be posted to your profile instead of being mailed.  You will be able to print your statement and pay directly from your profile.  You will receive several email notices letting you know your dues are about to expire.
District News
   January 27, 2016 - Northeastern IL Funeral Directors Assn, see attached
   April 21, 2016 - McLean County Funeral Directors Assn, see attached
   

 Attached Files:

Tags:  40 year exemption  Career Center  Certification  Facebook  IDFPR  IRS  license code  LinkedIn  mileage rates  Military Funeral Honors  New Website FAQ  NFDA Mentors Program  veterans 

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