NARFE NewsWatch
Feb. 8, 2011

Employee group shows impact of proposed cuts on government services
The Washington Post
Federal employee organizations have been speaking out against plans to cut the federal work force that have gained traction since the Republicans won the House in November. The pushback has come in mostly predictable ways that probably have done little to show the public that cutting the work force could hurt services that taxpayers find essential. More

Out-of-pocket costs by Medicare patients significantly dings incomes
The Salt Lake Tribune
Out-of-pocket spending by Medicare beneficiaries is eating significant holes in elders' incomes even as the federal government has denied cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits for two years in a row. A recent report shows median out-of-pocket Medicare spending reached $3,103 a year in 2006. The research concluded that 10 percent — more than 4 million people — of those receiving Medicare benefits spent more than $8,300 of their own money on health care per year. More

Sen. Daniel Akaka talks about federal work force issues
The Washington Post
Sen. Daniel K. Akaka is starting his fourth year as chairman of the Senate subcommittee on the federal work force. It promises not to be like the last. Being chairman of the subcommittee this year means taking the point for Democrats as they deal with a beefed-up crew of Republicans who see budget cuts when they view a work force that Akaka, D-Hawaii, has long championed. More

Could mom's stroke predict daughter's heart attack?
A new study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, finds that a mother's history of stroke may affect her daughter's chances of having a heart attack. Researchers from the University of Oxford looked at 2,200 men and women who had had heart attacks, stroke or some other coronary problem. Overall, more than 24 percent of those who had had heart disease had a family history of stroke in a first-degree relative, like a parent or sibling. About the same percentage of patients who had had a stroke themselves also had a family history of stroke. More

Family caregivers embrace mobile technology to aid loved ones
Each year, caregivers provide an estimated $375 billion worth of uncompensated aid to family members, according to The National Alliance for Caregiving. Mobile applications, such as those that monitor medication compliance and track locations using GPS, could make this job easier, and caregivers are increasingly embracing these innovations. The alliance and United HealthCare have released the results of a study called "e-Connected Family Caregiver: Bringing Caregiving into the 21st Century" that measured how receptive caregivers were to using emerging technologies.More

Older workers must market their skills
Statesman Journal
Jane Norton is a program manager with Easter Seals Senior Community Services Employment Program. She oversees efforts to find employment for low-income people who are 55 years or older. Norton said older workers have much experience to offer employers, but sometimes their job interviewing skills are lacking.More

Switching gears at retirement: Going from savings to spending mode
After a lifetime of living below one's means and saving and investing wisely, it can be a bit frightening when it comes time for retirement, knowing that there may not be any further earned income to help pay the bills. Once retired, any additional money needed to pay for essential living costs and desired leisure expenses over and above any pension and Social Security will now have to come from that precious nest egg that has taken a lifetime to build up. Changing a lifetime of habits doesn't come easy. New retirees now need to switch gears and mentally prepare for perhaps 20 or more years of spending down their hard-won retirement fund. More

Why more Americans don't travel abroad
The numbers tell the story: Of the 308 million-plus citizens in the United States, 30 percent have passports. That's just too low for such an affluent country, said Bruce Bommarito, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the U.S. Travel Association. There were 61.5 million trips outside the United States in 2009, down 3 percent from 2008, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. About 50 percent of those trips were to either Mexico or Canada, destinations that didn't require a passport until 2007. More

Do you know your rights when it comes to gift cards?
New Federal Reserve regulations implemented after the passage of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act stipulate that any gift certificate or card has to be good for a full five years after issuance. This holds true whether the card is issued by a store, restaurant or other retail establishment, or issued by one of the big guns, such as Visa or American Express. More

A NARFE member asks about an increase in tax withholding
Question: I received notification from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that more federal taxes are being taken out of my annuity. Is this a tax hike on retirement income or are everyone's taxes being raised? I thought Congress had passed legislation to extend the current tax rates.More

Let the 90th anniversary celebrations begin
NARFE celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2011 (Feb. 19 to be exact). To help members mark the occasion, the Association has three products for sale at nominal prices: a NARFE history book, a NARFE history PowerPoint presentation for chapters and federations to use at meetings and conventions, and a commemorative anniversary pin. NARFE is "90 Years Strong" in 2011. Show your pride and purchase these anniversary items today.More

NARFE announces members-only online retirement planning calculator
In an effort to provide its members with the latest tools to plan their retirement, NARFE, in partnership with Economic Systems Inc., is announcing the availability of a members-only, online self-study retirement seminar and retirement benefits calculator.More