NARFE NewsWatch
Jul. 15, 2015

OPM security breach update
The resignation of Katherine Archuleta as director of the Office of Personnel Management capped weeks of drama over the agency's cybersecurity breaches. Read NARFE President Richard G. Thissen's statement on Archuleta's resignation on the NARFE website.

OPM issued a press release July 9 with new information on the second breach, which was originally announced June 12. While OPM had previously confirmed that 4.2 million individuals were affected by the first breach of personnel records, it said that 21.5 million individuals were affected by the second breach. Of those affected, 3.6 million were hit by both breaches, putting the final tally at 22.1 million individuals affected by these intrusions into OPM’s computer systems. Those impacted by the second breach include 19.7 million individuals who applied for a background investigation, such as federal employees; federal retirees; contractors and job applicants; and 1.8 million nonapplicants, predominantly spouses or cohabitants of applicants.

Those impacted will be notified once OPM selects a vendor to provide credit monitoring and other services. This process will take several more weeks. There is no sign that information has been misused since the breaches were discovered by OPM in May. As of now, there is no indication that systems holding retirement, health, financial or payroll information were compromised. OPM is updating its Frequently Asked Questions page on a regular basis.

NARFE continues to be in communication with OPM officials. More details can be found on NARFE's updated OPM Security Breach page on the NARFE website.

If you have questions, please continue to contact NARFE's Federal Benefits Service Department at or 703-838-7760.More

NARFE testifies before House committee
NARFE Federal Benefits Service Director David Snell testified July 8 before two subcommittees of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology – the Subcommittee on Research and Technology and the Subcommittee on Oversight. In the hearing titled "Is the OPM Data Breach the Tip of the Iceberg?," subcommittee members heard testimony on the national security implications of the breaches, the effects on federal workers and retirees, and what can be done going forward to improve the federal government's cybersecurity.

Snell's complete written testimony, which was submitted to both subcommittees, is available on the NARFE website.More

Social Security and FERS
I will be age 62 in a few months. I am under the Federal Employees Retirement System and plan to retire at the end of the year. I will draw a FERS annuity as well as Social Security. Will my FERS annuity be considered taxable income to the Social Security Administration, and will my Social Security benefit be taxed for it?More

Archuleta could not overcome loss of confidence following cyber thefts
The Washington Post
For Sen. Mark Warner it wasn't the crime as much as the counter-punch that finished Katherine Archuleta. After five weeks of increasing heat over revelations about the massive breakdown in the Office of Personnel Management's cyber security program, Archuleta quit July 10 as agency director.More

Cardin, Mikulski, Warner, Kaine call for stronger protections for millions affected by OPM data breaches
Augusta Free Press
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md., with Senators Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., have introduced legislation to better protect federal workers and all those potentially affected by the recent cyberattacks on the Office of Personnel Management data system. Outraged by the expanse of the breach, the senators found the response by OPM to be severely lacking in the duration and extent of coverage for those who had their most sensitive information stolen off the government system.More

David Snell: OPM data breach raises more questions than answers
Federal News Radio
We know a little more now about both cyber breaches at the Office of Personnel Management. But there are still plenty of questions. David Snell is the director of the federal benefits service department at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. He testified before the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittees on Research and Technology and Oversight last week.More

Federal retirement contributions and pension calculations: More changes coming?
Will the amount a federal employee must contribute to a future pension go up in the near future? Will the computation for calculating the amount of the pension contribution change from a "high three" to a "high five"? No one knows with any certainty what will emerge from Congress on these issues. More

Federal marriage benefits now available to same-sex couples nationwide
The Washington Post
Federal marriage benefits will become available to same-sex couples in all 50 states, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced July 9, a change that follows the Supreme Court's historic ruling that all same-sex couples in the country have the right to get married.More

5 nasty surprises of early retirement
U.S. News & World Report
Being able to retire early is the pinnacle of financial planning. It brings together years of hard work, discipline and compromises to a joyful celebration. But not everything will be rosy with an early exit. Here are some of the challenges of early retirement.More

FDA strengthens heart safety warnings on popular pain relievers
The Associated Press via Fox News
Federal health regulators are bolstering warning labels on popular pain relievers to reflect new information about their risks of heart attack and stroke. The changes announced June 9 apply to prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, including arthritis treatments like Celebrex. The agency said it plans to make similar changes to over-the-counter drugs in the same class, such as Advil and Motrin.More

Over 55 and overqualified: Advice for older job hunters
Losing a job is always a blow, but for those 55 and over it’s doubly hard. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that the incidence of long-term unemployment — defined as being out of work 27 weeks or more — rises with age. In 2014, just 22 percent of the unemployed under 25 were jobless 27 weeks or longer, but 45 percent of the 55-and-older unemployed were.More

The 10 best ways to use your miles and points
Smarter Travel
Frequent travelers come in many forms. The frugal guy who's always looking for a couch to crash on. The wealthy lady who cheerfully pulls out her plastic anytime she wants to go anywhere. And then there are the travel fanatics — the "mileage geeks." This type is neither rich nor cheap, but man do they know how to redeem.More

The hidden costs of free trials
U.S. News & World Report
You're human, and so you like free stuff. But the next time you see the word "free," keep in mind the old saying: There's no such thing as a free lunch – especially if it means you have to pay for breakfast and dinner to get that lunch. That doesn't mean you shouldn't accept a free offer. More