NARFE NewsWatch
Sep. 1, 2015

Advocacy opportunities abound this Labor Day weekend
NARFE
The upcoming Labor Day holiday signals the August congressional recess is drawing to a close. And that means members of Congress will soon be back to work. If you haven't been able to meet with your representatives and senators during the extended recess, don't be discouraged. Attending holiday parades, picnics and community fairs is a great way to engage in grass-roots activity – plus, you get to support your community. Take a few moments during the fun to talk to your members of Congress and/or candidates running for office. Sharing a few pertinent points about federal employees and retirees in your community can produce valuable results when lawmakers return to Washington. Learn more by exploring NARFE's Toolkit. And remember to wear your NARFE gear — hats, T-shirts and buttons – when you attend the weekend's events!

If you have questions, please don't hesitate to contact NARFE's Legislative Department staff at leg@narfe.org, or 703-838-7760, ext. 201.More

Social Security
NARFE
Question: My spouse and I both worked under Social Security. He is currently receiving benefits, but I want to wait until age 70 so the delayed retirement credits will make my benefits higher. Someone told me that, when I reach my full retirement age of 66 later this year, I can apply for benefits as a spouse. Is this correct?More

NARFE hopes 2009 bill can help stop 2016 Medicare hikes
Federal Times
Federal retirees won't know if they'll get a cost-of-living adjustment until October, but the possibility of a COLA-less 2016 has some worried about a Medicare price hike on the horizon. Officials at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association sounded a warning bell Aug. 27 that without legislation, premiums for Medicare Part B beneficiaries could jump 52 percent next year, leaving many with higher medical costs.More

Obama issues plan to give feds 1.3 percent raise in 2016
Government Executive
President Barack Obama issued an alternative pay plan Aug. 28, setting an across-the-board increase for civilian federal employees of 1.3 percent in 2016. The figure matches the amount the president requested in his fiscal 2016 budget proposal. Obama issued a separate plan providing a 1.3 percent boost in monthly basic pay rates for military service members.More

Sequestration rears its ugly head in year-end spending trends
Federal News Radio
The final push to spend fiscal 2015 money begins Sept. 1. And with sequestration rearing its ugly head once again and Congress speaking out of both sides of its mouth about a shutdown or no shutdown starting Oct. 1, agencies seem to be going on a spending spree before the 2016 horror story returns. "We are looking at agencies motivated right now to spend against any authority they have, even multi-year money because theoretically that multi-year money could be reduced by a certain authority come Oct. 1," said Steve Charles, co-founder of the ImmixGroup. More

The Uberizing of the government workforce
Governing The States and Localities
More and more, state and local governments are turning to temporary and contract employees in the wake of the Great Recession, which left their workforces shrunken by some 600,000 workers. Forty-two percent of human-resources managers surveyed this year by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence reported that they were hiring temporary or contract employees.More

Take control of your 6 biggest retirement expenses
U.S. News & World Report
Now that the stock market has shown us we cannot always rely on capital gains from our investments, or extra income from our savings, it may be time to take a closer look at the other side of the ledger: our retirement expenses. Not the little ones, like the cable TV bill or your morning latte, but the big ones that really make a difference in your budget. It might reassure you to know that, on average, household expenses steadily decline with age, falling on average almost 20 percent between ages 65 and 75 and a total of 35 percent by age 85, according to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. More

Clear medicine cabinet of potential hazards
DEA.gov
Incidences of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Enter the Drug Enforcement Administration, coordinator of Drug Take-Back Day. National Prescription Drug Take-Back will take place Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. local time in every state but Pennsylvania and Delaware, where the event will take place Sept. 12. As with the previous nine Take-Back events, sites will be set up throughout communities nationwide, so local residents can return their unwanted, unneeded or expired prescription drugs for safe disposal. Collection sites in every local community can be found by going to www.dea.gov. This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.More

Best strategies for fall 2015 airline travel
Forbes
Unless you love to look at autumn leaves, it’s rare that you're thinking about a fall vacation. But that's exactly when you should book an airplane trip, if you like travel bargains. Some of the lowest airfares for both U.S. and global destinations are offered in the fall, Patrick Surry, chief data scientist at Hopper, a fare tracking app, told FORBES.More

5 questions to ask yourself before starting your own business
U.S. News & World Report
There are many reasons people contemplate opening their own home-based small business or consulting practice. On the one hand, this might be a lifelong goal. Or, on the other hand, you might have been downsized out of your job, have some capital to invest and feel like this is a viable alternative to seeking another job. Whatever your background, think about the following points, among many others, in your decision-making process.More

Consumer reports: Conventional ground beef twice as likely to contain superbugs as sustainable beef
ConsurmerReports.com via Food Manufacturing
In Consumer Reports new tests of ground beef, 18 percent of the beef samples from conventionally raised cows contained dangerous superbugs resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics used to treat illness in humans compared with just 9 percent of beef from samples that were sustainably produced. Consumer Reports' investigation comes as food poisonings are striking an estimated 48 million people in the U.S. each year with beef being a top cause of outbreaks. Compounding the issue, Americans often prefer their beef on the rare side. More