Senior federal officials honored for years of service
The Washington Post Share
Think you have a cool job? Well, have you argued 80 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court? Flown the heaviest payload ever loaded on to a Space Shuttle? Negotiated the treaty that established the International Space Station? Or sunk a 27,000-ton aircraft carrier so it can serve as the world’s largest man-made reef? The people who did are all senior career federal officials who earned Presidential Rank Awards, the nation's highest honor for federal civil servants. More
Beginning of the end for paper Social Security checks
The New York Times Share
On May 1, the federal government retired paper Social Security checks and switched to electronic deposits for new benefit applicants. Here are the details: As of May 1, paper checks are no longer an option for anyone applying for new federal benefits, whether through Social Security or other programs. Instead, applicants must arrange for direct deposit to a checking or savings account. People who don't have bank accounts, or who simply prefer it, can receive their payments on a prepaid "Direct Express" debit card. More
Obama instructs federal agencies to upgrade customer service
President Barack Obama has instructed federal agencies to come up with ways to use technology to improve their customer service offerings. Agencies have 180 days from the date of the executive order to develop customer service plans. As to what constitutes a good customer service plan, the executive order states, "The plan shall set forth the agency's approach, intended benefits and an implementation timeline." The goal of the plans is to do things such as establishing methods of soliciting customer feedback, setting clear customer service guidelines and streamlining agency processes to reduce costs. More
Are some blood pressure drugs easier to take?
When it comes to treating high blood pressure, people may be more likely to stick with certain types of medication than others, a new study suggests. In an analysis of 15 past studies, researchers found that, on average, people were less likely to adhere to prescriptions of diuretics — a long-used and cheap class of blood pressure drug sometimes referred to as water pills — than to relatively newer medications. More
Small changes enough to keep aging seniors in homes
McClatchy Newspapers via The Seattle Times Share
Replace doorknobs with levers. Widen door frames. Install a ramp over the front stoop. And maybe add a few electronic-monitoring devices. Those are solutions that help the elderly stay in their longtime homes — especially those with physical challenges. "Aging in place" is what most older Americans want. But in single-family houses, that can be hard to do. More
Resources for job-hunting seniors
The Wall Street Journal Share
The tough employment market of the past few years has been particularly hard on people age 55-plus. But older job seekers don't have to go it alone. A number of online tools — as well as in-person training centers scattered across the country — can provide support. More
Top 10 senior housing trends for 2011
Senior Housing News Share
Austerity was the most searched word on the Merriam-Webster online dictionary during 2010. In case you've been living under a rock the past two years, the word means "enforced or extreme economy." Quite different than luxury or other indulgent phrases that led up to the recession of the last few years. As you peruse this year's trends in senior housing, keep the word "austerity" in mind but contemplate a new bifurcated mindset: one for the wealthy and well prepared, and another for everyone else. More
50 ways retirees can cut their travel and leisure costs
Saving on travel and leisure costs during retirement doesn't mean that you have to queue up for sunset specials at local restaurants or think of bingo in the church basement as a big night on the town. Thanks in large part to the Internet, consumers of all ages have more ways to obtain discounts on dining, travel and entertainment than ever before. And retirees have an important advantage over people who are still working, in that they might have an extra measure of flexibility that enables them to pounce on last-minute deals or take advantage of off-peak pricing. More
Free checking: How to clear the hurdles
Despite what you might have heard, free checking accounts aren't dead. But you might have to work harder to find them or meet tougher requirements to avoid fees, especially among big banks. A 2010 survey by Bankrate.com, a website that aggregates information about financial institutions, found that 65 percent of bank checking accounts were "free," down from 76 percent the year before. More
A NARFE member asks about re-employment with the federal government
Question: Where can I get information on the law, passed in 2009, that allows the re-employment of civilian federal employees on a part-time basis without a salary offset? More
NARFE-FEEA Disaster Fund — NARFE members helping each other
NARFE members who incurred property damage in the recent tornadoes/storms may be eligible for NARFE's Disaster Relief Fund. Following a declared natural disaster, NARFE members can request a grant for assistance. Grants are subject to funds available and are limited to a maximum of $500 per family. More
Electronic payment is only option for new beneficiaries
NARFE's Retirement Benefits Service Department has reminded members that federal employees retiring on and after May 1 will only have two options for receiving their annuity payments from the Office of Personnel Management. The two options are either direct deposit of annuity benefits to an account at a financial institution or to a Treasury-recommended Direct Express Debit Mastercard account. More
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