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NEWS FROM NARFE

NARFE president testifies at congressional hearing on OPM retirement claims backlog
NARFE
NARFE President Richard G. Thissen testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce this week on the progress the Office of Personnel Management is making in decreasing its backlog of retirement annuity claims. NARFE heard from hundreds of its members about their personal experience and incorporated those stories into the testimony. A copy of Thissen's written testimony and NARFE's press release regarding the hearing are available on the NARFE website.

Thissen's testimony focused on three main areas: the progress OPM has made in tackling the backlog; the high error rates in agency retirement submissions; and OPM’s IT Strategic Plan moving forward. Thissen stressed the need to move to a paperless system, but also urged caution in doing so, as attempts made in the past have failed. Watch the full hearing here.
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FEDERAL BENEFITS QUESTION OF THE WEEK


Annuity calculation
NARFE
Question: I need to contact the Office of Personnel Management about my monthly retirement calculation. The figures from my agency were higher than what OPM calculated.
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FEDERAL UPDATE


OPM plots steps to modernize retirement system IT in 2015
Federal News Radio
The Office of Personnel Management has reduced the retirement claims backlog by almost 10,000 over the last 10 months and is processing claims on average in 37 days. And in light of that progress, OPM will try for a fifth time to modernize the technology behind the retirement systems.
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What the NDAA means for feds
Federal Times
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act Dec. 12, funding several policy changes for civilian federal employees along with a host of defense initiatives. The $584.2 billion bill passed the Senate 89-11. It passed the House on Dec. 4. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, noted that the 2015 NDAA is the 53rd straight defense authorization bill to pass in as many years.
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Congress passes bill to auto-enroll new feds in TSP's Lifecycle Funds
Federal News Radio
Congress has passed a bill that will automatically enroll new federal employees in the Thrift Savings Plan's Lifecycle Funds, rather than the Government Securities Investment Fund. The Smart Savings Act, introduced by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa,R-Calif., was passed by the Senate Dec. 10. The bill was initially introduced in the House in March of this year, and passed there in July. It now heads to President Barack Obama for his approval.
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FINANCES


4 ways to reduce expenses in retirement
U.S. News & World Report
One retirement planning rule of thumb is to replace about 80 percent of your income. This is a good starting point, but many retirees tend to spend more when they first retire. If you are still healthy and active in your early 60s, this time can be used to fulfill your lifelong dreams.
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HEALTH


8 foods that fight arthritis
Healthline
Arthritis, a form of rheumatic disease, is characterized by inflammation and loss of function in some parts of the body. Osteoarthritis damages cartilage, joints and bones. It's the most common type of arthritis, affecting more than 27 million Americans according to the CDC.
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TRAVEL


This is the No. 1 travel destination for 2015
TIME
Travel guide book publisher Lonely Planet has unveiled its list of the best U.S. travel destinations for the coming year, and the winner is Queens, New York. "With microbreweries springing up, new boutique hotels, a reinvented seaside at Rockaway, a world-class art scene, and a truly global food culture, 2015 is the year to try Queens," Lonely Planet explains on its site.
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CONSUMER TIPS


14 retailers with generous return policies
Kiplinger
Most merchants give customers at least 30 days to return items, and several well-known retailers — including Home Depot, Lowe's, Target, Toys "R" Us and Walmart — have a 90-day return window for most items. However, some stores are even more generous when it comes to granting exchanges and refunds.
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We are NARFE. Join us!
The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association is the only membership organization solely dedicated to protecting and preserving the benefits of all federal workers and retirees. NARFE is your legislative voice and your information resource. Join now.

Visit NARFE on the Web at www.narfe.org.



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NARFE NewsWatch from the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
Disclaimer: The articles that appear in NARFE NewsWatch are chosen from a variety of sources to reflect topics of interest to active and retired federal employees. With the exception of Federal Benefits Question of the Week and News From NARFE, an article's inclusion in NARFE NewsWatch does not imply that the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) endorses, supports or verifies its contents or expressed opinions. Factual errors are the responsibility of the listed publication.

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
Bianca Gibson, Executive Editor, 469.420.2611   Contribute news
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