NARFE NewsWatch
Feb. 12, 2013

Vote scheduled now! Tell your representative: No further federal pay freeze
NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin asks all NARFE members to help defeat a bill that would extend the federal employee pay freeze for a third year. The bill, H.R. 273, is expected to be voted on this week — perhaps as early as Thursday, Feb. 14. Federal employees have been under a pay freeze since January 2011. The freeze is scheduled to be lifted on March 27, when the existing Continuing Resolution, a stop-gap spending measure, expires. Federal employees would then get a 0.5 percent increase for the remainder of 2013. NARFE has a strong message of opposition to the pay-freeze extension bill ready for you to send to your representative. To send it, click here.More

Furlough Q&As
Question: Where can I find guidance in the event my agency furloughs me?More

Obama to back 1 percent pay boost for feds next year
Government Executive
President Obama is proposing a 1 percent pay increase for federal civilian employees in fiscal year 2014, according to federal employee labor unions. The White House announced the decision to recommend the pay bump in Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget proposal during a phone call with labor leaders. Obama is seeking a 0.5 percent pay increase for federal employees this year, scheduled to take effect after March 27, unless Congress blocks it. Federal civilian pay has been frozen since 2011. The defense department said it would recommend a 1 percent pay increase for troops in fiscal year 2014.More

White House warns of sequestration damage across government
Federal Times
If sequestration takes effect March 1, more than 1,000 FBI and other federal law enforcement agents would be sidelined, hundreds of federal prosecutors and thousands of food safety inspectors would be furloughed, and widespread furloughs at the Internal Revenue Service would leave millions of taxpayers unable to get answers from IRS call centers as the April 15 tax deadline approaches, according to the White House.More

USPS employees to see less overtime, more buyouts under 5-day delivery plan
Federal News Radio
The Postal Service's decision to move to five-day-a-week delivery for first-class mail means that employees will see fewer overtime hours and another round of buyouts. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the reduction in service would be the equivalent of 22,500 employees who would no longer be needed to process and deliver mail.More

GOP lawmakers want more oversight of union workers with federal salaries
Government Executive
A group of Republican lawmakers is calling for more transparency in the practice of "official time" — when public-sector union officials receive taxpayer-funded salaries and work in government offices — proposing a bill to require an annual report detailing its use. The legislation — H.R. 568, sponsored by Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla. — calls for the Office of Personnel Management to submit a yearly report to Congress "relating to the use of official time by federal employees." Congress last required OPM to report on official time in 1998, and the agency did so voluntarily from 2002-2010.More

Reverse-mortgage redo
The Wall Street Journal
In an effort to shore up the federally backed reverse-mortgage program, federal housing officials are scrapping the most popular type of reverse mortgage on the market today, a move that will reduce the amount homeowners can borrow with a fixed-interest-rate loan. But the older homeowners who use these mortgages — and the family members who advise them — can still find ways to structure a reverse mortgage to meet their needs.More

Exercise now to reduce dementia risk later in life
Everyday Health
Here's one powerful reason to go to the gym today: Your level of cardiovascular fitness now might lower your risk for dementia later in life, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Between 1970 and 2009, researchers at a community health center gave treadmill tests to more than 19,000 generally healthy, nonelderly adults. The participants who performed the best on treadmill tests were the least likely to experience any type of dementia after age 65.More

Best places for a working retirement in 2013
A retirement lifestyle increasingly can include part-time work to supplement pensions, Social Security, 401(k)s and other resources, or just to stay mentally engaged. Here is Forbes' list of the 25 best U.S. cities — actually, metropolitan areas or divisions — for a working retirement. They examined job growth trends and unemployment rates along with cost-of-living issues, taxes and other factors like crime rates, doctors per capita and air quality.More

Moving on out: Baby boomers' housing choices vary in retirement
The Miami Herald
There was a time when retirement meant a move to a community where all your neighbors belonged to the same generation: Old. No more. As baby boomers begin to retire, they're going their own way — or ways — when it comes to housing choices and relocation strategies. "As they age, boomers are going to be doing a lot of different things," says John McIlwain, who just completed a housing report on the generation for the Urban Land Institute. "There's not going to be just one trend."More

How to cruise solo
The New York Times
Toying with the idea of setting sail on your own? Consider your age, your budget and — perhaps most important — your goal. Are you looking for romance? Enrichment? Rest and relaxation? Take your pick, then dive in alone.More

Five unethical collection scams that consumers should be aware of
In today's cash-strapped economy, many Americans are dealing with high levels of debt. When debt goes unpaid, collection agencies begin to call, and sometimes their collection methods can be downright frightening. Struggling consumers need to know their rights and what to do should they encounter a collection scam. Some collection agencies will go to any length to get their money, and they are not above scaring consumers out of their money. Here is a look at five unethical collection scams that consumers need to be aware of.More