NARFE NewsWatch
Mar. 3, 2015

NARFE sends letter to House and Senate Budget Committees
In a letter to leaders of both House and Senate Budget Committees, NARFE President Richard G. Thissen warned legislators against weakening federal government operations by continued attempts to resolve budget deficits by reducing the pay and earned benefits of federal employees and retirees. Thissen urged passage of a budget that would reflect “the value our nation’s public servants provide.” Read the entire text of the letter here.

NARFE members whose representative or senators are members of the House or Senate Budget Committee can help at this critical time by sending a letter asking them to support a budget that ends sequestration and adequately funds the government operations mandated by Congress, with no cuts to the pay and earned benefits of federal employees and retirees. The letter can be found in the NARFE Legislative Action Center online. You will be asked to enter your ZIP code to determine if your legislators are members of the Budget Committees.More

FEHBP coverage for spouse
Question: Due to my wife's recent full-time employment, including medical benefits, I switched my own Federal Employees Health Benefits Program plan to self-only. I am having second thoughts about whether to continue with self-only or include her in my federal plan during the next Open Season. I am concerned that, in the event I pass away while a federal employee, my wife would not be able to join my federal health plan. Upon my death, I want to ensure that she can stop working at any time and be covered under my medical plan. I am retirement-eligible, as I meet the age and service requirements, and have been covered by the FEHBP for at least the past five years. More

Where is phased retirement? Agencies keep feds waiting
Federal Times
Jean Rigdon had been looking forward to phased retirement ever since Congress passed legislation in 2012, and was eager to submit her application after the Office of Personnel Management finished the rule Aug. 7, 2014. A chemistry lab technician at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Jackson, Mississippi, Rigdon wanted to cap her 33 years of federal service with two years of phased retirement, during which she could mentor younger employees and create a guide to cover issues that do not come up in employee training.More

This bill would halt Congress' pay if Homeland Security shuts down
The Washington Post
A potential Department of Homeland Security shutdown would directly affect lawmakers' pocketbooks under a bill introduced in the House. The Democratic measure, sponsored by Reps. Brad Ashford, Nebraska; Gwen Graham, Florida; Scott Peter, California; and Ami Bera, California, would halt pay for members of Congress if they don't agree to a new round of funding for the agency by March 6, in which case DHS would partially close.More

IG: Customers and businesses still value Postal Service for door delivery
Both consumers and businesses still value postal services, especially door and curb delivery and access to post offices, according to a Feb. 23 report compiled by the Postal Service inspector general and Gallup. The IG says the study is the first of its kind in the United States and looked into four attributes of the USPS: mode of delivery, access to postal services, frequency of delivery and price.More

VA employee reforms, good or not, could be road map for other agencies
The Washington Post
Civil service reform is a hardy perennial that doesn't die, but also doesn't bloom. Good-government groups call for changes in reports that are read, discussed and shelved. President Barack Obama's repeated proposals for a Commission of Federal Public Service Reform have been ignored by Congress. He first made that call in 2011, then in each budget request since, although the White House has put no energy behind it.More

Options for disposing of a 2nd home
Many people buy a second property in retirement, one that's used primarily for vacations. You may enjoy seeing your children, grandchildren and other relatives gather to celebrate holidays and other occasions. Overall, about 1 in 10 homeowners have a second home. Trouble can arise, though, when a vacation home passes to the next generation.More

Lay off the mega-doses of Vitamin D
The Washington Post
Vitamin D, in combination with calcium, is good for your bones. You should consume modest amounts in your diet, if possible, or in the form of supplements if you can't get enough via food and drink. We know this. But somehow we've arrived at a point when some physicians are prescribing large doses of Vitamin D supplements for their patients in the hope of preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and other maladies, despite a lack of evidence that this works, according to a new commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Other people are loading up on Vitamin D on their own.More

Tips for job seekers 50 and older
Lexington Herald-Leader
The new job market has made steady gains. It's evident when unemployment statistics are announced each month and show that the unemployment rate steadily drops. But many individuals are still stressed and without a job with competitive wages. The unemployed or underemployed have to approach their job search differently than 10 years ago. This is particularly true for those closing in on 50 or those over 50. More

5 surprising, little-known airline guarantees
ABC News
As anyone who has flown recently knows so well, bad things can happen to air travelers. If you're not getting stung by a scorpion, you're stuck in a storm. You can complain, but how much good does that do? Mostly, we suck it up. After all, there are no money-back guarantees. Or are there?More

5 illegal tactics shady debt collectors love
CBS News
For a lot of debt collection companies, it's hard to stay on the right side of the law. That's because consumers have protections under federal law intended to stop debt collectors from using underhanded tactics to force payments to be made. On Feb. 26, two New York-based debt collection firms that allegedly abused consumers were shut down by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General's Office.More