NARFE NewsWatch
Mar. 10, 2015

Bill introduced to repeal GPO and WEP
The Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision have an impact on more than two million retirees by taking away their earned Social Security benefits, costing them thousands of dollars of income each year. Recently introduced in the House by Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Illinois, the Social Security Fairness Act of 2015 (H.R. 973) aims to repeal these two unfair provisions. The GPO prevents retirees who receive a government annuity based on work in non-Social Security-covered employment from collecting full Social Security benefits based on their spouse's work. The WEP greatly reduces the Social Security benefit of retirees who worked in Social Security-covered employment and who also receive an annuity based on their non-Social Security-covered government jobs. The GPO and WEP penalize individuals who have dedicated their lives to public service.

NARFE supports H.R. 973 and the repeal of the GPO and WEP. Now available on the Legislative Action Center is an action letter you can send to your members of Congress, urging them to cosponsor H.R. 973 or thanking them for supporting this legislation. More

Direct deposit
Question: Could you tell me how I can change the direct deposit of my annuity? More

Bill would switch federal pensions to 'high five' system
Federal Times
Federal employees would see their pension calculations changed from the average of their highest three years of pay to the average of their highest five years of pay, under a new bill introduced March 4. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., would go into effect Jan. 1, 2017, and would save $3.1 billion over a 10-year period, according to calculations by the Congressional Budget Office.More

New Postmaster General pledges 'faster pace of change' during swearing in
The Washington Post
Megan Brennan recently called the U.S. Postal Service an "indispensable part of the American economy and the everyday lives of the public," but acknowledged that in a fast-changing digital world, the mail agency needs to "embrace a faster pace of change" and "constantly improve our competitiveness." The comments from the 74th postmaster general came during a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at Postal Service headquarters at L'Enfant Plaza, where the first woman to lead the agency described mail as the family business growing up in rural Pennsylvania.More

Bill boosting federal sick leave for disabled vets advances
Federal Times
Service-disabled veterans who become federal employees would start their careers with paid sick leave available, under legislation passed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee March 4. Currently, there is no special accommodation for such employees. The Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act would give them 104 hours starting out, instead of starting from zero and accruing more leave as federal employees currently do.More

An end to government shutdowns? New bill proposes fix
Federal Times
The federal government – and its employees – would no longer have to fear a possible government shutdown, under legislation being developed by Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla. The Shut Down the Shutdowns Act would automatically implement a continuing resolution for any program, project or activity for which funding has lapsed without congressional renewal, according to a letter Grayson sent to members of the House March 3.More

2016's zero-calorie COLA?
Federal News Radio
If you are retired, about to retire or have a friend or relative who's a former fed, do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let's go with good, which is: Thanks to the dramatic drop in oil prices the cost of living (as measured by the Labor Department) is going down. That's negative inflation. Great, right? Now for the bad, which is: Thanks to the dramatic drop in oil prices the cost of living (as measured by the Labor Department) is going down. That's negative inflation. Terrible, right?More

Should consumers mostly use credit or debit cards?
The Wall Street Journal
As Americans make a growing number of purchases with plastic, the question of what kind of card they use more often — credit or debit — has a clear answer. The number of purchases made with debit cards in the U.S. each year exceeded the number of purchases made with credit cards for the first time back in 2004, according to the Federal Reserve. And in 2012, debit cards were used to make 47 billion payments, compared with 26.2 billion payments made with credit cards. But are the people who pay with debit cards onto something, or would they be better off using credit cards for those purchases instead?More

Behavioral therapy helps more than drugs for dementia patients
When we think of Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, we think of the loss of memory or the inability to recognize familiar faces, places and things. But for caregivers, the bigger challenge often is coping with the other behaviors common in dementia: wandering, sleeplessness and anxiety or aggression.More

How to revitalize your job hunt
When you're preoccupied looking for a job, it's easy to become too focused on your resume, cover letters and applications to the exclusion of everything else in your life. Ironically, this laser focus may actually be preventing you from being successful. This year, consider taking the following steps and do something different to help you land an opportunity.More

Avoiding travel insurance gotchas
Chicago Tribune
If you're planning a big summer trip, chances are you're at least considering travel insurance. Travel insurance can either be a great idea — or a waste of money if you encounter a gotcha or two. Fortunately, you can avoid most gotchas if you buy and act carefully.More

5 things you should never buy at Costco, Sam's Club (and 6 things you should)
Buying in bulk seems like a great idea: Warehouse-type stores like Costco and Sam's Club promise more competitive prices than the average grocery store. Plus, consumers get to enjoy the pleasure of less-frequent shopping for oft-used staples — and the opportunity to ogle items like a 6-pound tub of shortening.More