NARFE NewsWatch
Mar. 19, 2013

Beaudoin urges NARFE members to meet with lawmakers
NARFE
The upcoming Easter/Passover congressional recess, March 23 through April 7, is an opportune time for NARFE members to reach out to lawmakers in their home states. Following closely on the heels of NARFE's Legislative Training Conference, Association President Joseph A. Beaudoin is urging NARFE members to "make the most of this momentum. I ask you to amplify the voices of NARFE leaders who attended our Conference by seeking out your senators and representative during the upcoming recess."

In addition to "Contact Me" or "Schedule a Meeting" web forms on congressional websites, the "Protect America's Heartbeat" Toolkit has all the information you need to set up a successful face-to-face meeting. The NARFE legislative staff can prepare a letter requesting a meeting for any NARFE leader or activist. Email leg@narfe.org with any questions.More

April issue of 'narfe' magazine is in the mail
NARFE
Whether you need help now with retirement claims processing or want to know how best to prepare in order to avoid unnecessary delays when you do approach retirement, you'll definitely want to read the cover story "Speeding the Retirement Journey" in the April issue of "narfe" magazine. A bonus: OPM's Retirement Checklist is included to assist federal employees with preparing retirement claims. The issue also features NARFE's annual state tax treatment of federal annuities for tax year 2012.More

Feds taxed under new health care law?
NARFE
Question: I heard that the new health care law requires all federal employees to pay income tax on the government-paid portion of our health care plan's cost. Is this true?More

Federal employees plan nationwide rallies to protest sequestration
PR Newswire via Yahoo News
Federal employees are planning to hold about 100 rallies across the country on March 20 protesting sequestration, as part of a mass demonstration organized by the American Federation of Government Employees. The events will take place outside federal agencies and lawmakers' offices to highlight the valuable work performed by federal employees at military bases, Social Security offices, federal prisons and thousands of other locations.More

Senate nears vote on bill keeping government open, freezing pay
Government Executive
The Senate hopes to have a final vote soon on legislation that extends the federal pay freeze in 2013 and funds the government through Sept. 30. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wanted to wrap up work on the Continuing Resolution, but tussles over 99 amendments and procedural issues have slowed momentum.More

Agencies suffering reductions in services even before furloughs occur
Federal News Radio
Sequestration-related furloughs may still be at least a month away, but agencies already are feeling the effects of budget cuts. Border patrol agents, transportation security officers (TSOs) and many other federal employees are beginning to experience major changes in how they do their jobs. Both border patrol agents and TSOs have been told by their respective agencies — Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration — that one way they will deal with cuts from sequestration is by ending overtime for workers.More

Feds: The most overstretched agencies
Federal Times
To compile its list of most overstretched agencies, Federal Times examined responses to two questions in the Office of Personnel Management's 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. One question asked employees whether they agree or disagree with the statement, "I have sufficient resources (for example, people, materials, budget) to get my job done." The other asked whether employees agree or disagree with the statement, "My workload is reasonable."More

Bolstering your benefits
The Wall Street Journal
As retirees look to squeeze the most from their Social Security benefits, financial firms and advocacy groups are offering more advice on maximizing payouts. Many variables affect Social Security benefits, from age and the timing of retirement for spouses to taxes, income from continuing work and income from tax-deferred retirement savings. By tweaking any of these, retirees might be able to boost or cut their payouts significantly. The permutations are confusing — even to people who consider themselves financially savvy.More

Health care prices remain a mystery in most states
Forbes
As public scrutiny intensifies over price transparency in health care, a new report shows 72 percent of the nation, or 36 states, failing to improve information to consumers on what medical treatments and procedures actually cost. The report from two business coalitions representing some of the nation's largest employers is the latest troubling sign that most prices in health care remain a mystery to consumers, employers and patients picking up the tab for health care services.More

What do you want to be, now that you're grown?
The New York Times
For most of Robert Strauss' working life, he never had to commute or see the inside of a cubicle. As a television critic, he was "forced" to watch the tube, and as a sportswriter, he inhabited stadiums and press boxes rather than dingy offices. So with the empty nest impending as his youngest daughter started her senior year of high school, he told friends that he was going to start testing jobs he might do in retirement. Their collective immediate reaction was, "Retire from what? We never thought you worked."More

How boomers can plan for living with children, family members in retirement
The Boomer via Fox Business
Boomers about to enter or just in retirement are learning that this massive transition changes their lifestyle and brings many financial decisions. Do you sell the family home and travel around the world, move to a warmer climate or relocate close to family? Ultimately, a lot has to do with your finances and where you live. In the past, many retirees downsized their homes as they aged, but the boomer generation might not be following tradition on this move. According to a study from MyMove.com, baby boomers are now "right sizing" for the needs of their new lifestyle, which can often involve adult children moving back home or housing grandchildren and other family members due to the current economic climate.More

8 trips you must do once
BudgetTravel
Looking for something besides yet another trip to the beach for your next vacation? From cooking lessons in the hills of Tuscany to snorkeling the waters off Belize, these eight trips should be on everyone's list.More

Summer vacation rentals spur scams
The Boston Globe
If you're looking to lock in a vacation rental, whether it's in Maine or on the Cape, it's about that time of year. Just as most folks know that summer rentals are booking up, so do the scammers. So, it's time to brush up on the vacation rental business and how scams present themselves. While there are certainly legitimate private party ads for properties, that's where you're most likely to encounter a scam. It's best to avoid those ads, but if you can't resist, tread ever so carefully. More