NARFE NewsWatch
May. 20, 2014

Senate conducts hearing on federal workforce
On May 6, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce, conducted a hearing "to examine the state of the federal workforce and the impact of factors such as the partial federal government shutdown, sequestration, and hiring and pay freeze on employee morale, productivity and efficiency, and agency recruitment and retention efforts." The panel heard from eight witnesses. To access the full written testimony or view the entire hearing, click here.

In advance of the hearing, NARFE President Beaudoin commented, "Unfortunately, our nation's public servants do not always receive the recognition they deserve. Over the last four years, they have endured a three-year pay freeze, furloughs due to sequestration, a government shutdown and increased retirement contributions for new employees. These policies have cost federal employees more than $120 billion.

"It is no surprise that federal employee morale has been declining as a result. The gradual but steady deterioration inevitably will diminish the effectiveness of our workforce. We must not let that happen."More

Gateway to resources on NARFE's website
The updated and modular Protect America's Heartbeat Toolkit should be a regular destination for NARFE advocates. A national summary of the Federal Family Counts and the gateway to state-specific details are found there. Key NARFE votes for your senators and representative can be displayed by merely inserting your ZIP code on our Legislative Action Center. The Candidates and Elections module is the gateway to finding incumbents, challengers and open-seat candidates from this map.More

Social Security benefit
Question: I retired under the Civil Service Retirement System. I have only a few years of work under which I paid Social Security taxes on my wages. My wife, based on her work record, is eligible for a Social Security benefit. If I die before her, will the survivor's benefit she will receive be reduced because she is receiving Social Security?More

Three new bills that could change feds' benefits
Government Executive
House lawmakers have been busy lately. Elections are coming up and representatives are looking for avenues to promote popular ideas they can then flout on the campaign trail. Here are some recent bills lower chamber members have pitched that affect federal employee benefits, both those in the executive and legislative branches.More

Bill would prohibit lawmakers from flying first class on taxpayers' dime
The Washington Post
Four House lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill that would prohibit members of Congress from flying first-class using taxpayer funds.More

USPS gets clean audit on conference spending
The Washington Post
It doesn't take a mind reader to know that federal agency spending on conferences will be examined closely, even at a self-funding entity such as the U.S. Postal Service, after the scandals of recent years. But auditors said in a report that they "did not identify any inappropriate expenditures" in their review of two big fiscal 2013 postal conferences.More

How the Postal Service could overhaul its retirement and leave benefits
Government Executive
The U.S. Postal Service spent $6 billion on retirement benefits in fiscal 2013, and the agency thought that was too much. USPS asked its inspector general's office to evaluate its retirement packages against the benefits offered at other organizations. Current law mandates the Postal Service offer employees enrollment in the Federal Employees Retirement System, unless they were grandfathered into the Civil Service Retirement System.More

What is the Special Retirement Supplement and why is it important?
What is the Special Retirement Supplement and why is it important for FERS employees? A full-career FERS employee with 30 or more years of service can retire at their minimum retirement age, which is between the ages of 55 and 57, depending on the year in which the employee was born. FERS employees who have 20 years of service are eligible to retire at the age of 60. However, regardless of the year in which an employee is eligible to retire under FERS, their earliest age of eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits based on their own earnings is age 62.More

TSP annuity provider to remain unchanged
The Washington Post
Federal employees who want to convert their Thrift Savings Plan accounts into lifetime benefits will do it through the same annuity provider for at least the next three years.More

Skin cancer prevention tips
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives, making it the most common type of cancer in the nation. However, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable types of cancer, according to Dr. Mark Lebwhol, professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City and president-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology.More

Tips to prevent identity theft when you travel via USA Today
There are plenty of things to worry about while on the road: remembering your passport, confirming your reservations, packing enough socks for a week. Add "protecting your identity" to that list. Each year, victims of identity theft lose some $20 billion in cash and valuables, and all of the unknowns of travel can make you especially vulnerable to identity thieves. So arm yourself well in advance. The following are 11 ways to protect your identity while traveling.More

Retirees find second careers at historical sites
The New York Times
For 62-year-old Kent Brinkley, one day at work is pretty much like the next. At 10 a.m., he storms the Palace, joining in the daily re-enactment of an April 1775 riot protesting the Virginia royal governor's attempted seizure of arms. At noon, he offers a hearty "huzzah" and then fires a salute with his musket, as the Declaration of Independence is read aloud in the town square. At 4 p.m., he dons a British red coat and patrols the streets, "trying to look menacing."More

Internet ad companies up the ante on ad scams
One big problem with fraudulent ads on the Internet is they keep coming back — and that's not good for either sellers or buyers of digital advertising. Trying a new strategy to combat Internet ad scams, malvertising and counterfeit ads, Google, Facebook, AOL and Twitter launched, a new organization aimed at identifying scam trends and protecting consumers from malicious online ads.More