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This issue of NewsWatch is provided by NARFE, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting and enhancing the earned pay, retirement and health care benefits of federal employees, retirees and their survivors. Please join today!


Congress threatens to use TSP to fund highway bill; vote is imminent
A group of senators led by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has proposed using the Thrift Savings Plan Government Securities Fund to finance an extension of the Highway Trust Fund. Although the House passed a short-term highway extension July 15 that made no mention of using the TSP to finance transportation, the Senate continued its negotiations on the matter through the weekend, with a vote expected this week.

NARFE President Richard G. Thissen reminds Association members that "silence equals acceptance." Call your senators NOW and tell them to vote "NO" on any Highway Trust Fund extension that raids the TSP. Use NARFE's toll-free number, 1-866-220-0044, to call your senators' Washington offices. Use NARFE'S Legislative Action Center to send a letter. Take action now!

On behalf of NARFE members, Thissen sent a letter to senators July 14 asking them to consider other funding options. NARFE also signed letters sent by the Federal-Postal Coalition and the Employee Thrift Advisory Council. You can read those letters here and here, respectively.
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NARFE's members are well informed on their benefits and retirement options. Qualified benefit specialists are on hand to help members personally and to publish answers to questions like these every month in narfe magazine. Join NARFE today.

Survivor benefits
Question: I'm planning to marry a widow who is receiving a federal annuity based on her deceased husband's federal employment. Would she lose her annuity and her insurance benefits if we marry? I also am a retired federal employee.
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Fed employee association worried Congress will raid TSP to pay for highway funding
A national association for active and retired federal employees expressed fear that lawmakers will raid federal retirement benefits as a way to pay for the Highway Trust Fund. In a July 14 letter to Congress, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Richard Thissen said he's been hearing rumors that lawmakers tasked with making sure there is money to build and fix highways are looking to the retirement accounts of federal employees for their money.
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Companies hired to help OPM breach victims aim for 2nd contract
Federal News Radio
Despite an onslaught of customer complaints and a congressional inquiry into their contract, the companies that the Office of Personnel Management hired to protect victims of a hack on its personnel database say they want a second go. Winvale and its subcontractor CSID want to bid on the larger contract to help the 21.5 million people affected by the breach of OPM's security-clearance database, Winvale CEO Kevin Lancaster said. Lancaster and CSID founder Joe Ross joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive radio show July 17.
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It's time to make good on phased retirement
Government Executive
For more than 30 years, Jean Rigdon has proudly served our veterans as a lab technician at the G.V. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. In December, Jean will hang up her lab coat and retire, taking those decades of experience with her. She would rather continue to serve part time, giving veterans and her successor the benefit of her experience. But the Veterans Affairs Department — like almost every other federal agency — does not offer that option, even though it has the authority to do so.
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Outlook for a COLA increase in 2016 still isn't great
Government Executive
The Bureau of Labor Statistics on July 17 released another data point that provides a glimpse into the potential cost-of-living increase for federal retirees in 2016, and it doesn't bode well. The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers rose 0.4 percent for the month of June, BLS reported. But the index decreased 0.4 percent over the last 12 months to a level of 233.804.
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Life settlements can be a big risk
A growing number of seniors are looking to sell their life insurance policies to investors. But there is significant risk for older people getting involved in either side of these "life settlement" transactions. In a life settlement, a policyholder sells his policy in exchange for a lump-sum cash payment. The buyer makes all the future premium payments and gets the death benefit when the insured person dies.
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Prozac in the yogurt aisle: Can 'good' bacteria chill us out?
The idea that fermented foods — including yogurt and kefir — are good for us goes way back. But could the benefits of "good bacteria" extend beyond our guts to our brains? Nobel Prize-winning scientist Elie Metchnikoff first observed a connection between fermented milk and longevity among Bulgarian peasants more than a century ago.
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5 ways to use bullet points on resumes
Thank goodness for bullet points – who wants to read blocks and blocks of text on the resume? While bullet points can help with highlighting key information like major accomplishments and success on the job, when not used properly, the power of the bullet point is lost on the resume. What you want to avoid is using it for the wrong reasons.
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7 things Americans should know about travel to Cuba
With the United States and Cuba set to restore full diplomatic relations, many Americans rightfully wonder what's really changed as a result of America's new policy with the communist-run island nation.
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9 times you should demand a refund
When you spend your hard-earned money on a product or service, you expect a certain level of quality — and when that quality falls short of expectations, it's not unreasonable to think you're entitled to a refund. But not every situation qualifies. So when should you stand your ground for your money back, and when should cut your losses? Take a look at these nine times you should demand a refund — ever so politely, of course.
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NARFE NewsWatch from the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
Disclaimer: The articles that appear in NARFE NewsWatch are chosen from a variety of sources to reflect topics of interest to active and retired federal employees. With the exception of Federal Benefits Question of the Week and News From NARFE, an article's inclusion in NARFE NewsWatch does not imply that the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) endorses, supports or verifies its contents or expressed opinions. Factual errors are the responsibility of the listed publication.

Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
Bianca Gibson, Executive Editor, 469.420.2611   Contribute news
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