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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!


NARFE wins fight to protect TSP ... for now
During consideration of legislation to reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund, senators were looking at a proposal to use the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) to pay for the bill. The proposal, which originated in the fiscal year 2016 House Budget Resolution, would have reduced the rate of return on the TSP G Fund and used the proposed savings to pay for the Trust Fund reauthorization. Specifically, the proposal would have changed the rate of return on the G Fund from 2.25 percent annually to 0.02 percent.

Before the bill text was finalized, NARFE members went on the offensive, with thousands of phone calls and emails, telling their senators not to use their hard-earned retirement savings as a budget tool to pay for unrelated legislation. NARFE President Richard G. Thissen also sent a letter to the Senate, and NARFE signed two other letters from coalition partners, asking for the proposal to be rejected. The blitz worked, and the provision was not included in the highway bill.

Thank you to all the NARFE members who took swift action to protect the retirement security of all federal employees and retirees and military personnel. However, this proposal could come up again in the future, so NARFE members must remain vigilant.
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August is NARFE 'Grass-Roots Advocacy Month'
The House is scheduled to be in recess July 31-Sept. 7. The Senate will be in recess Aug. 8-Sept. 7. Both Houses of Congress will be back in session Sept. 8. During this extended August recess, NARFE members are encouraged to reach out to their legislators, either formally or informally, to urge them not to target the federal community as a pay-for for pieces of must-pass legislation. Members of Congress frequently attend community events, meet with constituents or host town hall meetings during this extended recess. Make the most of your advocacy efforts by utilizing the resources available in the Protect America's Heartbeat Toolkit or on the NARFE website.
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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.

Minimum retirement age
Question: What is a "minimum retirement age +10" annuity under the Federal Employees Retirement System?
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Feds dodge cut in G Fund interest rate
Federal employees who enjoy the interest rate currently paid by the G fund will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that a proposal to substantially cut the interest rate did not pass in the Senate. A recent possibility floated by Senate Republicans was to cut the interest rate paid by the G fund to a rate comparable to the rate paid by many money market funds.
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Senate panel approves 10 years of protection services for hack victims
Government Executive
A Senate panel July 23 approved a measure to give current and former federal employees and contractors affected by the hack of data maintained by the Office of Personnel Management protection services for 10 years, more than three times longer than OPM originally offered. The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to the amendment unanimously by voice vote, despite some Republican concern that the 10-year figure was decided arbitrarily.
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OPM announces restoration of federal background-check system
National Journal
The Office of Personnel Management on July 23 announced it is bringing its background-check system back online after suspending its operation in June in the wake of two massive data breaches last year that exposed the personal information of more than 22 million people. The system, known as e-QIP, was suspended for "an extended period of time" in June in order to work on security upgrades. The decision to take the system offline effectively froze the government's ability to perform background checks on personnel applying for jobs in the federal workforce. OPM was temporarily processing the checks on paper.
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8 reasons your retirement estimate may be inaccurate
Government Executive
Contributor Tammy Flanagan writes: "I've written several times in the past about the importance of getting a retirement estimate from your agency well in advance of your planned retirement date. The only problem is that sometimes these estimates don't accurately predict what you can expect in retirement. Here are eight of the most common causes of an inaccurate retirement estimate."
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Boomers competing with millennials for US urban rental housing
The number of renters who are 65 or older will reach 12.2 million by 2030, more than double the level in 2010, according to research by the Urban Institute in Washington. While the millennial generation born after 1980 has driven demand for apartments in recent years, baby boomers — those born from 1946 to 1964 — will be the next wave, pushing up rents and spurring construction of more multifamily housing.
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Can diet improve arthritis symptoms?
Harvard Health Publications
Through the centuries, many claims have been made about the influence of dietary habits and nutritional supplements on arthritis. Some of these claims are supported by medical evidence, and some are reasonable theories. However, for most of these claims, we are just not sure. Even without all the proof, there are many healthy nutritional ideas that you can consider.
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Self-imposed age discrimination: Being your own worst enemy
Age discrimination is a big issue, especially for older workers and job seekers. In a 2013 AARP survey of employed Americans and job hunters aged 45 to 74, nearly two-thirds said they'd witnessed or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. And age discrimination reports filed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rose by 36 percent from 1997 to 2013. But what gets less coverage and attention is self-imposed age discrimination.
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New bill could cap airline checked baggage fees at $4.50
On July 22, Congressman John Mica, R-Fla., introduced legislation into the House that would severely limit how much airlines can charge passengers for checking baggage on flights. The airline industry collected a whopping $38 billion in fees last year, with checked baggage charges — which are typically $25 and up for a service that was included in the cost of a ticket not long ago — providing a big chunk of that revenue. Mica's bill, however, would cap the cost of checking a piece of luggage on a flight at just $4.50.
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9 summer scams and how you can avoid them
Summer is a time for sun, fun, exploration and relaxation. Unfortunately, as we unwind, there are those who gear up to take advantage of our moments of diversion and distraction. Scammers love summer, too.
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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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