Fed pensions underfunded by $673 billion
Federal Times Share
Two years of pay freezes and no pension adjustments haven't made federal employees and retirees very happy, but they have had one benefit: eliminating part of the retirement systems' unfunded liabilities. The Federal Employees Retirement System at one point was predicted to be about $9.7 billion in the red. But the Office of Personnel Management on Oct. 7 told Federal Times that due to freezes in pay and cost-of-living adjustments, FERS has not only eliminated its unfunded liability, but also is now projected to be in surplus for 2011. Dan Adcock, legislative director for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, said the evaporation of the FERS unfunded liability should help weaken the argument for killing federal pensions. More
House Democrats caution supercommittee to leave federal pay and benefits alone
House Democrats are asking the deficit-reduction supercommittee to protect the federal workforce from further attacks on their pay and benefits. In a report recently sent to the commission charged with reining in government spending, lawmakers from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote that cuts affecting federal employees should be avoided in any deficit-reduction proposal. Instead, the supercommittee should reform compensation for government contractors, they said. More
Lawmakers push extended pay freeze, increased pension contributions
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are calling on the deficit-reduction supercommittee to make further cuts to federal pay and benefits. Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Oct. 14 sent a letter asking the commission charged with reining in government spending to consider additional reductions in federal hiring, pay and retirement benefits. More
GAO: No refund of overpaid pension money is owed to USPS
Federal Times Share
There is no evidence that the U.S. Postal Service is owed a refund on tens of billions of dollars in pension overpayments because of actuarial or accounting errors, the Government Accountability Office concluded in a recent report. Such a decision is ultimately a "policy choice," GAO said, adding that the struggling mail carrier, in any case, needs to take other steps to confront its long-term financial woes. More
Users frustrated with the new, overwhelmed USAJobs 3.0
Federal job seekers are complaining that the new version of the USAJobs.gov website is slow and clunky — just the opposite of what the Office of Personnel Management had promised when it took control of the site from a government contractor. "We hope we're going to open the floodgates for innovation and competition," said OPM Director John Berry at a tech forum just hours before his agency released the new version. But those floodgates have been stifled as users complain they cannot access the site. More
Nursing homes may be getting more expensive
Aging in Chicago Share
This year, October's arrival brought only a mild temperature change to the Chicago area. Not so for the region's skilled nursing facilities. For them, a big chill has settled across the nation. Beginning Oct. 1, Medicare cut reimbursement to all skilled nursing facilities by an average of 11.1 percent. More
US heart disease rates continue to fall
USA Today Share
The percentage of Americans with the nation's No. 1 killer, heart disease, continues to fall, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, 6 percent of adults had heart disease in 2010, down from 6.7 percent in 2006. Better treatments for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as declines in smoking, may explain the trend, experts said. More
Classes bring new grandparents up to speed
Becoming a new grandparent is an exciting prospect, but also a potentially daunting one. With new products on the market that didn't exist when their own children were small, coupled with new thinking about the best and safest way to handle babies, many prospective and new grandparents can feel anxious about their skills. In many communities around the country hospitals offer classes to give grandparents practical information along with emotional reassurance about their new role. More
Best jobs for your 2nd act
Money Magazine via CNNMoney Share
Craving a new career? You're not alone — workers are less satisfied with their jobs than they were five years ago, and one out of three is seriously considering walking out the door, according to human resources consultancy Mercer. Even if you're itching for better pay or a more satisfying workday, however, you may feel a dramatic switch is risky. But the job scene isn't as bleak as the headlines indicate, at least not for everyone. More
For retirees, the allure of college towns
U.S. News & World Report Share
Not everyone loves hitting the links. And, as relaxing as surf sounds can be, even they become commonplace after awhile. Active retirees and seniors, many blessed with longer life expectancies than their parents, want a combination of recreation, socialization and intellectual stimulation in their golden years. They're finding it in college towns, mixing with 20-year-old undergrads and 25-year-old doctoral candidates, professors, researchers and plenty of their peers. The trend started in the mid-1990s, according to real estate and aging experts, and shows few signs of stopping, especially as more baby boomers hit retirement age. More
Fine-tuning your flight search
The New York Times via The Seattle Times Share
In September, Google introduced the first version of its new flight search feature and the response has mostly focused on what it does not offer. Right now, it can search only for round-trip tickets for select domestic destinations. And while it is much faster than other travel search engines, it does not display fares from all the airlines that serve a particular route. Though Google's debut may have been premature, its foray into flight search has shaken up the competitive landscape, which is good news for travelers. More
Weak economy is a boom time for financial scammers
Back in 2009, when Teresa Yeast's husband was laid off from the job he had held for 17 years, she began searching for ways to earn some money. But with two disabled children to care for, she knew she couldn't work outside the home. One day, Yeast, 45, noticed an ad in an area newspaper looking for people to work from home creating tiny pins shaped like angels out of beads and ribbon. When the same ad for Darling Angel Pins appeared in her local paper in Platea, Pa., she decided to investigate. More
Do medical costs rise under FEHBP if you decline Medicare Part B?
Question: I am retired and have Medicare Part A and Part B, along with a Federal Employees Health Benefits Program plan. If retirees decline Part B, relying solely on his or her FEHBP plan and Part A, are they obligating themselves to paying larger medical bills? More
NARFE denounces 'reckless' congressional supercommittee recommendations
Oct. 14 was the deadline for congressional committee chairs and ranking members to submit their recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — the supercommittee. In response, NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin expressed concern over some of the recommendations, calling them "reckless." Beaudoin said these suggestions single out federal employees and "attempt to lower the debt at the expense of our nation's security and progress." For the full statement, click here.
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