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moonlighting: Why Feds seek second jobs

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2014 FEHBP Premiums

COVER STORY

choosing the best retirement date

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Volume 89 • Number 11

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WashingTon Watch

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Advocacy Applauded, Benefits Battles Remain

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Fiscal Year Starts With Government Shutdown

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NARFE Comments on Hill Coverage Under ACA

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2014 Pay Raise Still in Flux as Spending Debate Continues

10 NARFE Bill Tracker 12 OPM Urges Annuitants to

Opt In Before December 9

Columns

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C

4 From the President 52 Managing Money

Cover Story choosing the BEST DAY TO RETIRE. Selecting a retirement date is personal, but here are some things to take into account. (Tip: December 31 is not the best for FERS employees this year.)

54 The Informed Citizen DEPARTMENTS

hoosing the perfect date to retire is one of the goals of many retirementeligible federal employees. Timing isn’t always everything, but often timing is very important. Agency retirement specialists are trained to help federal employees complete their retirement application, including how to choose a good retirement date. In 1985, I was trained to work as a retirement specialist, and I received excellent training through the Office of Personmoonlighting. Furloughs and a concern over nel Management, as well as on-the-job training my supervisor at thelooking Federalfor possible RIFs from are sending some feds Bureau of Investigation. This laidadditional the foundation for my later career National income. But don’t riskwith yourthe day job! Institute on Transition Planning, Inc. (NITP), where I have been conducting preretirement seminars for federal employees for the past 25 years.

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14 Questions & Answers 56 For the Record: TSP

Investments, COLA Chart

58 NARFE News 64 The Way We Worked special section | 23

W W W. N A R F E . O R G

38 Open Season Report:

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On the Web

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MOONLIGHTING: WHY FEDS SEEK SECOND JOBS

www.narfe.org like us on facebook:

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2014 FEHBP PREMIUMS

COVER STORY

CHOOSING THE BEST RETIREMENT DATE

P.22

ON THE COVER

Illustration by Bill Pragluski, Critical Stages, LLC

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november 2013 | Volume 89 | Number 11

Editor Margaret M. Carter Assistant Editor Ken Fanelli Editorial Administrator Toni Vallario Graphic Design Charlene Gridley Editorial Board Joseph A. Beaudoin, Paul H. Carew, Elaine C. Hughes, Richard G. Thissen Editorial Office: narfe magazine, 606 North Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1914; Phone: 703-838-7760; Fax: 703-838-7781; Email: communications@narfe.org Advertising Sales: Warren Berger, Media People Inc., 122 East 42nd St., Suite 725, New York, NY 10168; Phone: 212-779-7172, ext. 223; Email: wberger@mediapeople.com NARFE for the Visually Impaired On the Telephone: This publication can be heard on the telephone by persons who have trouble seeing or reading the print edition. For more information, contact the National Federation of the Blind NFB-NEWSLINE® service at 866-5047300 or go to www.nfbnewsline.org. On Tape: Issues of narfe magazine are also available on cassette through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. To find out about availability in your area, call 800-424-8567 and ask for the Reference Section. The Association, since July 1970, has been classified by the IRS as a tax-exempt labor organization [not a union]; however, dues and gifts or contributions to the Association are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes.

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association NATIONAL OFFICERS JOSEPH A. BEAUDOIN, President; natpres@narfe.org PAUL H. CAREW, Vice President; natvp@narfe.org ELAINE C. HUGHES, Secretary; natsec@narfe.org RICHARD G. THISSEN, Treasurer; nattreas@narfe.org

REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS

REGION I Arthur Pike (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) Tel: 207-764-4468 Email: artpike1937@aol.com REGION II Evelyn Kirby (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) Tel: 410-604-1141 Email: ekirby@atlanticbb.net REGION III Donald Stewart (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Virgin Islands) Tel: 305-442-6388 Email: dejs33149@aol.com REGION IV Paul E. Johnson (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) Tel: 812-306-5137 Email: pejohnson@tds.net REGION V Carol R. Ek (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) Tel: 620-241-1131 Email: ek617@att.net

Here’s How to Contact Us… If you want to:

Join NARFE Call (toll-free): 800-627-3394 or go to: www.narfe.org Change or update your membership record Call (toll-free): 800-456-8410 Email: memberrecords@narfe.org

REGION VI Jerome S. Smith (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Republic of Panama and Texas) Tel: 903-534-5849 Email: retiredjer@aol.com REGION VII Frank Impinna (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) Tel: 303-482-1747 Email: impinna@gmail.com REGION VIII Helen L. Zajac (California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Republic of Philippines) Tel: 707-644-7565 Email: hlz17@aol.com REGION IX Lanny G. Ross (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) Tel: 360-692-9741 Email: lannyjean@comcast.net REGION X William F. Martin (Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) Tel: 540-872-3345 Email: billmartin@narferx.org

For any other NARFE matter:

Call NARFE Headquarters: 703-838-7760 Email: hq@narfe.org Fax: 703-838-7785 Write: NARFE 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314

www.narfe.org

narfe (ISSN 1948-4453) is published monthly by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), 606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Periodicals postage paid at Alexandria, VA, and additional mailing offices. Members: Annual dues includes subscription. Nonmember subscription rate $45. Postmaster: Send address change to: NARFE Attn: Member Records, 606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314. To ensure prompt delivery, members should also forward changes of address without delay. Because of the volume involved, NARFE cannot acknowledge nor be responsible for unsolicited pictures and manuscripts, although every reasonable precaution is taken. All submissions become the property of NARFE. Copyright © 2013, NARFE. Advertisements in the magazine are not endorsements of products and/or services by NARFE, unless officially stated in the ad. We shall accept advertising on the same basis as other reputable publications: that is, we shall not knowingly permit a dishonest advertisement to appear in narfe, but at the same time we will not undertake to guarantee the reliability of our advertisers.

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From the President

honoring a call to service

T

his month marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s tragic assassination – an

event that shocked the nation. Arguably, no sector of the population was more grieved by the president’s death than young Americans, particularly those whom he inspired to work in public service. In his January 1961 inaugural address, President Kennedy challenged us to “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” The young president framed a compelling moral argument for pursuing careers in federal service. Ten days after taking office, President Kennedy expanded on this theme in his first State of the Union Address when he said, “Let the public

service be a proud and lively career. And let every man and woman who works in any area of our national government, in any branch, at any level, be able to say with pride and with honor in future years: ‘I served the United States government in that hour of our nation’s need.’ ” Many of us can recall those heady days, when working for the federal government meant being at the forefront of progress and having a hand in shaping our national destiny. Now it seems that we are being rewarded by threats to our earned benefits, and our work and that of our successors is being denigrated by critics on the Hill. Vicious partisan rhetoric, legislative gridlock, and the ongoing budget and federal deficit battles between the White House and Congress erode faith in government and those who serve it. Is it any wonder that the best and the brightest among today’s youth have misgivings about pursuing careers in the federal government? America can help to honor JFK’s legacy by making federal government service the honorable and prestigious career path that it was meant to be. NARFE members can take the lead in this by setting the example of excellence and by offering guidance and encouragement to a new generation of dedicated, engaged feds.

Joseph A. Beaudoin NARFE national President natpres@narfe.org

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Washington Watch

Advocacy applauded, benefits battles remain

D

uring the Association’s National Call Congress Week, September 16-20, NARFE members made more than 5,000 calls to Capitol Hill using NARFE’s toll-free

number. These represent only a portion of the calls made; many NARFE members called the Washington or district offices of their legislators directly. Initial reports indicate a positive response to NARFE’s message to oppose using the Chained CPI to determine annual cost-of-living adjustments for federal annuities, Social Security benefits and other inflation-indexed federal benefits. NARFE’s Legislative Department reminds members that the fight continues. With Congress kicking the budget can down the road with a continuing resolution (see story on page 7) and the ongoing debate over sequestration, the Chained CPI remains on the table. Beyond the Chained CPI, the federal community remains a target on Capitol Hill as health care is discussed and postal reform moves through Congress. It is essential that NARFE members remain vigilant and contact their members of Congress to oppose the Chained CPI and any attack on the federal community.

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Advocacy Month Wrap-up. When Congress recessed for five weeks this summer, NARFE members took advantage of the opportunity to share NARFE’s opposition to the Chained CPI and other legislative priorities. NARFE’s Legislative Department is pleased with the response from NARFE members and the enthusiasm with which members participated in the call to action. Following are some ways NARFE federations and chapters responded to the challenge during August, “NARFE Grass-Roots Advocacy Month.” • With 55 members of the House

Jim Owens, legislative officer of Chapter 415 in Rockford, IL, mails 160 letters, written September 18 by chapter members to their members of Congress.

representing districts in the state, leaders of the California Federation focused on committee membership and first-term members of Congress. As of press time, the federation reports significant contact with 18 offices – including attending open houses, hosting members and their staffs at chapter meetings, and attending meetings with elected officials at their offices. In addition, California Federation representatives met with elected officials who have not been supportive of NARFE issues in an effort to continue the conversation. • The Pennsylvania Federation had a coordinated day of action on August 22. Members met with representatives from congressional offices across the state. Members from three chapters met with representatives of Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-PA. Two members of Congress addressed a meeting of several chapters within the state. • Chapter 163 in Tacoma, WA, hosted Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-WA, and staff representing Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA, and Rep. Denny Heck, D-WA, at its August

FISCAL YEAR STARTS WITH GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN meeting. Although the vast majority of chapters do not meet during the summer in Washington, this was just one of several successful meetings held in that state. • Building on their existing relationship with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, NARFE members in West Virginia met with her as she prepares a run to replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV. And even though he is retiring, NARFE members did not leave Rockefeller’s office out of their meeting schedule, as the senator will cast important votes before he leaves Congress. NARFE members also met with Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-WV, and his staff on several occasions, as well as other members of the West Virginia delegation. • In North Carolina, NARFE members made contact with both senators and the entire House delegation. NARFE members across the state attended town hall meetings and community picnics, and hosted elected officials or met with them or their staff at their offices. Where meetings could not be scheduled with representatives, NARFE members sent letters. In another type of advocacy, many NARFE members sent letters to the editor of their local newspapers. We know of at least 20 that were published since August 1. To share information on meetings with members of Congress or responses to Action Alerts, please email advocacyinaction@narfe.org. —By Sarah Weissmann, grass-roots program manager

F

or the first time in 17 years, the federal government shut down on October 1. The shutdown resulted from the inability of Congress to agree on a stopgap spending measure to fund government operations. At press time, it was unclear how long the political stalemate would last. In late September, in a game of political “chicken,” the House and Senate sent different versions of the spending measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), back and forth between the chambers. In the House, Republicans, the majority party in that chamber, insisted on including provisions either defunding or delaying parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as “Obamacare.” In the Senate, Democrats, the majority there, sent a “clean” CR back to the House, stripping the ACA provisions from the House bills. When Fiscal Year 2014 began on October 1, the House and Senate were still locked in this battle. In an October 1 statement, NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin said he was “deeply disappointed in Congress’ decision to allow politics to trump the best interests of the American people.” “In communities across our country, vital federal services are being interrupted and hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been told to stay home without pay because Congress has failed to carry out the most basic of its constitutionally mandated

duties,” Beaudoin said. There was no guarantee that federal employees furloughed as a consequence of the shutdown would receive back pay for the days they were not working. Federal employees who were deemed “excepted” and able to work will be paid once Congress appropriates funding. For millions of federal retirees who were concerned about their annuity checks, the Office of Personnel Management said pensions would be paid on October 1 as usual. —By Jessica Klement, Legislative Director

ADVOCACY ACTION Coupon event postponed. Watch for new date. The planned media event highlighting NARFE’s coupon campaign, originally scheduled for mid-September, was postponed to guarantee maximum media attention. Its original date coincided with congressional debate on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. See the December issue of narfe magazine for continued coverage of the coupon event.

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Washington Watch

NARFE COmments on Hill Coverage under ACA

U

nder the Affordable Care Act (ACA), members of Congress and most congressional staff will be excluded from participation in the Federal Employees Health

Benefits Program (FEHBP) beginning in 2014. Instead, they will be required to elect insurance coverage through the state and federal health insurance exchanges established by the ACA. NARFE submitted comments to the Office of Personnel Management on regulations it proposed to implement this part of the law. Among the points made: • Retiree Coverage. The proposed regulations would require that members of Congress and certain congressional staff who are covered through insurance exchanges at the time they retire remain in those exchange plans as annuitants. NARFE believes OPM misinterpreted the law and argued that the ACA does not specify annuitant coverage through exchanges. Currently, federal employees who retire with at least five years of continuous coverage under the FEHBP carry that coverage into retirement. NARFE proposed that the regulations be amended to allow all congressional annuitants to obtain health insurance coverage through traditional FEHBP plans in the same manner as other qualifying federal annuitants. • Re-employed Annuitants. Currently, annuitants who go back to work for the federal government receive their health insurance coverage through their employing office. Under the proposed regulations, an annuitant who goes back to work on Capitol Hill would see his or her insurance

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options limited to plans offered through exchanges, even if he or she had always been covered by the FEHBP. NARFE argued that FEHBP coverage, once vested as an annuity benefit, should remain unaffected upon re-employment. • Employer Contribution. OPM’s proposed regulations make clear that members of Congress and congressional employees will continue to receive a government contribution toward their health insurance premium, in the same manner as any other federal employee. NARFE believes this interpretation is consistent with the letter and intent of both the statute that created FEHBP as well as the ACA. • SHOP Exchange Plans. The proposed regulations anticipate that members of Congress and congressional staff will enroll in the individual markets for exchanges. The ACA also makes provision for a second type of exchange – “SHOP” plans, specifically geared toward the needs of small businesses. While Congress is by no means a small business, NARFE said that SHOP plans may be better suited for the provision of health insurance to employees than individual exchange plans. NARFE also argued that SHOP plans may be better able to coor-

dinate health insurance coverage with Medicare for employees or retirees age 65 or older. Final OPM regulations were scheduled to be issued before October 1, when members of Congress and congressional staff can begin enrolling in exchange plans under the ACA. NARFE will continue to monitor the situation and support those affected by the change. —By Alan Lopatin, legislative counsel

MYTH vs. REALITY Myth: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is funded by the taxpayers and now must be bailed out by them.

Reality: The USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses. It relies solely on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. The USPS does not need a bailout. Rather, the USPS needs to be relieved of some of the mandates Congress has imposed. These include requiring it to prefund retirement health benefits over an accelerated, 10year period. This costs the USPS billions of dollars for retirement benefits for workers who have not yet been born.

2014 pay raise still in flux As spending debate continues

A

s Congress debates spending levels for fiscal year 2014 (see story, p. 7), the question of whether federal employees will get a pay raise next year remains unanswered. By law, Congress appropriates a certain percentage pay increase each year as part of the Financial Services Appropriations bill. However, in recent years, government funding has typically come not from appropriations bills like this, but in the form of a continuing resolution or omnibus bill, so the pay raise has been included in those bills.Coupon 2013-14_PAC_Coupon:2013

For the last three years, Congress has enacted legislation freezing federal employee pay. In his annual budget message in February, President Obama proposed a 1 percent pay raise in 2014. He reiterated his support for that level in an August memorandum. If Congress does not pass legislation freezing federal pay, and if it does not appropriate a specific percentage increase, the 1 percent raise proposed by the president will go into effect. While this is good news for employees, could cause 3/26/13 3:42it PM Page 1 grave fi-

nancial hardship for agencies if the money to pay for the raises is not specifically appropriated while the agencies are under sequestrationlevel funding. The Employment Cost Index (ECI), which tracks private-sector pay, rose by 1.8 percent last year, which should be the percentage raise provided to federal employees. However, given the current political and financial realities on Capitol Hill, it is unlikely that federal employees will see that figure in their paychecks next year. —By Jessica Klement, Legislative Director

NARFE-PAC CONTRIBUTION FORM Name:______________________________________ NARFE Member Number: _______________________ I would like to make a one-time contribution of:  $100 Gold (qualifies for Gold 2013-14 NARFE-PAC lapel pin and a blue NARFE-PAC LEADER hat)

 $50 Silver (qualifies for Silver 2013-2014 NARFE-PAC lapel pin)  $20 Basic (qualifies for Basic 2013-2014 NARFE-PAC lapel pin)  Other: ______ -orI would like to be a Sustainer and make a monthly credit card contribution to NARFE-PAC of:  $25/month  $10/month

 Please find my check or money order enclosed payable to NARFE-PAC  Please charge to my credit card (required for monthly contribution) Credit Card Information Type:  MasterCard  Visa  Discover  AMEX Card #: ________________________________ Expiration Date: ____ / ____ Name on Card:__________________________ Signature: ______________________________ Date: __________________________________

 Other: ______/month (minimum of $10) Monthly contributions qualify you to receive a NARFE-PAC Sustainer lapel pin along with a blue NARFE-PAC LEADER hat.

 I do not want to receive any gifts for my contribution marked above.

Mail to: National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association Attn: NARFE-PAC 606 North Washington St. | Alexandria, VA 22314

Only members of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association may contribute to NARFE-PAC. NARFE will neither favor nor disadvantage anyone based on the amount of a contribution or the failure to make a voluntary contribution to this political action fund. NARFE-PAC contributions are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

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Washington Watch

narfe bill tracker The NARFE bill TRACKER is your monthly guide to the congressional legislation that NARFE is following. Check back each issue for updates. ISSUE

Bill Number / Name / What Bill Would Do Sponsor H.R. 26: Deferred Benefits Adjustment Act of 2013 / Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, D-NY Cosponsors: None

DEFERRED ANNUITIES

H.R. 249: Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013 / Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT Tax Delinquency

Paid Parental Leave

Retirement Calculations/ Contributions

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Cosponsors: None

H.R. 517: To provide that four of the 12 weeks of parental leave made available to a federal employee shall be paid leave / Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-NY Cosponsors: 17 (D)

H. Con. Res. 25: Fiscal year 2014 Budget Resolution / Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-WI

Latest Congressional Action(s)

Provides for the indexation of deferred annuities, including survivor annuities, and for individuals becoming subject to the Federal Employees Retirement System by election. Terminates the entitlement of a survivor who remarries before age 55 (currently, who remarries at any age) to an annuity based on the service of a deferred annuitant who dies before establishing a valid claim for a Civil Service Retirement System annuity.

Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Makes any person who has a “seriously delinquent tax debt” (an outstanding tax debt for which a notice of lien has been filed in public records) ineligible for federal employment or to continue serving as a federal employee.

Approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on 3/20/13 Failed to pass the House on 4/15/13

narfe, April, p. 9

narfe, July, p. 11

Allows federal employReferred to the House ees to substitute any Committee on Oversight and available paid leave Government Reform for any leave without pay available for either the birth of a child or placement of a child with the employee for either adoption or foster care. Makes available four administrative weeks of paid parental leave in connection with the birth or placement involved. Among other things, re- Passed the House on 3/21/13 duces the federal workforce by 10 percent narfe, May, p. 7 through attrition and increases the amount that federal employees contribute toward their retirement.

ISSUE

federal pay

Bill Number / Name / Sponsor

What Bill Would Do

Latest Congressional Action(s)

H.R. 933: Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Appropriations Act / Rep. Harold Rogers, R-KY

Funds the federal govern- Signed into law on 3/26/13 ment for the remainder of (P.L. 113-6) fiscal year 2013 (through September 30, 2013) at se- narfe, May, p. 6 questration levels. Freezes federal pay for a third year (2013).

H.R. 1367: FEHBP Prescription Drug Integrity, Transparency, and Cost Savings Act / Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-MA

Provides the Office of Personnel Management greater oversight authority over the prescription drug contracting and pricing methods of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). It requires that pharmacy benefit managers, who currently contract with individual insurance plans to provide FEHBP prescription drug benefits, return 99 percent of all rebates, market share incentives and other monies received from pharmaceutical manufacturers for FEHBP business and caps prescription drug prices paid by the FEHBP.

Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Removes federal employees from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and places them in the health exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act.

Referred to the House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, Energy and Commerce, and Administration

Cosponsors: 3 (D)

Health Care

H.R. 1780: To provide that the only health plans that the federal government may make available to the president, vice president, members of Congress and federal employees are those created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or offered through a health insurance exchange / Rep. Dave Camp, R-MI

narfe, June, p. 9

narfe, July, p. 15

Cosponsors: 28 (R) H.R. 1795: Social Security Fairness Act of 2013 / Rep. Rodney Davis, R-IL GPO/WEP

Cosponsors: 66 (D), 26 (R) S. 896: Social Security Fairness Act of 2013 / Sen. Mark Begich, D-AK Cosponsors: 10 (D), 3 (R), 1 (I)

Repeals both the GovernReferred to the House ment Pension Offset (GPO) Committee on Ways and and the Windfall EliminaMeans tion Provision (WEP). Referred to the Senate Finance Committee narfe, July, p. 16

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Washington Watch

narfe bill tracker ISSUE

(continued from p. 11)

Bill Number / Name / Sponsor

What Bill Would Do

H.R. 630: The Postal Service Protection Act / Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR

Eliminates the future retiree health benefit prefunding requirement, protects six-day mail delivery and Cosponsors: 160 (D), 7 (R) prevents the closure of rural post offices.

Referred to House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary

S. 316: The Postal Service Protection Act / Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT

Referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Cosponsors: 30 (D) H.R. 2748: Postal Reform Act / Rep. Darrell Issa, postal reform R-CA Cosponsors: 2 (R)

S. 1486: Postal Reform Act / Sen. Tom Carper, D-DE Cosponsors: 1 (R)

Moves the U.S. Postal Service to five-day mail delivery, removes protections for injured workers and eliminates to-the-door delivery in favor of cluster boxes. Threatens integrity of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program by removing postal workers and retirees, cuts workers’ compensation benefits, eliminates Federal Employees Retirement System pension for new hires.

OPM Urges Annuitants to Opt in before Dec. 9

T

he Office of Personnel Management (OPM) urges federal annuitants not to wait until the last minute to opt in to receive yearly mailings electronically. Starting in January 2014, individuals who opt in will receive the following yearly notices electronically: • Annual mailer • IRS 1099R • Informational alerts. To sign up for this new offering or to access your Services Online account, go to www.services online.opm.gov/. If you don’t remember your password, you

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Latest Congressional Action(s)

can request one when you access Services Online by selecting the “Forgot Password” link. Once you receive your password and have access to Services Online, you can elect to receive mailers electronically by providing OPM with your current email address. OPM has expanded the number of electronic mailings available for 2014. To receive any or all of these mailings, enroll by December 9, 2013. Annuitants who do not opt in will continue to receive this information by postal mail. Make sure OPM has your current mailing address.

Approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on 7/24/13

narfe, September, p. 20 Referred to Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

narfe, October, p. 6

Legislative Resources • Legislative Hotline: A weekly update of legislative news, compiled by the NARFE Legislative Department staff, distributed via email and available by phone (toll-free) at 877-217-8234 and online at www.narfe.org. • Legislative Action Center: A one-stop site to send a letter to Congress, and more, at www.narfe.org.

Questions & Answers

The following Questions & Answers were compiled by NARFE’s Federal Benefits Service Department staff. NARFE does not provide legal, financial planning or tax advice or assistance.

employees Policy change on military service deposit

Q

I’m planning to retire in two to three years. I have prior military service that I would like to have counted toward my civil service retirement. When do I need to make a deposit of contribution for my military service?

A

Until recently, the rule was before retirement from federal service, but the practice was to allow completion of military deposits up until the retiree received his or her first full retirement payment. But no more. In June, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it was discontinuing the practice of allowing employees to complete payment of their Post1956 Military Service Deposits after the individual separated for retirement. Now, all deposits for military service must be fully paid, with interest, before separation. OPM further stated there will be no exceptions granted for em14

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ployees who were already counseled about making the deposit but not separated. There still will be an opportunity to make the deposit if the employee was not informed or misinformed about the need to complete the deposit prior to separation. If a retiree does not make or complete making the deposit for military service before separation and OPM determines the agency made an error by not counseling the individual, OPM will inform the agency in detail about the administrative error and advise the agency to compute and accept the military deposit.

Retirement under DSR is by invitation only

Q

I have more than 20 years of federal service under the Civil Service Retirement System, and I am over 50. Since I qualify for a Discontinued Service Retirement (DSR), I would like to retire now under the DSR provision.

A

You can voluntarily retire once you reach age 55 with 30 years of service, age 60 with 20 years of service or 62 with five years of service. You may not retire under a DSR unless you receive a letter from your human resources office saying that your position is being eliminated and, based upon a review of your records, you qualify for a DSR. The age and service requirements for a DSR are age 50 with 20 years of service or 25 years of service regardless of your age. The only people who may retire under a DSR are those individuals

who receive a letter inviting them to retire under the DSR. You may not volunteer to retire under the DSR provisions.

Timing for deposit for civilian service

Q

I am covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and plan to retire in a few months. I had temporary service for three years in the 1960s and wasn’t covered by CSRS. I realize that I don’t have to make a deposit for this type of service before 1982. My human resources office (HRO) has given me an annuity estimate showing the reduction to my annuity if I fail to make the deposit. I made a decision to go ahead and make the deposit for this service. How do I take care of this deposit, or is it too late to make the deposit?

A

You may make a deposit for civilian service after you retire. The Office of Personnel Management will send you a letter giving you the opportunity to make this deposit in full within 30 days of when your annuity is finalized. OPM does not want you to put your application in to make a deposit now, since you will retire in less than six months. Since the vast majority of retirees do not make deposits for service prior to 1982, OPM sometimes forgets to give you this deposit option when your annuity is made final. Therefore, you will need to attach the application for

deposit or redeposit for civilian service (SF-2803) to your retirement application. You may contact your HRO or go to the OPM website, www.opm.gov, to get this form. Then attach it to your retirement application to prevent OPM from assuming that you do not wish to make the deposit.

TSP Payment to beneficiaries

Q

I think I read in your magazine that my spouse would only be entitled to a lump-sum payment from the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) if I predecease her. I don’t think the information is accurate anymore.

A

TSP has made changes recently that have an impact on spousal death benefits. When a TSP account, or a share of the account, is left to a spouse beneficiary, TSP creates a new TSP account for him or her if the amount is over $200. The entire amount is invested in the G Fund (Government Securities Investment Fund) until the surviving spouse makes a different investment choice or chooses to withdraw the money. These inherited accounts (called beneficiary participant accounts) are subject to some different rules, but the investment choices and the withdrawal options are the same as those available to regular participants. TSP sends a letter to the beneficiary explaining the new TSP account. If the amount is less than $200, the TSP

will not maintain a beneficiary participant account; rather, it will issue a check in the amount.

retirees When Social Security replaces supplement

Q

I retired in October 2009 under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and received a FERS Annuity Supplement along with my annuity at that time. Am I correct in assuming that my FERS supplement will be eliminated on my 62nd birthday, which is arriving shortly? And, if this is the case, in your experience, roughly how long would it take for Social Security to kick in once I apply?

A

You are correct that your FERS Annuity Supplement should automatically stop when you turn age 62. You must be at least 61 years and nine months old to apply for Social Security benefits. Otherwise, you should apply for benefits no more than four months before the date you want your benefits to start. If you are already age 62, you may be able to start your benefits in the month you apply. Social Security benefits are paid the month after they are due. (If your benefits start in April, you will receive your first benefit payment in May.) You should contact your local Social Security office and make an appointment to apply for your benefits when you are 61 years and nine months old to expedite w w w. n a r f e . o r g

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Questions & Answers

the processing of your claim. Social Security officials may need to see certain documents in order to pay benefits and help them decide how much your benefits should be. Therefore, you should find out what documents you’ll need to bring with you to your appointment. The documents that you may be asked for are: • Your Social Security card (or a record of your number); • Your original birth certificate or other proof of birth (you may also submit a copy of your birth certificate certified by the issuing agency); • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States; • A copy of your U.S. military service paper(s) (for example, DD-214 - Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) if you had military service before 1968; and • A copy of your W-2 form(s) and/or self-employment tax return for last year. Note: If you have applied previously for Medicare or made another Social Security claim (such as Disability, Supplemental Security Income, etc.), you do not have to submit documents proving age or citizenship/lawful alien status.

Figuring Face Value of FEGLI Insurance

Q

I retired from federal service after I was 65 years old and no longer was required to pay premiums for Basic life insurance under the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Program. Does there remain any permanent value to Basic life insurance after all reductions are made? 16

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A

We do not have your records because they are maintained by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). However, if you know what your salary was on the date of your retirement, you can determine the face value of the policy. The face value of your Basic insurance is based on your salary on the day that you retired. Your salary is rounded up to the next higher thousand dollars and $2,000 is added to this amount. For example, if your salary was $10,500 per year when you retired, you round $10,500 up to $11,000 and then add $2,000. The face value of your policy would be $13,000.  Because you retired after age 65, your policy began to decrease by 2 percent per month until it reached a quarter of its original value. In the example above, the face value of the original $13,000 that was fully reduced would equal $3,250. Regardless of how long you live, your beneficiary would be entitled to $3,250, and it wouldn’t reduce any further. If you need to know the exact face value of your policy, you will have to contact OPM.

Are TAxes owed on life insurance payout?

Q

I just received a life insurance payment under my spouse’s Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) policy. Am I going to have to pay taxes on this money?

A

Life insurance proceeds are not considered taxable income for the recipients for personal income tax purposes.

Interest paid on FEGLI proceeds is reportable as income for federal income tax purposes. The Office of Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (OFEGLI) pays interest on claims from the date of the insured’s death to the date of the payment. OFEGLI pays a maximum of two years’ interest, even if the time from date of death to date of payment is more than two years. You may wish to consult your tax adviser for further advice.

When to claim Social Security benefits

Q

I am a Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset retiree. I was age 59 when I retired and will be 62 soon. I realize that I am eligible for a Social Security benefit at 62, but I will receive a larger benefit if I wait until my full retirement age at 66. What do you think I should do?

A

When you reach age 62, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will offset your annuity by the amount of the Social Security benefit to which you are entitled. You also may apply for your Social Security benefit at age 62 or postpone applying to a later date so that you will receive a bigger benefit. You should consider whether you will be able to live comfortably when OPM reduces your annuity. You may be able to postpone applying, or you may need to apply for your Social Security benefit when you turn 62. Some people need the extra money and apply for their Social Security benefit at 62.

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Questions & Answers

Filing a dependent life insurance claim

Q

I have the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Program (FEGLI) Option C coverage, which means I am entitled to a payment if my spouse or child dies. I had a child who died about five years ago at the age of 37, and he was not disabled. Is it too late to file an insurance claim?

A

It is not too late to file a claim. However, the child must be an eligible dependent child. Dependent children must be unmarried and under age 22, or if 22 or older, incapable of self-support. Dependent children

18

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Paying Back refunded CSRS Contributions

Q

I retired from federal service in 1994. When I retired, part of my monthly annuity was calculated based on the number of years I

was under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and part was based on my service under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Prior to my retirement, I had withdrawn my contributions to the CSRS program. Therefore, at the time of my retirement, my monthly annuity was reduced by an amount that would repay my withdrawn contribution money. This payback was taken out over a 20-year payback period (with interest). It is my understanding that the payback period will come to maturity in February 2014. The monthly annuity reduction over the 20-year period is $190 per month. Whom should I con-

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A

Under the Civil Service Retirement System, federal employees can repay refunds they received for periods of civilian service ending before March 1, 1991, during which retirement deductions were withheld from their pay and later refunded to them. Employees receive credit for all of this service, whether or not they make the payment (unless they retire under the disability provisions of the law). If they do not repay the refund, their annuities are subject to permanent actuarial reduction, based on the amount of redeposit,

interest due and age at retirement. The only way to avoid the reduction is to repay the refund prior to retirement. In your case, your annuity will not be increased by $190 a month. The reduction is permanent, never goes away and will continue until you die. However, the actuarial reduction will not be applied to any annuity due your surviving spouse. To obtain an answer to a federal benefits question, NARFE members should call 703838-7760 and ask for the Federal Benefits Service Department; send your question by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Federal Benefits; or submit it by email to fedbenefits@narfe.org.

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Cover Story

The

Day to Retire Here’s how to choose your

perfect retirement date (and why December 31 is not the best day for FERS employees to retire this year) Illustration by Bill Pragluski, Critical Stages, LLC

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By Tammy Flanagan

C

hoosing the perfect date to retire is one of the goals of many retirementeligible federal employees. Timing isn’t always everything, but often timing is very important. Agency retirement specialists are trained to help federal employees complete their retirement application, including how to choose a good retirement date. In 1985, I became a retirement specialist, and I received excellent training through the Office of Personnel Management, as well as on-the-job training from my supervisor at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This laid the foundation for my later career with the National Institute on Transition Planning, Inc. (NITP), where I have been conducting pre-retirement seminars for federal employees for the past 25 years. w w w. n a r f e . o r g

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23

Day to Retire

The

In the early days of my career with NITP, I was contacted by Mike Causey, former author of “The Federal Diary” column in The Washington Post and current columnist and program host at Federal News Radio (www.federalnewsradio.com), who asked me to share the formula for choosing the “Magic Retirement Date.” Over the years, this idea of there being a “magic” date to retire each year has become somewhat of an urban myth. Keep in mind that choosing a specific retirement date has little to do with affording retirement or with being mentally prepared for this major transition in your life, which should be done long before selecting your specific retirement date. Choosing the “best date” has everything to do with maximizing your benefits in your final days of federal service and in the first days of your retirement. If you are lucky, you may also receive guidance from a retirement specialist who was trained, as I was, to help you. If you do not have an experienced retirement specialist available to help you, then hopefully you will be able to learn the fine art of selecting the “magic” retirement date, whether you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), by reading the tips I’ve outlined here.

Realize that It’s Personal

There are good dates to retire every month of every year, but the best date for you will depend on what you are trying to accomplish. For instance, I had a letter carrier who told me that he had to retire before October 1. I asked him why, and he said it was because that’s when the holiday catalogs start being delivered — and he was not going to do that again after delivering mail in a leather pouch for more than 50 years! That made sense to me, and I couldn’t argue with his logic. Federal supervisors might enjoy retiring before they have to complete those dreaded performance appraisals one more time. Others have told me that they want to retire in the spring so that they can enjoy their first days of retirement when the weather is sunny and warm. Yet others have said they want to retire before the cold winter weather arrives so that they can sleep in when the roads are icy and there is a bitter chill in the air. I also can’t argue with either of those choices. Aside from these personal reasons for choosing a certain date, there are also some finan24

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cial reasons why specific days of the month work better than others.

Know when your salary ends and retirement begins

The date you enter on your CSRS or FERS retirement application will be the last day you will be in a pay status at your agency. You will retire at the “close of business” on that date. If you retire in the middle of a pay period, you will not accrue annual or sick leave for that last pay period, not even a prorated amount. To earn your final leave accrual, you must complete your 80 hours of work for the final pay period. That being said, there is nothing wrong with retiring in the middle of a pay period, just don’t expect to receive leave accrual. Following your retirement, you will receive another full paycheck and possibly a partial paycheck if you retire in the middle of a pay period. This is because you have always been paid your salary two weeks behind. (Remember when you started your career and you didn’t get paid right away?) Your lump-sum payments for your accumulated and accrued annual leave and, if eligible, your Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VSIP or “buyout”) will be your final separation payments from your agency. That’s when you will know that you are fully off your agency’s payroll.

Know when your retirement benefit will commence

Under FERS, all voluntary retirements begin the first day of the month following your retirement (when you have met the age and service requirements). For instance, if you are old enough and have enough service to retire and choose to retire on October 3, October 18 or October 31, your first FERS basic retirement benefit would be paid for the month of November (and that payment would be dated December 1), regardless of which date you chose to retire in October. With this in mind, it usually makes sense to retire on the last day of the month so that you will be paid your salary for the final month you worked and then receive a retirement benefit for the following month. Under CSRS, the rules are a little more generous, but also more complicated. Most voluntary retirements under CSRS start the first day of the month after you retire, just like FERS, but there are a few exceptions. There is a three-day rule that

15 allows CSRS (or CSRS Offset) employees to retire on the first, second or third day of any month and have their retirement begin the next day. For example, if a CSRS employee retires on October 3, that employee’s first retirement payment would be paid on November 1 and include payment for the remainder of the October retirement benefit. If you had leave without pay (LWOP) for a portion of the month and were in a pay status for three days or less, your retirement would still begin the next day, even if it wasn’t the first three days of the month. For example, if you began a period of LWOP on October 2 and came back to work on October 10 and retired on October 12, your retirement would begin October 13 because you had been in a pay status for three days or less during October (assuming you met the age and service requirements for immediate retirement when the LWOP began).

maximize the lump-sum payment for annual leave

Have you wondered why there are so many retirements at the end of the year? Specifically, the retirement date is usually at or near the end of the “leave year.” For most federal employees, the maximum annual leave that can be carried over from one leave year to the next is 240 hours. In the year of retirement, it has become popular for employees to save up their accrued annual leave during the last year they work so that they can maximize their lump-sum payment of annual leave. For example, Georgia has been planning to retire at the end of 2013. She carried forward 240 hours of annual leave from 2012 into 2013. So far this year, she hasn’t used any of the annual leave that she has earned and, if all goes well, she will retire under CSRS on January 3, 2014. Since the 2013 leave year doesn’t end until January 11, 2014, she will have saved 25 of the 26 possible leave accruals for 2013 plus the 240 hours that she still has on the books carried over from 2012. The total number of hours she will be paid for is 440 (240 from 2012 plus 200 earned in 2013). If her annual salary is $65,000, her hourly rate of pay is $31.14 ($65,000 / 2087 hours), and her lump-sum payment would be $13,702 before taxes (there will not be withholding for CSRS or FERS retirement contributions, Thrift Savings Plan contributions or insurance premiums).

Beware The Retiree COLA Myth

There is a common misunderstanding that the reason for an end-of-the-year retirement is so that you will receive the first retiree cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on time. The retiree COLA is based on the index published monthly by the Department of Labor that reflects changes in consumer prices for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) and is based on the calendar quarter ending September 30 each year. Retiree COLAs are effective on December 1 of the year a retiree becomes eligible. The December retirement payment is paid on January 1. That being said, here are a few things to know about the retiree COLA: • The first CSRS or CSRS Offset retiree COLA is based on the number of months the employee was retired prior to December 1. To receive the full COLA on January 1, 2014, your retirement would have needed to begin in December 2012. If you retire October 31, 2013, you would be retired for only the month of November before December 1 and would, therefore, only receive 1/12 of the 2013 COLA on January 1, 2014. • You may not receive your first FERS COLA until December of the year you turn age 62. For instance, if Anne retires under FERS on a voluntary, immediate retirement on October 31, 2013, at age 58 and she doesn’t turn 62 until August 2017, her first COLA would be granted on December 1, 2017. • Under FERS, most disability retirees, survivor annuitants, some military reserve technicians, and employees who retire under special provisions for law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers will receive immediate COLAs (rather than delayed to age 62) with the first COLA pro-rated in the same manner as CSRS retirees. • The FERS COLA may be less generous than the COLA granted for CSRS retirees, military retirees and Social Security recipients. Generally, FERS COLAs are 1 percent less than the increase in the CPI unless the increase is less than 3 percent.

10 27 3 2 31

Be aware of The Bottom Line

The last day of the month is always a good date for both CSRS and FERS employees. The first three days of the month might be better for some CSRS employees so that they can take advantage of rew w w. n a r f e . o r g

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Day to Retire

The

ceiving additional salary for up to three more days or to include up to three additional days of service that could boost their total in the retirement calculation if you are close to another month. If you time your retirement for the end of a leave period, you also can earn your last leave accrual. November 30, 2013, is a good example of a potential retirement date that falls at the end of the month and the end of a leave period. If you are trying to maximize your lump-sum payment for annual leave, you might consider the end of the year as the best time to retire. CSRS and CSRS Offset: Recommended date for the end of 2013 would be January 3, 2014, which is within the 2013 leave year and would also allow a retirement benefit to be paid for January. FERS and TransFERS: Normally, December 31, 2013, would be the “best date” for end-ofthe-year FERS retirements, but this year is a little different. Employees retiring under FERS should be aware that the full credit for your unused sick leave will be granted only if you retire after 2013. It might make sense to retire January 11, 2014, because it is the last day of the 2013 leave year. That way, you can still be paid for all of your accumulated and accrued annual leave, and you will receive 100 percent credit for your unused sick leave in the calculation of your length of service. Retiring on January 11 will cause you to forfeit your January FERS retirement benefit; but you will be paid salary for January 1-11, which includes the New Year’s holiday!

Time Social Security right

Determining the best time to apply for Social Security benefits is a science in itself. If you are eligible and wish to begin receiving Social Security benefits at the same time as your CSRS or FERS retirement benefit, you should contact Social Security three months before you want the first payment. You may receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70 if you have earned 40 credits of coverage. The amount you receive will be affected by a permanent reduction if you are under your full retirement age (between 65 and 67, depending on your year of birth) but may also be increased by a delayed retirement credit if you wait until after your full retirement age to begin receiving your benefit. There is also a modified formula if you are affected by the Windfall Elimination 26

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Provision. To determine the best time to apply for Social Security, you should consider whether you plan to continue working, how much you need the money and how long you might live (I’m serious!). There are also considerations if you are entitled to benefits as a spouse, former spouse or widow. You may apply online at www.ssa.gov or by phone at 800-772-1213.

Consider Your need for income from your TSP Plan

You may decide you need to supplement your monthly CSRS or FERS retirement by electing a monthly payment distribution from your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account. You have the option of electing a specific dollar amount that can be changed annually, or you may have the TSP compute the amount of the payment for you based on your account balance and your life expectancy. You may also choose to purchase a life annuity through the TSP. You have the option of a one-time partial distribution from the TSP if you need a lump-sum amount or if you wish to transfer some, or all, of your TSP to an IRA for added flexibility or additional investment choices (but higher administrative expenses). You should carefully consider your TSP choices since they will have an impact on taxes and future financial security.

Know when you will receive your retirement payments

Although the Office of Personnel Management has decreased the processing time for most retirement claims, there continues to be a backlog of claims to be processed. If you are planning to retire in 2013 or 2014, you should still plan to receive partial retirement payments for at least several months following your retirement. Many claims are being finalized within three months of the retirement date, but some are still taking longer as a result of errors in the submission from the agency or missing documentation. Some claims need additional work due to a divorce settlement agr eement or because they are awaiting information from Social Security to finalize a CSRS Offset retirement. As with most things, expect the best, but prepare for the worst. –Tammy Flanagan is senior benefits director of the National Institute of Transition Planning, Inc., www. nitpinc.com.

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Special Section

By David Tobenkin

m

n

Sergeant O’Leary is walking the beat/ At night he becomes a bartender

–“Movin’ Out,” Billy Joel

There are more than a few Sergeant O’Learys among federal employees these days. But instead of the restless pursuit of “moving up” and material betterment that Billy Joel’s song decried, many federal employees instead say they need to work second jobs on the side of their federal ones just to make ends meet, in light of furloughs or as a Plan B in the event of a reduction in force (RIF). 28

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Second jobs fill the furlough gap and give feds a leg up on second careers

lightinG “In July 2013, I started waitressing 30 hours a week during the furlough, and I now continue to work 23 hours per week,” says one Houston, TX-based GS-12 Department of Defense contracting officer with 23 years of federal service. “The six furlough days we have had this summer cut my earnings by $1,000 per month. I would not have searched for a job if not for the furlough.” Compensation from 30 hours per week of waitressing at a national pub chain restaurant at roughly $22 per hour in base salary and, primarily, tips, added up to the equivalent of eight hours of a furlough day from her higher-paid federal job, she says. w w w. n a r f e . o r g

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nlighting This federal employee now views the waitress job as a bridge to a second career in the restaurant industry. “Nobody at my office took another job after the furloughs hit, but they are not as ambitious as myself,” she says. “I am an employee who has won many awards and who gives 110 percent at my federal job, and I am so disgusted by the furlough that I am going to take my two degrees and retire as early as possible. If I am offered a VERA/VSIP [Voluntary Early Retirement Authority or Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay], I may then look into management with the restaurant company, which might offer a starting salary of $50,000 per year.” She is not alone. “I started working part time out of fear of losing my postmaster job,” says Eileen Cordsen, a U.S. Postal Service postmaster in the small town of Timnath, CO, who began part-time work as a real estate agent in November 2012. She says a RIF this fall could affect her. “There was a similar RIF in 2011, which I barely avoided, and which was scarier because I hadn’t trained in real estate yet.” Now Cordsen says that, come what may, she feels prepared. “I signed on with a real estate company in northern Colorado and could start tomorrow full time if I am RIFed. So far, I have sold one house and earned a $7,000 commission. It was very gratifying to go from start to finish on one transaction and to realize that you have the ability and confidence to do so. For 29 years, I have been a postmaster who has been told when to show up, when to close and how to do business. To go from that to a totally independent job like real estate agent is gratifying and builds your confidence. And it relieves a lot of stress in terms of the possibility of being RIFed.”

A NOT UNCOMMON PRACTICE More than 130 narfe magazine readers responded to an emailed magazine questionnaire to describe their moonlighting ventures, including readers who have since retired from federal service who described past moonlighting endeavors. The variety of moonlighting jobs that they pursued is as diverse as the nation’s 2.7 million federal civil service and U.S. Postal Service employees. In addition to real estate sales, other activities reported by survey respondents include serving as a teacher, retail sales agent, security guard, gas attendant, income tax return preparer, taxi and truck driver, florist, mobile home and recreational vehicle park operator, firearms trainer, musician, private investigator and janitor. For those who may be considering moonlighting primarily to make money, a sobering thought is that of survey respondents who divulged their annual moonlighting earnings, most described annual revenues from their sideline ventures of less than $15,000 per year, a fact many prospective moonlighters may care to weigh in determining whether the sideline venture is worth the expense of so many lost weekends and weeknights, and the crowding out of other activities. Some federal employees are fortunate to work in career areas with immediate private-sector demand, no direct ethical conflicts with federal duties and flexible federal hours. Doris Hunt was one. Until retiring in 2010, Hunt was a mechanical engineering technician for the Quality Assurance Directorate at the Department of the Army’s Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, where she programmed inspection equipment. She says that she also was a freelance computer programmer on matters not related to her federal duties for “almost all of the time that I worked for the government.” Working up to 40 hours per week, Hunt says that she grossed

between $15,000 to $20,000 per year while moonlighting. For some, moonlighting spells the difference between just getting by and achieving major life objectives. “I was a single mom at the time and had two kids who were preparing for college,” says a former supervising U.S. Probation Office officer who taught training classes to various law enforcement and social services agencies throughout California for eight years before retiring in 2000. “The extra income allowed me to fully fund my TSP account as well as pay for their college educations in full.” For others, moonlighting gave them confidence to eventually leave their federal job without fears of diminished living standards if unexpected costs were to arise during retirement. “I would strongly suggest that other federal employees moonlight at something they are passionate about, as it will give them something to go to when they retire,” says a former Department of Transportation program manager who retired from federal service in 2008 and who previously moonlighted as an income tax return preparer. She now has a tax return preparation practice with 250 clients. “Without my self-employment, I may have postponed my retirement for fear of not having enough income,” she says. “Instead, I was able to retire at 55 years old and am now financially comfortable.” DON’T RISK THAT DAY JOB Yet it is the rare moonlighting venture that can compete with the salary and benefits of fulltime federal employment. If there was a single prevalent word of advice survey respondents had for those considering moonlighting, it was to put the federal job first and don’t allow the moonlighting venture to endanger it. Moonlighting presents a variety of legal and ethical issues. A December 2012 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on federal executive branch moonlighting noted that, “[m]ost federal employees in the executive branch of government are not subject to a broad, overall

Moonlighting activities are prohibited when they create a conflict of interest. prohibition on so-called ‘moonlighting.’ Rankand-file employees of the government are generally free to take an additional, compensated job outside of their federal work, subject to certain specific ‘conflict of interest’ limitations,” noted the report, “Outside Employment, ‘Moonlighting,’ by Federal Executive Branch Employees.” Numerous federal statutes, rules and guidelines limit – and sometimes prohibit – such activities in a variety of circumstances. The CRS report notes that moonlighting activities are prohibited when they create a conflict of interest for the employee with respect to his or her official duties and responsibilities for the government: “The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) expressly provides in regulation that such a ‘conflict of interest’ will arise in two circumstances: (1) when the activity is expressly prohibited either by statute or by a specific agency regulation concerning such conduct; and (2) when general ‘conflict of interest’ principles and rules would require that an employee recuse or disqualify himself or herself from participating in governmental matters to such an extent as to ‘materially impair’ the employee’s ability to do his or her duty.” Failure to follow the ethics requirements can put a federal employee’s job at risk and even, for certain statutes, lead to criminal prosecution. (See sidebar on p. 32 for some of the applicable laws and regulations.) Generally, information on such ethics limitations is handed out to federal employees through ethics training and is often posted on agency websites. It also can be accessed on the website of the OGE, which provides oversight for the ethics offices of agencies in the executive branch. Some federal rules sections contain hypotheticals, and the OGE’s website, www.oge.gov, contains examples of violations. But given the complexity and variety of the statutes and rules, in addition to reviewing w w w. n a r f e . o r g

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nlighting their agency’s ethics training materials and scrutinizing the applicable rules, federal employees considering moonlighting would be well-advised to consult their agency ethics officers regarding the nature of activities they wish to pursue, as the ethics officers often will be able to spot additional areas of concern or apply the federal statutes and rules to the activities that the employee is considering to help determine if they raise ethical issues. “My agency was fully aware of my moonlighting activities and notified me of my responsibility not to represent my clients

before the IRS, as it would have been a conflict of interest,” says the Department of Transportation employee who prepared income tax returns on the side before retiring. The decision of whether to inform their direct supervisors is another major consideration for moonlighters. Many survey respondents said that they had done so. Thomas Townsend was a program manager and meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service Central Region Headquarters, located in Kansas City, MO, until retiring in December 2011

Moonlighting Regulations The provisions below are just a few of the many laws and regulations that apply to federal employees. It is also important to note that additional statutory and regulatory provisions govern and limit the activities of former federal employees. For a more complete listing, along with links to the regulations cited, go to www. narfe.org, log in, select “NARFE Publications” from the Departments menu, then click on “Moonlighting Regulations.”

could land you in jail. In some cases, exemptions and waivers can be obtained.

• A related regulation, 5 C.F.R. § 2635.502, provides that where an employee knows that a particular matter involving specific parties is likely to have a direct and predictable effect on the financial interest of a member of his or her household, or knows that a person with whom s/he has a covered relationship is or represents a party to such • 18 U.S.C. § 208, the basic criminal matter, and where the employee deterconflict of interest statute, prohibits an mines that the circumstances would cause executive branch employee from para reasonable person with knowledge ticipating personally and substantially in of the relevant facts to question his/her a particular government matter that will impartiality in the matter, the employee affect his or her own financial interests, should not participate in the matter unless as well as the financial interests of his/her s/he has informed the agency designee spouse or minor child, general partner, an of the appearance problem and received organization in which s/he serves as an authorization from the agency designee. officer, director, trustee, general partner or Thus, moonlighting could limit the work a employee, and a person with whom s/he federal employee performs at his or her is negotiating for or has an arrangement agency. concerning prospective employment. Performing work for a company that you • Other regulations, 5 C.F.R. § 2635.701 – are involved in regulating, for example, § 2635.705, provide limitations and

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with more than 41 years of federal service. For the last seven years of his career, he also was a tax preparer at an H&R Block tax office. Townsend took pains to let his managers know of his moonlighting. “I wrote a letter to my supervisor each year, prior to tax season,” says Townsend. “They were OK with it, and I had it on record.” Michael Looney, chief of the meteorological services division for the central region of NOAA and Townsend’s supervisor for a five-year period until Looney retired in 2008, says that he was glad that Townsend had kept him in the loop. “I would not want an employee to just go

ahead with outside activities without telling you, and then you start to see an employee tired at work or using more sick leave, and you begin to ask what is behind this,” Looney says. “My thought would be to explain the situation and discuss it with your first-line manager before you do it so there won’t be misunderstandings on either side regarding impacts of the second job. The manager first should be comfortable that there are no legal or ethical issues. There’s also always the issue of whether the employee’s job impinges upon the mission of the agency, such as a fatigue issue if working another eight-hour-a-day job. In Tom’s case, from his

prohibitions related to the proper use of official time and authority and of use of information and resources to which an employee has access because of his or her federal employment. They set forth standards relating to: use of public office for private gain; use of nonpublic information; use of government property; and use of official time.

The federal rules also allow agencies to establish additional prohibitions on outside activities. Some agencies prohibit private-sector work by their employees of a similar nature to their official duties or related to industries that the agency regulates. Thus, for example, an employee at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission cannot engage in nonfederal employment or any other outside activity that: “(1) involves the rendering of advice concerning any legal, accounting or economic matter, or any agricultural, mining, foreign currency market or other commodity-related matter, in which the Commission may be significantly interested,” among other prohibitions. Employees should thus examine their individual agency’s own regulations on outside employment and conflicts of interest before engaging in outside compensated and, sometimes, noncompensated activities. Some federal employees may be required to disclose information about their outside employment activities. In some cases, employees must disclose their financial assets, outside positions and contractual arrangements. Some agencies also mandate additional disclosures for certain positions.

• General ethical standards also prohibit employees from accepting gifts or items of monetary value from “any person or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting activities regulated by the employee’s agency, or whose interests may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee’s duties.” Thus, potential conflicts could limit the employers or business clients of those who moonlight. In addition to these general limitations, there are certain specific statutory provisions that might apply in some circumstances to restrict or prohibit the receipt of outside compensation by executive branch personnel, or to limit certain types of outside activities for private parties.

w w w. n a r f e . o r g

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nlighting description of what he wanted to do, it was obvious it wouldn’t impact his responsibilities with us.” There are a few other common-sense considerations, such as not sullying one’s reputation with unsavory or controversial moonlighting pursuits, a factor more relevant these days given that the Internet and the power of search engines may well divulge many details regarding nonfederal professional activities. RUNNING A BUSINESS Aside from legal and ethical issues, moonlighting challenges the federal employee to new requirements and demands. Moonlighting often, in essence, entails running a minibusiness, with business development, marketing, billing, accounting, time-management, training and inventory expenditures, and related demands. First comes the challenge of finding the moonlighting opportunity. Many moonlighters said that prior work and life experiences, talents and gifts helped guide them to positive moonlighting opportunities. Cordsen, the part-time real estate agent, says she was drawn to the work in real estate in part because of past real estate experience with properties she owned. “People considering moonlighting should find something that will be an extension of what you may have done in the past,” Cordsen says. “I have investment property and felt comfortable in the real estate world, and this was an easy fit for me.” Approaches to getting started and building a business vary. “It was easy to start,” freelance computer programmer Hunt says. “I did not have to invest any money nor did I have any additional training. The only obstacle was getting clearance from the government legal department. When I was approached to do outside work, I thought it would only be one job for an outside company. But, with word of mouth, I kept getting more offers.”

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Many businesses, however, require training and/or financial investments. They generally present bookkeeping and taxation issues that moonlighters will have to negotiate. Moonlighters may also be subject to additional state and local rules and requirements. Like many who moonlight, Cordsen admits there are a variety of costs to be paid, a key one being time. “My U.S. Postal Service job comes first – my real estate activities have been done mostly between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight,” Cordsen says. “Many chores go undone at home to allow time to do both jobs.” In many cases, there are psychological adjustments as well, such as having to start in a new profession from a point lower on the career totem pole. The Department of Defense contracting officer who waitresses says that work at the restaurant has been quite an adjustment in that respect: “I am a 51-year-old working with most coworkers in their 20s,” she says. “I had to buy an alcohol-serving permit for $12 and nonskid shoes for $48. This is not for everyone, but it suits my needs. A plus was I’ve lost 10 pounds being on my feet serving people!” While the need to take care to not jeopardize one’s health nor shirk family obligations were cautionary notes sounded by many moonlighting survey respondents, some individuals reported both energy and mental benefits from their moonlighting activities. “The [part-time] work was energizing,” says a U.S. Air Force plans and programs engineer who moonlighted as an organization development consultant for business groups until retiring, “whereas work for the government was enervating. My energy gain from consulting enabled me to effectively do my government work. It made the working part of life worthwhile, psychologically and monetarily.” —David Tobenkin is a freelance writer based in the greater Washington, DC, area.

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For more information, call 1-888-865-6854 or visit federaldental.metlife.com * 2012 MetLife Plan Participant Satisfaction Survey. Like most group benefit programs, benefit programs offered by MetLife and its affiliates contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, waiting periods, and terms for keeping them in force. Please contact MetLife or your plan administrator for costs and complete details. ©2013 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10166. PEANUTS © 2013 Peanuts Worldwide. L0813339906[exp1014][All States][DC,GU,MP,PR,VI]

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Open Season Report

o

pen season Report

FEHBP PREmiums

This is the second of a three-part series.

T

he Office of Personnel Management (OPM) September 24 announced that the average premium rate for enrollees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) will increase 3.7 percent in 2014. OPM said it is less than the national average increase in 2013. Federal Benefits Open Season is November 11-December 9. The tables on pages 39 and 40 provide lists of the six open-to-all, fee-for-service (FFS) plans, the four restricted FFS plans and the largest participating health maintenance organizations (HMOs); the 2014 cost of each plan for both employees and retirees; and the increase/decrease from 2013. Rates listed are applicable to most federal employees as well as all retirees and survivors. Postal employees pay a different rate because of collective bargaining agreements. Please note: Employees pay premiums on a biweekly basis; retirees pay premiums on a monthly basis. For a listing of all premiums, go to OPM’s website, www.opm.gov/ healthcare-insurance/healthcare. The maximum 2014 monthly

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government contribution will be $426.14 for self-only coverage and $948.18 for family coverage. (See story below for NARFE’s reaction to OPM’s announcement of 2014 FEHBP premium rates.)

Changes for 2014

OPM said there are no significant benefit changes for 2014 and more plan choices. One of the new choices is a Medicare suboption pilot plan of-

fered by GHI Health Plan of New York, an HMO. Under a Medicare suboption, the health plan reimburses Medicare Part A and B enrollees up to a certain amount of their Medicare Part B premiums. The only other Medicare suboption offered is by the Mail Handlers Benefit Plan, an opento-all FFS plan that has offered the suboption since 2011. (Continued on p. 42)

PRemium Increase takes another Bite out of take-home pay for federal employees

In response to the announcement that premiums in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) will rise an average of 3.7 percent in 2014, NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin said that “any increase means a decrease in take-home pay for federal employees, who, at most, will receive a 1 percent pay raise next year. “Federal employees have endured pay freezes for the past three years and unpaid furlough days this year, and they now face the threat of additional lost income in a possible government shutdown,” Beaudoin said on September 25. “The FEHBP premium increase takes another bite out of the already diminished paychecks of federal employees in communities across the country. “In the three years that federal pay has been frozen, FEHBP premiums went up 7.3 percent in 2011, 3.8 percent in 2012 and 3.4 percent in 2013. Now comes another 3.7 percent on top of that. With this in mind, I call on members of Congress to appropriate sufficient funding to provide a long-overdue pay raise next year for our hardworking federal civil servants.”

2014 premiums — Fee for Service

KEY: Employees pay biweekly Annuitants pay monthly

Enrollee Increase / Plan Option Code Total Premium Gov’t Pays Enrollee Pays Decrease biweekly | monthly biweekly | monthly biweekly | monthly biweekly | monthly APWU High Self High Family Consumer-Driven self Consumer-Driven family

OPEN TO ALL 471 472 474 475

$252.38 | $546.82 $570.65 | $1,236.41 $179.85 | $389.68 $404.59 | $876.61

$189.29 | $410.12 $427.99 | $927.31 $134.89 | $292.26 $303.44 | $657.46

$63.09 | $136.70 $142.66 | $309.10 $44.96 | $97.42 $101.15 | $219.15

$1.84 | $3.98 $4.15 | $9.00 $1.31 | $2.84 $2.95 | $6.38

Blue Cross / Blue Shield 104 Standard self 105 Standard family 111 Basic self 112 Basic family

$284.50 | $616.42 $642.60 | $1,392.30 $243.86 | $528.36 $571.02 | $1,237.21

$196.68 | $426.14 $437.62 | $948.18 $182.90 | $396.27 $428.27 | $927.91

$87.82 | $190.28 $204.98 | $444.12 $60.96 | $132.09 $142.75 | $309.30

$1.91 | $4.14 $4.84 | $10.49 $1.89 | $4.10 $4.43 | $9.60

GEHA High self High family Standard self Standard family HDHP self HDHP family

311 312 314 315 341 342

$290.45 | $629.31 $660.59 | $1,431.28 $192.33 | $416.72 $437.37 | $947.64 $203.47 | $440.85 $464.72 | $1,006.89

$196.68 | $426.14 $437.62 | $948.18 $144.25 | $312.54 $328.03 | $710.73 $152.60 | $330.64 $348.54 | $755.17

$93.77 | $203.17 $222.97 | $483.10 $48.08 | $104.18 $109.34 | $236.91 $50.87 | $110.21 $116.18 | $251.72

$2.61 | $5.66 $6.57 | $14.24 $3.15 | $6.82 $7.15 | $15.50 $2.43 | $5.25 $5.53 | $11.98

Mail Handlers Value Option self Value Option family Standard self Standard family HDHP self HDHP family

414 415 454 455 481 482

$208.66 | $452.10 $497.46 | $1,077.83 $293.20 | $635.27 $671.00 | $1,453.83 $251.86 | $545.70 $570.68 | $1,236.47

$156.50 | $339.08 $373.10 | $808.37 $196.68 | $426.14 $437.62 | $948.18 $188.90 | $409.28 $428.01 | $927.35

$52.16 | $113.02 $124.36 | $269.46 $96.52 | $209.13 $233.38 | $505.65 $62.96 | $136.42 $142.67 | $309.12

$9.05 | $19.62 $21.58 | $46.77 $-.09 | $-.19 $.49 | $1.06 $.93 | $2.02 $2.11 | $4.57

NALC High self High family CDHP self CDHP family Value self Value family

321 322 324 325 KM1 KM2

$271.09 | $587.36 $588.67 | $1,275.45 $193.00 | $418.17 $419.08 | $908.01 $166.17 | $360.04 $360.85 | $781.84

$196.68 | $426.14 $437.62 | $948.18 $144.75 | $313.63 $314.31 | $681.01 $124.63 | $270.03 $270.64 | $586.38

$74.41 | $161.22 $151.05 | $327.27 $48.25 | $104.54 $104.77 | $227.00 $41.54 | $90.01 $90.21 | $195.46

$.26 | $.56 $.57 | $1.23 n/a (new plan) n/a (new plan) n/a (new plan) n/a (new plan)

SAMBA High self High family Standard self Standard family

441 442 444 445

$323.71 | $701.37 $762.34 | $1,651.74 $243.16 | $526.85 $555.35 | $1,203.26

$196.68 | $426.14 $437.62 | $948.18 $182.37 | $395.14 $416.51 | $902.45

$127.03 | $275.23 $324.72 | $703.56 $60.79 | $131.71 $138.84 | $300.81

$12.48 | $27.04 $30.48 | $66.04 $.00 | $.00 $.00 | $.00

RESTRICTED

Compass Rose Health Plan (members of the Intelligence Community, employees of Departments of Defense and State) High self 421 $268.74 | $582.27 $196.68 | $426.14 $72.06 | $156.13 $.72 | $1.56 High family 422 $617.80 | $1,338.57 $437.62 | $948.18 $180.18 | $390.39 $2.40 | $5.20 Foreign Service Benefit Plan (American Foreign Service personnel, Departments of State and Defense, USAID, Foreign Agricultural and Commercial services, other executive branch employees assigned overseas; Foreign Service retirees) High self 401 $231.41 | $501.39 $173.56 | $376.04 $57.85 | $125.35 $.57 | $1.24 High family 402 $570.19 | $1,235.41 $427.64 | $926.56 $142.55 | $308.85 $1.42 | $3.06 Rural Carrier Benefit Plan (active and retired rural letter carriers) High self 381 $283.97 | $615.27 $196.68 | $426.14 High family 382 $557.72 | $1,208.39 $418.29 | $906.29

$87.29 | $189.13 $139.43 | $302.10

$-.28 | $-.60 $-4.28 | $-9.27

Panama Canal Area Benefit Plan High self 431 $206.22 | $446.81 High family 432 $430.45 | $932.64

$51.55 | $111.70 $107.61 | $233.16

$.00 | $.00 $.00 | $.00

$154.67 | $335.11 $322.84 | $699.48

w w w. n a r f e . o r g

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39

Open Season Report

2014 premiums — largest hmos*

KEY: Employees pay biweekly Annuitants pay monthly

Enrollee Increase / Total Premium Gov’t Pays Enrollee Pays Decrease State(s) Plan Option Code biweekly | monthly biweekly | monthly biweekly | monthly biweekly | monthly DC, MD, VA M.D.-IPA High self JP1 $290.12 | $628.59 $196.68 | $426.14 $93.44 | $202.45 $16.38 | $35.49 High family JP2 $668.96 | $1,449.41 $437.62 | $948.18 $231.34 | $501.23 $38.51 | $83.44 CA DC CA

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of N. California High self 591 $359.81 | $779.59 $198.68 | $426.14 High family 592 $858.89 | $1,860.93 $437.62 | $948.18 Standard self 594 $301.78 | $653.86 $196.68 | $426.14 Standard family 595 $706.16 | $1,530.01 $437.62 | $948.18

$163.13 | $353.45 $421.27 | $912.75 $105.10 | $227.72 $268.54 | $581.83

$17.05 | $36.95 $41.96 | $90.92 $12.81 | $27.76 $30.96 | $67.08

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Mid-Atlantic States High self E31 $274.80 | $595.40 $196.68 | $426.14 High family E32 $632.04 | $1,369.42 $437.62 | $948.18 Standard self E34 $178.09 | $385.86 $133.57 | $289.40 Standard family E35 $409.59 | $887.45 $307.19 | $665.59

$78.12 | $169.26 $194.42 | $421.24 $44.52 | $96.46 $102.40 | $221.86

$7.59 | $16.45 $18.22 | $39.48 $.93 | $2.01 $2.14 | $4.62

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of S. California High self 621 $259.82 | $562.94 $194.87 | $422.21 High family 622 $600.51 | $1,301.11 $437.62 | $948.18 Standard self 624 $166.50 | $360.75 $124.88 | $270.56 Standard family 625 $384.83 | $833.80 $288.62 | $625.35

$64.95 | $140.73 $162.89 | $352.93 $41.62 | $90.19 $96.21 | $208.45

$5.16 | $11.18 $24.70 | $53.51 $3.31 | $7.18 $7.65 | $16.58

DC, MD, VA Aetna Open Access High self JN1 High family JN2 Basic self JN4 Basic family JN5

$412.99 | $894.81 $925.05 | $2,004.28 $258.86 | $560.86 $578.79 | $1,254.05

$196.68 | $426.14 $437.62 | $948.18 $194.15 | $420.65 $434.09 | $940.54

HI HMSA High self High family

871 872

$210.04 | $455.09 $467.54 | $1,013.00

$157.53 | $341.32 $350.66 | $759.75

$52.51 | $113.77 $116.88 | $253.25

$-.53 | $-1.15 $-1.18 | $-2.56

801 802 804 805

$347.10 | $752.05 $867.83 | $1,880.30 $260.96 | $565.41 $592.57 | $1,283.90

$196.68 | $426.14 $437.62 | $948.18 $195.72 | $424.06 $437.62 | $948.18

$150.42 | $325.91 $430.21 | $932.12 $65.24 | $141.35 $154.95 | $335.72

$16.86 | $36.53 $44.11 | $95.57 $5.93 | $12.85 $16.50 | $35.75

$105.32 | $228.19 $252.46 | $546.99 $60.50 | $131.09 $138.63 | $300.36

$38.85 | $84.17 $89.41 | $193.72 $5.66 | $12.27 $13.25 | $28.70

GHI Health Plan High self High family Standard self Standard family

NJ-NY CA

United Healthcare of California (Formerly PacifiCare) High self CY1 $302.00 | $654.33 $196.68 | $426.14 High family CY2 $690.08 | $1,495.17 $437.62 | $948.18 Standard self CY4 $242.01 | $524.36 $181.51 | $393.27 Standard family CY5 $554.52 | $1,201.46 $415.89 | $901.10

$216.31 | $468.67 $15.05 | $32.61 $487.43 | $1,056.10 $34.12 | $73.93 $64.71 | $140.21 $2.96 | $6.42 $144.70 | $313.51 $4.28 | $9.26

*Based on information provided by the Office of Personnel Management. If your plan is not listed, it simply means that your plan is not one of the largest.

Open Season changes for employees are effective at the beginning of the first pay period after January 1, 2014. Changes for retirees and survivor annuitants are effective January 1, 2014, and premium changes will be reflected in February 1, 2014,

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annuity payments. If verified enrollment is required, the change notice from OPM should suffice for annuitants, the notification from their agency will suffice for employees. For more information, go to www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare.

Š 2013 Government Employees Health Association, Inc. All rights reserved.

Open Season Report

(Continued from p. 38) New HMO Plans. FEHBP HMO plans are available in every state. Four new HMO plans will be added to the FEHBP for 2014: • Humana Health Benefit Plan of Louisiana, Inc., codes BC and AE; • Total Health Care USA, code A5, in parts of Michigan; • Scott & White Health Plan, code A8, in parts of Texas; and • HealthKeepers, Inc., code A9, in parts of Virginia. New Service Area Choices. Five HMOs have new service areas with new enrollment codes: • Aetna Value Plan in most of AK, CA, HI, IN, OH, OK, SC, TX and WI, code JS4, JS5; • Humana Health Plan, Inc., in Arizona’s Maricopa and Pinal counties, code BF; and Pima

County, code C7; • Humana Medical Plan, Inc., in Florida counties of Flagler and Volusia, code EX; and Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole, code E2; • Humana Health Plan of Texas, Inc., in the counties of Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fayette, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton, code EW; and • Aetna Whole Health in Virginia in Essex, Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond and York, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and Williamsburg, codes J91 and J92. New Option. Kaiser Foundation HP of California will offer a Basic option, codes KC1 and KC2.

Live Webcasts and More From OPM

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will host three live webcasts to give employees and retirees an opportunity to learn more about the federal benefits programs. They will begin with a PowerPoint presentation and will be followed by a live question-and-answer session. Employees and annuitants can email related questions to a panel of experts. Visit www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/openseason to view the webcasts live on their scheduled dates: • Introduction to Open Season, November 13, 1:30 p.m., EST • Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), November 14, 1:30, EST • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAFEDS) – For active federal employees only, November 19, 1:30 p.m., EST. Additional Information on Open Season is available from OPM: • On the Web: www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/openseason • On Facebook: www.facebook.com/fedbenefits (Get updates on Open Season and participate in discussions with other federal employees, retirees and their family members about federal insurance options.) • On Twitter: http://twitter.com/insurefeds. (Get the latest updates on Open Season by subscribing to the Federal Benefits Twitter account.) OPM also offers information about retirement and the health benefits programs at: • www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/fastfacts/thinkfehb.pdf • www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/fastfacts/thinkfedvip.pdf.

Service Area Reductions. Three plans will reduce service areas: • Aetna Open Access will terminate code IK (Chicago and North Indiana area); • HealthAmerica PA will terminate codes SW and YW (Central Pennsylvania); and • M.D. IPA will terminate service in Central Virginia and Richmond areas. Plan Terminations. Two HMO plans will drop out of the FEHBP after December 31, 2013: • Physicians Health Plan in Michigan, codes 9U4 and 9U5; and • Blue Choice in New York, codes MK1, MK2, MK4, MK5. The 1,824 federal enrollees in these plans must select new coverage during Open Season. All enrollees in an HMO should review their plan’s 2014 brochure to see if they still live or work in their plan’s service area.

Information Sources

Active Employees. Federal agencies will provide employees with Open Season information and sources for more information. Employees who do not receive Open Season information by November 11 should contact their personnel or administrative office. Annuitants and Survivor Annuitants. OPM will provide Open Season information to most eligible annuitants, survivor annuitants and former spouse annuitants. Those who do not receive Open Season notices by November 11 should contact OPM. Plans will not automatically send enrollees their 2014 brochure. You must request one or download it from the OPM website. —Federal Benefits Service Department

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PAY LESS. GET MORE! Big savings on the way. Federal retirees can get Medicare Part B for virtually FREE with MHBP. Save big with the MHBP Part B Premium Savings Program! If you are a retired federal employee who has or will soon enroll for Medicare, you may qualify to have MHBP reimburse your Medicare Part B premium, up to the standard amount — $104.90/mo. in 2013. For you and your covered spouse, Medicare Part B coverage could be virtually free. Simply enroll in the MHBP Standard Option health plan and the Part B Premium Savings Program to save over $1,250 a year per person or $2,500 a year per couple! Strengthen your federal health benefits by adding Medicare Part B. Why not get more coverage? After all, MHBP will help pay for it!

It Pays to Choose MHBP

Get in on the Deal

Here are a few good reasons to enroll in MHBP Standard Option with the Part B Premium Savings Program:

1. Enroll in MHBP Standard Option during Open Season (Nov. 11- Dec. 9): Use code 454 for Self Only coverage or 455 for Self and Family. Retirees may use Open Season Online or call Open Season Express at 1-800-332-9798 to enroll.

✔ You will have comprehensive health coverage that easily coordinates with Medicare. ✔ You can get Medicare Part B coverage at no cost to you (barring any late enrollment penalty). ✔ You will maximize your benefits by having both Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) and Medicare coverage. ✔ You can avoid paying the late enrollment penalty by enrolling for Medicare when first eligible. ✔ You can mitigate the added premium cost Medicare imposes for high-income earners. ✔ You will have more certainty about your out-of-pocket expenses as a retiree on a fixed income.

2. Complete the MHBP Part B Premium Savings Program enrollment form, located on www.mhbp.com, and mail it to the address provided on the form. 3. Enroll for Medicare Parts A & B, if you don’t already have this coverage, as soon as you become eligible or during the general election period (January 1 – March 31 each year). 4. Notify MHBP once you have completed your Medicare enrollment. 5. Submit your reimbursement request* with your proof of premium payment.

MHBP Standard Option with the Part B Premium Savings Program offers you the best of all possibilities — the Medicare coverage you need paid for by MHBP and lower out-of-pocket costs. There’s also the cash back — just over $1,250 or $2,500 each year that’s returned to your budget.

Learn more! Call MHBP at 1-888-475-2622 or visit www.mhbp.com. *You will be eligible to begin to receiving your premium reimbursement after your Medicare and MHBP enrollments become effective. The effective dates can vary based on when you enroll for coverage (e.g., FEHB Open Season, qualifying life event, Medicare general enrollment period, initial Medicare enrollment, etc.). This is a summary of the Mail Handlers Benefit Plan Standard Option and Medicare. Before making a final decision, please read the official Plan brochure (RI 71-007). All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the official Plan brochure. A single annual $42 associate membership fee makes all MHBP plans available to you. For more information about Medicare call 1-800-MEDICAR. © 2013 Coventry Health Care, Inc. All rights reserved.

Open Season Report

FEHBP FAQs for open season Other frequently asked questions appeared in the October 2013 issue.

W

ill provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) affect my health plan’s benefits under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)?

No. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was intended to reform the health insurance industry as well as provide opportunities for those without health insurance to be able to obtain it. The FEHBP is an employer group insurance plan and meets all of the minimum essential coverage requirements under the law. With the exception of members of Congress and their staffs, no one enrolled in a plan under the FEHBP will be directly affected by the ACA.

H

ow should I go about choosing an FEHBP plan?

Review your health care needs for the past year or two and consider the kinds of care you think you may need during the next year. If you or a family member have been using a lot of hospital inpatient care, and you think you will continue to use that kind of care, choose a plan that has excellent hospital inpatient coverage. These include health maintenance organization (HMO) plans and any fee-for-service (FFS) plans with good preferred provider arrangements with hospitals. If you think you need better coverage for outpatient doctors’ visits, diagnostic tests or prescriptions, choose an HMO or an FFS plan that has good preferred provider agreements with a wide 44

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variety of doctors and labs. Before you change to another plan, obtain and review the brochure for that plan, and check on the availability of preferred providers.

A

re there waiting periods for benefits, limitations or exclusions on pre-existing conditions?

FEHBP plans cannot, by law, impose waiting periods, exclusions or limits on benefits because of a pre-existing condition. There is no medical underwriting in the FEHBP.

I

s it possible to make a serious mistake in choosing a plan in the FEHBP?

All FEHBP plans are good. All cover hospital and physician care, prescriptions, outpatient diagnostic lab tests, treatment of mental illness, home health care, routine mammograms for women over 35, routine prostate cancer tests for men over 40 and smoking cessation programs. Some also cover special benefits like acupuncture and dental care. In addition, many HMOs provide more comprehensive preventive care. Generally, you can make a serious mistake only if you enroll in: a costly plan or option when you don’t need one; a plan that doesn’t cover a special benefit when you need it; self-only coverage when you need family coverage, or vice versa; or, if you live outside the continental United States and Puerto Rico, and enroll in a plan that does not offer “overseas” benefits.

W

hich benefit is the most important to consider?

For those not enrolled in Medicare Part B, the Catastrophic Protection Benefit is very important. It puts a dollar limit on the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket in terms of co-payments and coinsurance for the expenses that the plan covers. Considering the Catastrophic Protection Benefits for a two-option plan, it is not possible generally to recover enough in additional high-option benefits to offset the much higher premiums. However, you should carefully compare the options, especially prescription drug coverage.

W

hat are the advantages and disadvantages to HMO enrollment?

HMOs are available to most employees and annuitants, and offer a good alternative to FFS plans. HMOs cover hospital and physician care and prescriptions, but they stress preventive care, covering routine physicals, immunizations and well-baby care. Many HMOs offer more comprehensive coverage (including dental) at lower premiums than FFS plans. HMO plans tend to be offered more frequently in urban areas and less frequently or not at all in rural areas. For most care, enrollees must use doctors and hospitals that are approved by the HMO or with which the HMO has working agreements. Most HMOs require

APWU Health Plan works with Medicare to ensure your claims are processed and paid.

With the APWU Health Plan’s High Option there is no extra paper work for you to fill out. Many retirees prefer the APWU Health Plan because of its affordable premium and excellent coverage. You’ve earned the freedom to enjoy life, including good health care coverage. The APWU Health Plan’s High Option features: • With Medicare A and B up to $0 out-of-pocket cost because: APWU Health Plan will waive the deductible and coinsurance You are free to choose any doctor you wish in or out-of-network Other features: • Automatic claims submission to Medicare for the High Option • Excellent Pharmacy Benefits, covers as much as Medicare D • 100% coverage for Shingles Vaccine after the age of 60 • Cancer Centers of Excellence paid at 95% • $1500 towards hearing aids • No denials for a pre-existing condition

1-800-222-2798 www.apwuhp.com

Open Season Report

Got questions about Medicare and the FEHBP? NARFE’s got the answers at “Medicare and the FEHBP” at www.narfe.org.

that an enrollee’s care be coordinated by a primary care physician. Compared to FFS plans, enrollee access to specialists is more limited under an HMO plan. HMOs generally limit benefits

outside of their full service areas to emergency services only. Sometimes, HMO plans that participate in the FEHBP are harder to find in rural areas. Doctors’ contracts with HMO

plans do not necessarily run from January 1 through December 31, which means that a plan doctor may leave the plan during the FEHBP contract year. —Federal Benefits Service Department

Important Reminders for all FEHBP Participants • Research Preferred Providers. Feefor-service (FFS) plans use preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and doctors to help contain program costs and keep premiums at a reasonable rate. Usually, you will save a lot on out-of-pocket costs if you use your plan’s preferred hospitals or doctors. However, PPO arrangements are business contracts that are not always renewed. PPO arrangements can be made and also can be discontinued from one year to the next. In addition, there may not be PPO arrangements in all parts of the country. If you are enrolled in an FFS plan or thinking of enrolling in one, you should check with the hospitals and doctors you use and ask them if they are PPO providers in your plan. You also can review your plan’s PPO directory to see if your doctor or hospital is a PPO provider for your plan.

• Ask Questions. Be careful to confirm information in your plan’s brochure by speaking with a plan representative. Do not assume anything. For example, plans may describe benefits in terms of “annual” or “annually.” This would seem to mean “each year,” when, in fact, the plan may mean that a year must have elapsed before it will cover you again. Also, while a hospital may be a PPO for your plan, not all departments in that hospital are PPO providers. Hospitals contract out much of their emergency room, technical and lab work to other groups, who may not be PPO providers for your plan, and you will pay more for their services. • ID Cards. New plan identification cards showing your enrollment are issued by the health plan. If you do not change to another plan or option during Open Season, you don’t necessarily get a new ID card from the plan.

Important Reminders for Annuitants and Survivors • Open Season Notification. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will send annuitants notification by mail or electronically if you have provided OPM with your email address. Both notices will provide details on Open Season and guidance on how to obtain information and materials. • PLAN PARTICIPATION. Make sure your current plan will participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) for 2014. This is especially important if you are currently enrolled in a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan. • Staying Put. If, after reading your current plan’s brochure – particularly the changes and premiums for 2014 – you decide to continue your current coverage, you do not have to do anything. Your enrollment in your current plan will continue into 2014, and the new premiums will be deducted from your February 1, 2014, monthly annuity payment. • Making a Change. For Open Season changes, call the Open Season Express number provided in your FEHBP Open Season notice, log on to Open

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Season Online at the Internet address provided in your Open Season notice, or contact the Open Season Processing Center provided in your Open Season notice. • Low Annuity. If your monthly annuity is not enough to cover your plan’s 2014 premiums, you must either change to a less costly option or change to a plan that you can afford. You also may pay your monthly premiums directly to OPM if you want to stay with your current plan but your monthly annuity is not sufficient to withhold the premium amount. • Medicare Enrollees. Make sure that you read your plan brochure’s sections titled “When You Have Medicare” and “Coordinating Benefits With Other Coverage.” • Age 65 and Not Enrolled in Medicare. Fee-for-service (FFS) plans include a section in their brochures titled “When You Are Age 65 or Over and Do Not Have Medicare.” This section details how, by law, the plan must use Medicare’s approved amounts on which to base its payments.

Open Season Report

FEDVIP Premiums

T

he average premium increase for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) will be less than 1 percent for dental coverage, and the average premiums for vision benefits will decrease by 1.3 percent, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced September 24. FEDVIP is separate and different from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). OPM has contracted with 14 insurance carriers to provide comprehensive coverage under the program.

Dental Insurance

There are 10 dental plans: • Aetna Life Insurance Company; • Humana/CompBenefits; • Government Employees Health Association, Inc. (GEHA); • MetLife, Inc.; • Triple-S, Inc.; • United Concordia Companies, Inc; • Blue Cross/Blue Shield (NEW); • Dominion Dental (NEW); • Delta Dental (NEW); and • Emblem Health (NEW). (GHI is no longer participating in FEDVIP.) Dental plans will provide a comprehensive range of services, including the following: • Class A (Basic) services, which include oral examinations, prophylaxis, diagnostic evaluations, sealants and X-rays. • Class B (Intermediate) services, which include restorative procedures such as fillings, prefabricated stainless steel crowns, periodontal scaling, tooth extractions and denture adjustments. • Class C (Major) services, which include endodontic services 48

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such as root canals, periodontal services such as gingivectomy, major restorative services such as crowns, oral surgery, bridges and prosthodontic services such as complete dentures. • Class D (Orthodontic) services with up to a 24-month waiting period. Please review the dental plans’ benefits material for detailed information on the benefits covered, cost-sharing requirements and provider directories.

Vision Insurance

There are four vision plans: • FEP BlueVision (Blue Cross/ Blue Shield); • UnitedHealthcare Vision Plan; • Vision Service Plan (VSP); and • Aetna (NEW). Vision plans will provide comprehensive eye examinations and coverage for lenses, frames and contact lenses (in lieu of eyeglasses). Other benefits such as discounts on LASIK surgery may also be available. There are no deductibles or waiting periods. You must review the vision plans’ benefits material for detailed information on the benefits covered, cost-sharing requirements and provider directories.

premiums

Premiums will vary by plan and by enrollment type (self, self-plusone, or self-and-family). Premiums for the nationwide dental plans and one regional dental plan are based on home ZIP codes. (For most dental plans, there are five “rating areas” for each carrier. The rating areas for each carrier are not the same for all plans. See the specific plan brochure or call the plan’s cus-

tomer service number to determine your region and premium.) There is no government contribution to FEDVIP premiums. If you are a federal employee, your premiums will be taken from your salary on a pretax basis when your salary is sufficient to make the premium withholding. If you are an annuitant, premiums will be withheld from your monthly annuity check when your annuity is sufficient. Based on the Internal Revenue Service Code, pretax premiums are not available to annuitants. For information on each plan’s specific premiums, visit www. opm.gov/insure/dentalvision.

FEDVIP Fast Facts

Eligibility. Federal and U.S. Postal Service employees eligible for FEHBP coverage (whether or not enrolled) and annuitants (regardless of FEHBP status) are eligible to enroll in a dental plan and/or a vision plan. Enrollment options. The following options are available: • Self-only. This option covers only the enrolled employee or annuitant; • Self-plus-one. This option covers the enrolled employee or annuitant plus one eligible family member specified by the enrollee; • Self-and-family. This option covers the enrolled employee or annuitant and all eligible family members. Eligible family members. Eligible family members include your spouse, unmarried dependent children under age 22, and unmarried dependent children age 22 or over incapable of selfsupport because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 22. Note: The Afford-

Dominion Dental Plans Now Available Through FEDVIP! New Choices and More Ways to Save on Dental Benefits for Federal Employees, Retirees and Their Families!

Serving: Mid-Atlantic States of District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and parts of Virginia and parts of New Jersey. This open season (November 11, 2013 through December 9, 2013), Dominion will be the only Dental HMO plan offered in the FEDVIP program that makes dental benefits available to Federal employees, retirees and their families. Dominion’s Select Dental HMO Plans Offer: • Benefits without maximum dollar limits, waiting periods or deductibles • Coverage on all typical dental services, including cleanings, fillings, endodontics (root canals), periodontics, crowns and bridges, implants and orthodontics (for adults and children) • Pre-determined fees (fixed copayments) • One of the largest Dental HMO networks in the Mid-Atlantic* • Rates starting as low as $5.96 per bi-weekly pay period Visit FederalDentalPlans.com today or call our Member Services Department at 855-836-6337 to compare plans, view rates and other resources designed to help you choose the dental plan that’s right for you and your family. Dominion is a leading provider and administrator of dental benefits in the Mid-Atlantic. Among our 500,000 customers are leading health plans, employer groups, municipalities, associations and individuals. Dominion is headquartered in Alexandria, VA. FederalDentalPlans.com

Brought to you by Dominion Dental Services

*Dominion Dental Services, Inc. Network Analysis Report, 2nd Quarter 2013. Participating dentists are subject to change. This policy has exclusions, limitations and terms under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued.

Open Season Report

able Care Act does not mandate coverage under dental and vision plans for dependents up to age 26. Under FEDVIP, the age limit for coverage of dependents is age 22. Plan Information. Your Open Season notice will include information on FEDVIP. You can also find a comparison of the plans available and their premiums on the OPM website at www. opm.gov/insure/dentalvision. It also provides links to each plan’s website, where you can view detailed information about benefits and preferred providers. Enrolling. Eligible employees and annuitants can enroll online during Open Season at www. BENEFEDS.com. BENEFEDS is a

secure website sponsored by OPM where you enter your name, personal information such as address and Social Security number, the agency you work for (or retirement plan that pays your annuity), and the dental/vision plan you select. For those without access to a computer, call 877-888-FEDS (877-888-3337); TTY, 877-8895680. You cannot enroll in a FEDVIP plan using the Health Benefits Election form (SF 2809) or through an agency self-service system, such as Employee Express, MyPay or Employee Personal page. However, those sites may provide a link to www. BENEFEDS.com. Coverage for those who enroll during this year’s

UHC3454 FedNARFEad_Layout 1 8/26/13 11:00 AM Page 1

Federal Benefits Open Season will be effective January 1, 2014. Coordination of benefits. Your FEHBP plan is separate from the dental and vision insurance program. You may enroll in any dental or vision plan. Any coverage provided under your FEHBP plan remains as your primary coverage. FEDVIP coverage would pay secondary to that coverage. When you enroll in a dental and/or vision plan using the website www.BENEFEDS.com, you will be asked to provide information on your FEHBP plan so that your plans can coordinate benefits. Providing your FEHBP information may reduce your outof-pocket costs.

Vision wellness for a healthier, stronger America. Did you know 80% of vision loss is preventable?* UnitedHealthcare Vision offers two plans that include an annual comprehensive eye exam, savings on progressive no-line bifocals, and much more! Whatever your individual or family need is we make it easy to maintain healthy eyes and save money while you’re at it. Protect the precious gift of sight and your overall health.

FEDVIP Open Season Enrollment at: www.benefeds.com or 1.877.888.3337 November 11 – December 9

2014

www.myuhcvision.com/fedvip 1-866-249-1999 ¤

*WHO, 2010. UnitedHealthcare Vision® coverage provided by or through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company, located in Hartford, Connecticut, or its affiliates. Administrative services provided by Spectera, Inc., United HealthCare Services, Inc. or their affiliates.

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NEARLY 450,000 FEDVIP DENTAL MEMBERS

THIS PLAN IS YOUR PLAN. United Concordia was one of the first dental carriers in the FEDVIP program. But we’re always improving our offering to make it better for the federal employees we serve. This year, you’ll find enhanced benefits, lower rates in most regions and wider access to our network of quality dentists. You’ll also get our legendary customer service, for a plan that fits your needs.

Protecting More Than Just Your Smile.™

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FEDVIP Open Season: November 11–December 9, 2013

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Managing Money

ending Stretch IRAs Would harm heirs

E

limination of the “stretch IRA,” floated last year by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and again this year in President Obama’s

budget proposal, has been gaining traction. It has also shown up in nonpartisan proposals as a way to simplify the tax code, so it seems the idea could become a reality. If it does, it would have a detrimental effect on the value nonspouse beneficiaries receive from retirement accounts.

A stretch IRA is not a specific type of individual retirement account (IRA) or product; rather, it’s a strategy nonspouse beneficiaries may use to maximize the tax-deferred growth of a traditional IRA or the tax-free growth of a Roth IRA. For example, when a nonspouse beneficiary inherits a traditional IRA or Roth IRA, he or she has a decision to make: either liquidate the inherited IRA account completely within five years, or take required minimum distributions (RMDs) based on his or her own life expectancy (hence the term “stretch”). A beneficiary may always choose to take more than the required minimum distribution at any point in time. So, if a beneficiary initially elects the stretch option, he or she can accelerate the distributions if so desired. Baucus’ original proposal applied only to traditional IRAs, but more recent proposals have 52

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included both traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Furthermore, up to this point, the proposals apply only to future inherited IRAs. Anyone who has already inherited an IRA and has been stretching RMDs would be unaffected. While employer-sponsored plans, such as the Thrift Savings Plan, do not permit nonspouse beneficiaries to stretch RMDs, they do permit a nonspouse beneficiary to transfer the inherited retirement plan to a beneficiary IRA, at which point the nonspouse beneficiary must choose between the RMD and five-year rules. As a result, the elimination of the stretch IRA would effectively force any nonspouse beneficiary inheriting a retirement account, whether it’s an IRA or employer-sponsored plan, to liquidate the account within five years of the death of the owner. Losing years, perhaps decades, of tax-deferred growth

By Mark A. Keen,

CFP®

(tax-free growth in the case of Roth IRAs) would have huge, negative consequences on inherited retirement accounts. Not only would the elimination of the stretch IRA stunt the growth of inherited retirement accounts, but forcing the liquidation of the inherited account within five years may push the beneficiaries of larger distributions into higher tax brackets, resulting in thousands of dollars in additional income taxes. For example, let’s assume the wife of a married couple filing a joint return, with $60,000 of taxable income, inherits a $300,000 IRA from her grandmother. Under the stretch IRA rules, the 40-year-old woman’s first required minimum distribution would be approximately $6,900. Under the new rules, she would be forced to liquidate the entire account by the fifth year following the year her grandmother died. For this example, we’ll assume she spreads the distributions evenly over five years and distributes $60,000 per year until the account is liquidated. For married couples filing jointly, the 15 percent tax bracket ends and the 25 percent tax bracket starts at $72,500. Under the RMD rule, the wife’s entire $6,900 would be taxed at 15 percent. However, the larger $60,000 distribution

FINANCIAL TOOLS NARFE offers an online retirement calculator and other financial planning tools. Find out more at www.narfe.org/ federalbenefits.

would push $47,500 of the couple’s taxable income into the 25 percent tax bracket. They would pay an additional 10 percent, or $4,750, in federal income taxes that would not have been paid if the wife had been able to stretch the payments out. There may be other side effects as well. For example, seniors receiving Social Security retirement benefits and who inherit an IRA from a nonspouse

may lose a larger percentage of their Social Security benefits to taxes. Furthermore, seniors may see higher Medicare premiums as a result of the larger distributions. To preserve your retirement account and pass it down to nonspouse beneficiaries, a Roth IRA conversion, already popular, will become even more appealing if the stretch IRA is ended. Although many on Capitol Hill claim the stretch IRA is a loophole exploited only by millionaires and billionaires, the elimination of it would surely have a negative impact on millions of middle-class Americans. Mark A. Keen, CFP®, is partner, Keen & Pocock, 10300 Eaton place, Fairfax, VA, and an investment adviser representative and registered principal of The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. (SFA). Securities and advisory services are offered through SFA. Email: mkeen@keenpocock.com.

FEDVIP:

The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program Federal and U.S. Postal Service employees, retirees, and survivor annuitants: Now is the time for you to join the almost 2 million others who have enrolled in FEDVIP, the premier program for dental and vision coverage. Take advantage of the 2013 Federal Benefits Open Season (November 11–December 9) to enroll.

Visit www.BENEFEDS.com/OS2013 to:  Check your eligibility Visit the tools in our “Education & Support” section to answer all of your eligibility questions.

 Research FEDVIP plans and rates Easily compare the 10 dental and 4 vision plans to find the right one for you.

 Enroll Enroll in just 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your selections. You may also enroll by calling 1-877-888-3337.

BENEFEDS is the fast, secure, and only way to enroll in FEDVIP.

Federal Employees Dental And Vision Insurance Program

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53

The Informed Citizen

check their records

V

oting on public policy proposals is the defining behavior of senators and representatives. Since 2009, the pay for members of Congress is $174,000 per year. Judging whether your members earned that pay and deserve your vote can be aided by knowing how representatives and senators have voted on key issues impacting federal employees and retirees. Information on five key House votes and two key Senate votes cast in the current Congress (which began January 3), as well as on votes back to 2005, is as close as your computer or your local library. The starting point is http://capwiz.com/narfe/ home/. Using our Legislative Action Center’s “Issues and Legislation” module, you can select Key Votes, insert your ZIP code and see votes important to NARFE members cast by each of your senators and your representative. Clicking on a legislator’s name will display a photograph, biographical information and links to additional information. Selecting the tab marked “Votes” displays a bar graph like the one at right for Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-VA, a long-serving NARFE champion. The 84 representatives first elected in 2012 will have five votes; the 84 representatives who were re-elected in 2012 after their first term should have at least 12 votes displayed. Since 1982, NARFE has carefully selected votes on which the Association has a position

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mandated by a NARFE National Convention or that would impact the earned benefits of federal employees and retirees. While eager to avoid strictly partisan issues, it is now next to impossible. On one of the five selected votes for the House, most Democrats voted “Present.” Thus, the outcome of the vote was almost entirely within the Republican Conference. The stakes were high, and the issues clear. During consideration of the budget resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 25, a substitute was offered on behalf of the Republican Study Committee (RSC). The RSC substitute would, beginning in 2015, convert the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to a premium support system. The resolution also would substitute the Chained CPI

By Christopher Farrell, Legislative Representative

in place of current law (CPI-W) for Social Security, military retirement and federal civilian retirement. In a roll-call vote, 104 representatives voted for the substitute; 132 representatives voted against the substitute including 118 Republicans. A vote against the RSC substitute is scored as a plus for NARFE. A year from now, early voting for the 114th Congress will have begun. NARFE members, part of the most-likely-to-vote age cohort, can be equipped with information from either our Legislative Action Center or, as we have in past election years, extensive coverage of floor votes in the October 2014 issue of this magazine.

ult LY r va ON ou in 39 1,6

It’s a first. It’s silver. It’s patriotic. And it’s a steal. Washington crossing the Delaware. Eisenhower launching D-Day. Kennedy rescuing the crew of PT 109. These men made history.

This set made history To celebrate the bicentennial of America, the U.S. Mint struck this special three-piece proof set honoring these three American presidents—and our 200th birthday. To capture the bicentennial spirit, the coins in the set are dual–dated 1776–1976. This set was so popular over 4 million were sold. Unlike the regular circulating coins of the day, these coins are struck in 40% precious silver. It’s the first commemorative U.S. Mint Proof Set ever. It’s also the first proof set to feature all dual-dated coins. And finally, it’s the first U.S. Proof Set to include a Silver Dollar.

Americans love proof coins from the U.S. Mint. Each coin is struck twice from specially prepared dies and has deeply-mirrored surfaces and superb frosty images. And you know you’ve got a real piece of American history when you hold this set—the red white and blue holder is spectacular!

Order now risk free We expect our small quantity of Bicentennial Silver Proof Sets to disappear quickly at this special price. We urge you to call now to get yours. You must be satisfied with your set or return it within 30 days of receipt for a prompt refund (less all s&h).

Now for the steal part... This first-ever Bicentennial Silver Proof Set sold out at the mint three decades ago. When you consider how much prices have risen since then, you might expect to pay $100 or more to buy this set today. But for this special offer, we are releasing our entire stock of Bicentennial Silver Proof Sets for only $49 each. Or better yet, buy five and pay only $39 each!

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Please mention this code when you call.

Prices and availability subject to change without notice. Past performance is not a predictor of future performance. Note: New York Mint® is a private distributor of worldwide government coin and currency issues and privately issued licensed collectibles and is not affiliated with the United States government. Facts and figures were deemed accurate as of May 2013. ©2013 New York Mint, LLC

®

14101 Southcross Drive W. Dept. BPF296-06 Burnsville, Minnesota 55337

www.NewYorkMint.com ®

2012 2013

G FUND

F FUND

C FUND

S FUND

I FUND

OCTOBER

0.12%

0.20%

(1.86%)

(1.31%)

0.85%

NOVEMBER

0.11%

0.16%

0.57%

1.53%

2.41%

DECEMBER

0.12%

(0.13%)

0.91%

2.69%

4.02%

JANUARY

0.13%

(0.56%)

5.18%

6.96%

4.45%

FEBRUARY

0.13%

0.51%

1.36%

1.00%

(0.99%)

March

0.13%

0.07%

3.75%

4.69%

0.88%

APRIL

0.12%

1.02%

1.93%

0.65%

5.32%

MAY

0.12%

(1.78%)

2.34%

2.71%

(3.12%)

June

0.14%

(1.53%)

(1.34%)

(0.99%)

(2.77%)

JULY

0.18%

0.13%

5.10%

6.88%

5.29%

AUGUST

0.18%

(0.48%)

(2.89%)

(2.76%)

(1.31%)

SEPTEMBER

0.19%

0.99%

3.14%

5.89%

7.41%

YTD

1.32%

(1.65%)

19.83%

27.39%

15.53%

LAST 12 MO

1.67%

(1.43%)

19.35%

31.08%

24.10%

L INCOME

L 2020

L 2030

L 2040

L 2050

2012

OCTOBER

2013

For the Record

Thrift Savings Plan Monthly Returns

(0.11%)

(0.45%)

(0.60%)

(0.71%)

(0.80%)

NOVEMBER

0.34%

0.77%

0.93%

1.06%

1.19%

DECEMBER

O.47%

1.19%

1.48%

1.69%

1.93%

JANUARY

1.10%

2.83%

3.56%

4.11%

4.63%

FEBRUARY

0.27%

0.41%

0.49%

0.54%

0.56%

MARCH

0.73%

1.69%

2.12%

2.44%

2.71%

APRIL

0.67%

1.58%

1.91%

2.13%

2.41%

MAY

0.19%

0.33%

0.43%

0.51%

0.53%

JUNE

(0.30%)

(0.94%)

(1.20%)

(1.40%)

(1.59%)

JULY

1.21%

2.95%

3.72%

4.29%

4.83%

(0.39%)

(1.22%)

(1.60%)

(1.87%)

(2.11%)

SEPTEMBER

1.12%

2.71%

3.40%

3.90%

4.42%

YTD

4.68%

10.71%

13.41%

15.42%

17.34%

LAST 12 MO

5.42%

12.39%

15.46%

17.76%

20.06%

AUGUST

THIS CHART is provided as a service to NARFE members who enrolled in the Thrift Savings Plan while employed by the federal government. Retirees are not eligible for enrollment. These returns are net of the effect of accrued administrative expenses and investment expenses/costs. Percentages in () are negative. Source: TSP

G Fund: Government securities (specially issued to the TSP) F Fund: Government, corporate and mortgage-backed bonds C Fund: Stocks of large- and medium-size U.S. companies S Fund: Stocks of small- to medium-size U.S. companies (not included in the C Fund) I Fund: International stocks of 21 developed countries L Fund: Invested in the G, F, C, S and I Funds (The proportion of L Fund balance invested in each of the individual TSP funds depends on the L Fund chosen.) 56

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2 013

funds rebounded in september with gains for all TSP funds rebounded strongly in September from August declines. Equity prices advanced through midmonth and reached historic highs, buoyed by the announcement that the Federal Reserve would continue its program of buying Treasury and mortgage bonds. After the announcement, however, equity markets declined from the intramonth highs amid concerns regarding the federal budget impasse. The I Fund posted the largest gain for the month at 7.41 percent. –BY Tracey Ray, chief investment officer of the Thrift Savings Plan

Countdown to COLA

T

he Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) rose 0.1 percent in August. To calculate the amount of the 2014 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), the indices of July, August and September 2013 will be averaged and compared with the 2012 third-quarter average of 226.936. That percentage increase, if any, determines the COLA. The August index of 230.359 is up 1.51 percent from the base. Benefits awarded under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) to individuals suffering work-related injuries or illnesses are adjusted according to each calendar year’s percentage change in the CPI-W. August’s index is 1.98 percent higher than the December 2012 base index of 225.889. The CPI represents purchases of food and beverages, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, education and communication, and other goods and services. Included are various government fees, such as water charges, auto registration fees, and sales and excise taxes. Month

CPI-W

Monthly % Change

% Change from 226.936

October 2012

227.974

-0.1

0.45

November

226.595

-0.6

-0.15

December

225.889

-0.3

-0.46

January 2013

226.520

+0.3

-0.18

February

228.677

+1.0

+0.77

March

229.323

+0.3

+1.05

April

228.949

-0.2

+0.89

May

229.399

+0.2

+1.09

June

230.002

+0.3

+1.35

July

230.084

+0.04

+1.39

August

230.359

+0.1

+1.51

September

Donate to NARFE Programs Support Alzheimer’s Research

Your charitable contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Write your chapter number on check; make it payable to: NARFE-Alzheimer’s Research

Enclosed is my NARFE-Alzheimer’s contribution: $ Every cent that is contributed is used for research. Please circle: Mr. Mrs. Miss Ms. and mail to: Name: Alzheimer’s Association Address: 225 N. Michigan Ave., 17th Floor City: State: ZIP: Chicago, IL 60601-7633 Chapter Number: Credit Card Information: MasterCard Visa NARFE members contributed for If you have any questions, write to: Discover AMEX Alzheimer’s research: $11 Million Fund National Committee Chair Card Number: Jane Rodgers, P.O. Box 234 Expiration Date: (mm)/ (yy) Wadesville, IN 47638-0234 *Total as of August 31, 2013 3-Digit Security Code: 100% of all contributed funds go to Name: (please print) Email: ajrodgers@tds.net

$10,470,008* Alzheimer’s research.

Signature

Join the Silver CIrcle Clip this contribution form and mail to: NARFE Silver Circle, 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314

•For a contribution of $25 or more, you will receive a Silver Circle pin, and your name will be listed in narfe magazine with other contributors. •For a contribution of $1,000 or more, your name will be placed on the “Wall of Fame” at NARFE Headquarters.

YOUR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION IS TAX-DEDUCTIBLE TO THE FULLEST EXTENT ALLOWED BY LAW.

/

Enclosed is my Silver Circle contribution: $ ID # (ID # may be found on your narfe magazine label or your NARFE membership card)

Name: Address: City: Silver Circle contributions are NOT deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Installment Plan Wall of Fame 12-month installment plan

Give to the Scholarship and Disaster Funds

Please mail coupon and check to: FEEA 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300 Lakewood, CO 80227

/

All donations go to the NARFE General Fund to support NARFE programs and operations.

State:

ZIP:

My check is enclosed

(Please make check payable to NARFE Silver Circle.)

Please charge my credit card Card type MasterCard Visa Discover AMEX Card Number: Expiration Date: (mm)/ (yy) Name: (please print)

Signature

Make check payable to: NARFE-FEEA Disaster Fund or NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund.

Date

YES!

Date

/

/

I would like to help with my contribution.

Please check appropriate box(es). To make credit-card contributions, call 800-338-0755. Scholarships are available to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of federal civilian retirees and current federal employees who are NARFE members. NARFE-FEEA Disaster Fund

Amount: $

NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund

Amount: $

Name: Address: City:

State:

ZIP:

NARFE News

2014 NARFE Photo Contest Opens! NARFE’s 2014 Photo Contest is now open. Winning photos will appear in the 2015 NARFE Calendar. Deadline is February 15, 2014. Members may submit up to five photos. Contest details are available on the NARFE website, www. narfe.org. Log in, click on “Special Programs” in the left panel, then select “Photo Contest Calendar.” Apology: The April photo in the 2014 NARFE Calendar was taken by William Witmer of Lakewood, CO. His name was misspelled in the calendar. NARFE regrets the error.

CREDIT UNION BRANCHES OUT

N

ARFE Premier Federal Credit accounts. The credit union has more Union opened its newest than 36,000 surcharge-free ATMs branch, at NARFE Headquar- and over 5,000 shared branches. It ters in Alexandria, VA, September 5. also offers the NARFE Visa ReNARFE members and their wards credit card, with no balance families automatically qualify for transfer fee, annual fee or cashcredit union membership, regardadvance fee. Members earn 1,500 less of where they live. Membership bonus points with their first purbenefits include low rates on loans, chase, then one point per dollar on interest on checking, savings acall purchases, redeemable for travel, Life Membership Design 3/26/13 PM Page 1 counts, shareApl_New certificates and trust 3:49 merchandise and gift cards.

Pictured at the new branch are NARFE Treasurer Richard G. Thissen, right, and NARFE Premier Credit Union’s Amy Montgomery and Jeff Parish.

NARFE NATIONAL LIFE MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION Life Membership Fee Schedule Ages

Contact Information n Mr. n Mrs. n Miss n Ms. Full Name _____________________________________________ Street Address _________________________________________ Apt./Unit______________________________________________ City _______________________ State _____ ZIP _____________ Phone (__________) ____________________________________ Email_________________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ /_________ /___________________ dd

mm

yyyy

Recruiter ID # (if applicable) _________________________________ Chapter Number _______________________________________ (call 800-456-8410 for chapter information) Membership Information Member Number: ______________________________________ (New members) Membership is open to civilians in any agency of the federal or D.C. (before Oct. 1, 1987) governments eligible for a federal annuity.

Thank you for becoming a National Member for Life. You will receive a membership card, certificate and special lapel pin. Please allow six weeks for processing. Dues payments & gift contributions to NARFE are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes. 58

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Single or Quarterly Payment Installments 30-39 $1,796 $450.25 40-50 1,408 353.25 51-55 1,127 283.00 56-60 960 241.25 61-65 801 201.50 66-70 653 164.50 71-75 514 129.75 76-80 392 99.25 81-90 251 64.00 91-100+ 127 33.00

I am a (check all that apply) n Active Federal Employee n Active Federal Employee Spouse n Annuitant n Annuitant Spouse n Survivor Annuitant

PAYMENT INFORMATION n Single Payment or n Quarterly Installments (4 payments) Life Membership fee amount: $ ______________________ PAYMENT OPTIONS n Check or Money Order (Payable to NARFE) n Charge my: n MasterCard n VISA n Discover n American Express Card No. __________________________________________ Expiration Date _________ /_________ mm

yyyy

Name on Card ______________________________________ Signature ____________________________ Date ________ MAIL THIS APPLICATION TO NARFE Member Records 606 N. Washington St. / Alexandria, VA 22314-1914

Active and Retired Federal Employees ...

JOIN NARFE TODAY!

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association The only organization dedicated solely to protecting and preserving the benefits of all federal workers and retirees, NARFE informs you of any developments and proposals that affect your compensation, retirement and health benefits, AND provides clear answers to your benefit questions.

Who Should Join?

Three Easy Ways To Join 1. 2. 3.

N A R F E M E M B E R S H I P A P P L I C AT I O N n YES. I want to join NARFE. n Mr. n Mrs. n Miss n Ms. Full Name ________________________________________ Street Address ____________________________________ Apt./Unit ________________________________________

I am a (check all that apply) n n n n n

Active Federal Employee Active Federal Employee Spouse Annuitant Annuitant Spouse Survivor Annuitant

n Please enroll my spouse

City _______________________ State _____ zIp ________

Spouse’s Full Name ________________________________

phone (__________) _______________________________

Spouse’s Email ____________________________________

Email____________________________________________

NARFE respects the privacy of our members. Personal information is used to provide content and relevant communications to our members, and will not be sold or rented to third parties without your express permission.

Choose Your Membership Type o eNARFE Chapter Online Membership – $40 NARFE’s electronic chapter. Receive narfe magazine by mail each month, and all other communications by email and on eNARFE.org. Get important updates and legislative action alerts, and have access to the eNARFE blog.

OR

o Local Chapter Close-to-Home Membership – $40*

PAYMENT OPTIONS n Check, Money Order or Bill pay (payable to NARFE) n Bill me (NARFE membership will start when payment is received.) n Charge my: n MasterCard n VISA n Discover n American Express Card No. _____________________________________ Expiration Date _________ /_________

Affiliation with the NARFE chapter closest to your home. Receive narfe magazine each month; attend meetings, often with invited speakers; network; and get involved in grass-roots lobbying efforts.

Name on Card _________________________________

Chapter Affiliation: Chapter # __ __ __ __(if known, otherwise enroll me in the chapter closest to my zIp code).

Date _________________________________________

*First-year dues. Subsequent years, $40 plus local chapter dues.

Total Dues $40 First-Year Dues X __________ = __________ per person # Enrolling Total Dues

mm

yyyy

Signature _____________________________________

MAY WE THANK SOMEONE? If applicable, please provide the name, membership and chapter number of the member who introduced you to NARFE: Recruiter’s Name __________________________________ Recruiter’s Membership ID __________________________ Recruiter’s Chapter Number _________________________

MAIL THIS APPLICATION TO NARFE Member Records / 606 N. Washington St. / Alexandria, VA 22314-1914

NARFE’s Dues Withholding Program What is dues withholding? It is a dues-payment method that gives NARFE members (retirees) the option of having their annual NARFE membership dues deducted from their annuities on a monthly basis. How does it work? One-twelfth of your total dues is automatically deducted from your monthly annuity. Your monthly deduction is determined by the following formula: (National dues ÷ 12) + (Chapter dues ÷ 12) = Total Monthly Deduction

Advantages • Save 15% off your annual membership dues! • Sign up your spouse and double your savings! • You’ll never get another dues reminder from us! • Your monthly payment is affordable and convenient! • You may cancel your dues withholding at any time! Application process It takes 60-90 days to process your application. Once the process is complete, you will receive a special membership card distinguishing you as a NARFE dues-withholding member.

To learn more about dues withholding, call 800-627-3394. Retirees, spouses of retirees and annuitant survivors are eligible for dues withholding.

NARFE Dues Withholding Application for Retirees n YES. I want to enroll in NARFE’s Dues Withholding Program (Annual dues of $34 plus Chapter dues of record to be withheld annually.) Social Security Number (9-digit number)

Civil Service Annuity Number

C S

(Include prefix, CSA or CSF) (Include any applicable suffix)

n Mr. n Mrs. n Miss n Ms. Full Name _______________________________________

NARFE MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION

Street Address ___________________________________

NARFE Membership ID ____________________________________

Apt./Unit________________________________________

NARFE Chapter Number____________________________________

City _________________________ State _____ ZIP _____

n YES. I Also Authorize My (NARFE Member) Spouse’s Dues To Be

Phone (__________) ______________________________ Email ___________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ /_________ / ____________________ dd

mm

yyyy

Withheld From My Annuity. (Additional annual dues of $34 plus Chapter dues of record to be withheld annually.) If YES, enter spouse’s information below. Spouse’s Name ___________________________________________ Spouse’s Membership ID ___________________________________

AUTHORIZATION (Withholding will begin in 60-90 days). No payment should be forwarded with application. I authorize the United States Office of Personnel Management to make appropriate deductions from my annuity payments, not to exceed the amount certified by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association as the amount of dues for which I am annually obligated, in accordance with elections I make below, and to pay the deducted sum to the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE). This authorization shall also apply to any and all dues changes certified by NARFE membership in accordance with elections I make below: Please allow 60-90 days for processing.

I understand that this authorization shall be valid until NARFE receives and processes my written notice of cancellation in accordance with its agreement with the Office of Personnel Management and that any disputes regarding this authorization shall be a matter between NARFE and myself. I hold the Office of Personnel Management harmless for any erroneous allotment deduction made pursuant to this authorization. ___________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________

Signature of Annuitant or Survivor-Annuitant

Date

Dues payments and gifts or contributions to NARFE are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. MAIL THIS FORM TO: NARFE, ATTN: Member Records, 606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 www.narfe.org 800-627-3394 rr@narfe.org Do not send money with this form

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PLush Fleece Warmth From heel to toes

EXTRA-LONG

MAGIC touch cLosure straP For a Perfect, adjustable Fit!

especially recommended for

BUNIONS! ARTHRITIS! AND SORE FEET!

MeMory FoaM InsoLes

offers order now www.DreamProducts.com web may vary or toll-free 1-800-530-2689 Receive a FREE Surprise Gift With Every Order

Wear Them Indoors Or Outdoors! Wide Feet? Sore Feet? Bunions? Arthritis? No problem. Simply adjust your own comfort for a perfect, custom-made fit! The secret is the extra-long, 6” magic touch closure strap that eliminates tightness and binding. Plush pile interior keeps feet toasty warm. Thick memory foam insoles cushion every step. Durable TPR soles protect against slipping, indoors and outdoors. Micro-suede upper for that soft suede feel! Special import value in sizes for ladies and men. Order now and save! Satisfaction Guaranteed or Return For Your Money Back

Best Friend Adjustable Slippers Indicate Number Of Pairs Ordered Under Size

Ladies’

Small (5-6)

Medium (61/2-71/2)

Large (8-9)

X-Large (91/2-101/2)

Men’s

(6-7)

(71/2-81/2)

(9-10)

(11-12)

q VISA q MasterCard q Discover®/NOVUSSMCards Card#

Expiration Date

Dept. 67317

/

#418 #419

Total Qty.

Pair(s) Slippers @ $9.97 pr. $ CA residents must add 7.5% sales tax $ Add regular $3.95 Shipping & Handling per pair $

For ExpEditEd shipping (optional) Add An Additional $2.95 (receive your order 5-7 days from shipment) $ 2.95

q4

Please print clearly.

TOTAL $

Name Address City

ST

Zip

Daytime Phone # Email Address

Check or money order payable to: Dream Products, Inc.

Send Order To: 412 Dream Lane, Van Nuys, CA 91496

Member Perks

NARFE Member Perks

are designed to provide NARFE members with a quality option in their search for commonly used products and services. NARFE makes no guarantee on any products and services listed, and encourages its members to shop and compare before making a decision on any financial matter.

Credit Union

NARFE Premier Federal Credit Union 800-328-1500 www.NARFEpremierfcu.org As a member of NARFE, you have the privilege of joining NARFE Premier Federal Credit Union, which has been serving members since 1935. We offer extensive services at competitive rates to members nationwide. Your savings are federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government. For more information, call the number above, email jparish@narfepremierfcu.org or visit the website.

insurance

NARFE Insurance Services 800-233-5764 www.narfeinsurance.com Designed and administered by Marsh U.S. Consumer, a service of Seabury & Smith, Inc., exclusively for NARFE members: Senior Whole Life, Term Life, Medicare Supplements, Hospital Income Plan, Short Term Recovery Insurance, Pet Insurance, Accidental Death &  Dismemberment, Cancer Care, Enhanced Dental Insurance and Long Term Care. Go to the website for more information on these programs.

GEICO 800-368-2734 NARFE members with good driving records may be eligible for quality automobile insurance from GEICO. Ask about the NARFE discount available to members in many states. Call today for your free, no-obligation rate quote. Be sure to mention that you’re a NARFE member! • Discount amount varies in 62

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some states • Discount not available in all states or in all GEICO companies • One group discount applicable per policy.

Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program 800-LTC FEDS www.LTCFEDS.com Make long-term care insurance part of your retirement plan. With benefits designed specifically for the federal family, the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program offers a smart way to help protect savings and assets, and remain independent should you need long-term care services someday. Start planning for the future. Visit www.LTCFEDS.com today.

Wyndham Hotel Group 877-670-7088 As a member of NARFE, you will receive up to 20% off the “Best Available Rate” at participating locations. Call and give the agent your special discount ID number, 8000002694, at time of booking to receive discount. Whether you are looking for an upscale hotel, an all-inclusive resort or something more cost-effective, we have the right hotel for you... and at the right price. So start saving now. Call our special member-benefits hotline 877-670-7088 and reserve your room today at one of these fine hotels: Wyndham Hotels and Resorts®, Days Inn®, Ramada Worldwide®, Super 8®, Wingate By Wyndham®, Baymont Inns and Suites®, Hawthorn Suites® By Wyndham, Microtel Inns and Suites®, Howard Johnson®, Travelodge® and Knights Inn®.

Vacation rentals

Government Employees Travel Opportunities® 877-867-3639 www.getravelop.com/narfe Offers government employees, retirees and their families 7-night stays for only $349 on accommodations worldwide. Book online and save on your next vacation stay.

hotels

Choice Hotels International 800-258-2847 www.choicehotels.com With 6,000 hotels in the United States and throughout the world, Choice Hotels® offers something for everyone. Join the Choice Privileges® rewards program and earn points with every qualifying stay toward free nights, Airline Rewards, gift cards and more. As a NARFE member, receive 20% off your next stay at participating hotels when you use Special Rate ID 00801967. This offer is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer. Advance reservations required.

car rentals

Alamo Drive Happy® with Alamo® where NARFE members receive year-round discounts. Call 1-800-462-5266 and reference Contract ID 262544.

National You Drive A Hard Bargain. Receive up to 20% off rentals at National Car Rental. To make a reservation call National Car Rental at 1-800-CARRENT® and reference Contract ID 5282909.

Avis The employees/owners of Avis offer guaranteed low rates and quality services to members of NARFE. Call 800-331-1441 and mention ID# A991900.

narfe merchandise

NARFE General Store 855-99NARFE (855-996-2733) www.narfegeneralstore.com Official NARFE name badges, customizable logo products and plaques.

emergency services

MASA 800-423-3226 Medical Air Services Association has been the industry leader in prepaid emergency assistance services for more than 30 years. NARFE members have experienced MASA’s “peace of mind” services since 2001. Now NARFE members are entitled to even more: air ambulance transportation, helicopter transportation, ground ambulance, vehicle return, mortal remains transport, and much more! Call MASA Today. It Could Save Your Life!

preventive health screenings, will conduct the following screenings using state-of-the-art ultrasound technology in your neighborhood: 1. Stroke/Carotid Artery 2. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm 3. Atrial Fibrillation 4. Peripheral Arterial Disease. You will receive a confidential written report within 21 days. Life Line Screening and NARFE encourage you to share these test results with your doctor. All four screenings cost just $135. To schedule an appointment, please call the number above and give the operator code number BKHN075 or visit the website. Coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

hearing benefits Moving services

NARFE Member HomeBenefits 800-666-9203 http://narfe. myhomebenefits.com • Earn thousands in cash-back rewards when you buy or sell a home* • Shop competitive mortgage rates, receive discounts on closing costs, plus take advantage of your VA Loan Benefits • Receive preferred pricing on interstate moving services with the nation’s most trusted moving company – Allied Van Lines! *State restrictions apply. Call or visit website for details.

Bekins Van Lines 800-248-4810 www. narfe@bekins.com All NARFE members will receive discounted pricing for all interstate shipments. Discount will apply to packing and moving services and valuation protection. All intrastate shipments, local moves and international moves will be competitive based on your geographical location. Please mention you are a NARFE member and ask for Traci.

TruHearing 877-360-2442 Two discount programs to choose from: ValueAdd® or MemberPlus®. Similar to a warehouse membership, MemberPlus saves hundreds more for a $108 yearly membership. MemberPlus also includes: • 45-day, money-back guarantee on membership fee and all purchases • 48 batteries, 3-year warranty, and one-time loss and damage for 3 years (small manufacturer deductible applies) on each purchased hearing aid • Guest membership for up to four extended family members (siblings, parents, etc.) for only $79 each • Combine with an existing health plan hearing benefit to maximize savings.

education

Ivy Bridge College 877-615-9246 http://ivybridge.tiffin.edu/ narfe Want to earn your associate’s degree before you transfer to a four-year school? Ivy Bridge College offers a variety of degree programs that will help put you on the right track. No matter which program you choose, an education with Ivy Bridge will provide you with a solid foundation for a rewarding future. NARFE members and their families can enjoy an exclusive 5 percent savings on tuition at Ivy Bridge, a unique online institution that provides a highly supported pathway to a bachelor’s degree. To learn more, call or visit the website.

Visit TruHearingMemberPlus.com for more information, or call 877360-2442, Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. ET.

NOT A MEMBER? health screening

GO ONLINE: It’s easy to join online at www.narfe.org. Click “Join NARFE.”

Life Line Screening 800-324-9906 www.lifelinescreening.com/ NARFE

TURN TO PAGE 59: Fill out the Membership Application and mail it to NARFE to receive all the perks of being a NARFE member.

Life Line Screening, America’s leading provider of community-based

Call (Toll-Free) 800-627-3394.

w w w. n a r f e . o r g

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The Way We Worked

A fateful day at New faa HQ After being scattered in temporary buildings throughout Washington, DC, Federal Aviation Administration employees moved into their new headquarters building at 800 Independence Ave., SW, on November 22, 1963, when this photo was taken. Organizational offices had no walls — a new concept designed to improve communication and efficiency among employees. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on this day quickly tempered the joy of moving into the new building. Photo courtesy of Theresa Kraus, Ph.D., agency historian, Federal Aviation Administration; in collaboration with the Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG), bringing together government professionals, academics, consultants, students and citizens interested in understanding federal history work and the historical development of the federal government. Website: http://shfg.org/shfg/. 64

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Did you know? In 1958, two years after a midair crash of two airliners over the Grand Canyon, the Federal Aviation Agency was created to provide for the safe and efficient use of national airspace. Today, the FAA’s 44,000 employees are still focused on air safety. Other activities now include regulating the U.S. commercial space transportation industry.

Co N nt o ra ct

r d ife tte an y L Be d ter un at So r B e ng Lo

Finally, a cell phone NEW that’s... a phone.

FREE Car Charger

Introducing the all-new Jitterbug® Plus. We’ve made it even better… without making it harder to use.

All my friends have new cell phones. They carry them around with them all day, like mini computers, with little tiny keyboards and hundreds of programs which are supposed to make their life easier. Trouble is… my friends can’t use them. The keypads are too small, the displays are hard to see and the phones are so complicated that my friends end up borrowing my Jitterbug when they need to make a call. I don’t mind… I just got a new phone too… the new Jitterbug Plus. Now I have all the things I loved about my Jitterbug phone along with some great new features that make it even better! GreatCall® created the Jitterbug with one thing in mind– to offer people a cell phone that’s easy to see and hear, simple to use and affordable. Now, they’ve made the cell phone experience even better with the Jitterbug Plus. It features a lightweight, comfortable design with a backlit keypad and big, legible numbers. There is even a dial tone so you know the phone is ready to use. You can also increase the volume with one touch and the speaker’s been improved so you get great audio quality and can hear every word. The battery has been improved too– it’s one of the longest lasting on the market– so you won’t have to charge it as often. The phone comes to you with your account already set up and is easy to activate.

Monthly Minutes Monthly Rate

Basic 14

Basic 19

50

was 100 NOW 200

$14.99

$19.99

Operator Assistance

24/7

24/7

911 Access

FREE

FREE

No add’l charge

No add’l charge

FREE

FREE

YES

YES

30 days

30 days

Long Distance Calls Voice Dial Nationwide Coverage Friendly Return Policy

1

More minute plans available. Ask your Jitterbug expert for details.

there is no contract to sign, you are not locked in for years at a time and won’t be subject to early termination fees. The U.S.-based customer service is knowledgeable and helpful and the phone gets service virtually anywhere in the continental U.S. Above all, you’ll get one-touch access to a friendly, and helpful GreatCall operator. They can look up numbers, and even dial them for you! They are always there to help you when you need them.

Call now and receive a FREE Car Charger – a $24.99 The rate plans are simple too. Why value. Try the Jitterbug Plus for Available in pay for minutes you’ll never use? There yourself for 30 days and if you Silver and Red. are a variety of affordable plans. Plus, you don’t love it, just return it for a don’t have to worry about finding yourself stuck with refund1 of the product purchase price. Call now – helpful Jitterbug no minutes– that’s the problem with prepaid phones. Since experts are ready to answer your questions.

Order now and receive a FREE Car Charger for your Jitterbug – a $24.99 value. Call now!

Jitterbug Plus Cell Phone

Call today to get your own Jitterbug Plus. Please mention promotional code 47184.

1-888-812-5814

We proudly accept the following credit cards.

47586

www.jitterbugdirect.com

IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: Jitterbug is owned by GreatCall, Inc. Your invoices will come from GreatCall. All rate plans and services require the purchase of a Jitterbug phone and a one-time set up fee of $35. Coverage and service is not available everywhere. Other charges and restrictions may apply. Screen images simulated. There are no additional fees to call Jitterbug’s 24-hour U.S. Based Customer Service. However, for calls to an Operator in which a service is completed, minutes will be deducted from your monthly balance equal to the length of the call and any call connected by the Operator, plus an additional 5 minutes. Monthly minutes carry over and are available for 60 days. If you exceed the minute balance on your account, you will be billed at 35¢ for each minute used over the balance. Monthly rate plans do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges. Prices and fees subject to change. 1We will refund the full price of the GreatCall phone and the activation fee (or set-up fee) if it is returned within 30 days of purchase in like-new condition. We will also refund your first monthly service charge if you have less than 30 minutes of usage. If you have more than 30 minutes of usage, a per minute charge of 35 cents will be deducted from your refund for each minute over 30 minutes. You will be charged a $10 restocking fee. The shipping charges are not refundable. Jitterbug and GreatCall are registered trademarks of GreatCall, Inc. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. ©2013 Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC. ©2013 GreatCall, Inc. ©2013 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc.

Grey Heather

per pair when you buy 2

6 Reasons Cargo Comforters™ are better:

POCKETS: 6 of ’em — 4 with MagicCling™! FLEECE: Hefty, Warm, Durable, & Soft! S-T-R-E-T-C-H: BIG 360° Elastic Waistband! ZIP FLY: No more droppin’ your drawers! EASY CARE: Machine easy cotton/polyester! LOW PRICE: Search anywhere — skimpier “Sweats” cost at least Double our Price! Order A Couple Of Pairs Now! Royal

Black Wine Charcoal #1 Bargain Place Jessup, PA 18434-1834

Navy

per pair when you buy 2

each

2 for 26.98 3 for 39.97 2 pairs 31.98 3 pairs 45.97 Haband #1 Bargain Place, Jessup, PA 18434-1834 Card # _________________________________________ Exp.: ____/____ Name __________________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________ Apt. # ______ Visa City ______________________________State _______ Zip ___________ MC Phone/Email____________________________________________________ AmEx

Tan

Navy Grey

Discover ® Send ___ items. I enclose $______ purchase price plus $7.99 Network toward shipping. In GA add sales tax. Check

each

Pant Sizes: S(30-32) M(34-36) L(38-40) XL(42-44) *Big Men ($3 more per pair): 2XL(46-48) 3XL(50-52) 4XL(54-56) Inseams: XS(25-26) S(27-28) M(29-30) L(31-32) [XL(33-34) inseam available in S, M, L, XL waists only]

On-Line Quick Order:

Super plush polyester/cotton brushed fleece, features an easy on and off full zip front, handsome collar, banded bottom, two handy chest pockets, and two side pockets. Machine wash and dry. All Sizes, Same Low Price! Order Today!

7WR–Ø1P1E –Ø1P61

6J GREY HEATHER ROYAL 1Ø BLACK Ø1 Ø7 CHARCOAL Ø3 NAVY

PANTS WHAT WHAT HOW WAIST? INSEAM? MANY?

Check here for Protection Plus! (X57)

Expedites replacement of items lost in transit. Add $2.95 to protect your entire order.

FREE Shipping! Imported

Shirt Sizes: S(34-36) M(38-40) L(42-44) XL(46-48) 2XL(50-52) 3XL(54-56) 4XL(58-60)

On-Line Quick Order: SHIRTS

EB Ø2 Ø3 6J

HOW 7WR–15A72 WHAT SIZE? MANY?

WINE TAN NAVY GREY

100% Satisfaction Guaranteed or Full Refund of merchandise purchase price. When you pay by check, you authorize us to use information from your check to clear it electronically. Funds may be withdrawn from your account as soon as the same day we receive your payment, and you will not receive your check back from your financial institution.

For Faster Service Call: 1-800-543-4810 or visit www.Haband.com/bestdeals


November 2013 NARFE Magazine