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For Active and Retired Federal Employees


AUGUST 2012, Volume 88, Number 8


Congress’ To-Do List: Deficit, Budget,Tax Cuts

14 16 18

Changes Coming to 2013 Legislative Conference

New Rules Issued on Conferences and Travel “Meet Your Candidates Month” – Now More Critical Than Ever Before

Civics 101: Redistricting Leads to Opportunities NARFE Legislation Tracker


32 35 40 43 46

Cover design by Jim Richards

America Counts on Us. NARFE is leading a campaign that brings together all 30 members of the Federal-Postal Coalition to fight back against benefits cuts.

COLUMNS 6 Message From the National President

26 Managing Money 28 Live Well 30 Civil Service Career Coach

39 Report From the Regions

SPECIAL SECTIONS 36 National Convention Update

NARFE Resources


NARFE-PAC Coupon . . . . . . . .19

Questions & Answers

NARFE-FEEA Coupon . . . . . . .39

Federal Benefits

MembershipApplication . . . . . .41


DuesWithholdingApplication . .42

Out & About For the Record: TSP Investments, COLA Chart

‘Like’ us on Facebook (NARFE National Headquarters) visit us online at

Alzheimer’s Coupon . . . . . . . . .43 NARFE Member Perks . . . . . . .44

Follow us on Twitter (@narfehq)


Here’s How to Contact NARFE ...

JOSEPH A. BEAUDOIN, President; PAUL H. CAREW, Vice President; ELAINE C. HUGHES, Secretary; RICHARD G. THISSEN, Treasurer;

If you want to: • Join NARFE Call (toll-free):

800-627-3394 or 800-456-8410 Or go to:

If you want to: • Change your address • Check your membership status • Find out dues owed • Provide a death notification Call (toll-free):

800-456-8410 Email: If you want to: • Add your email address to your record (to receive GEMS email messages, the Legislative Hotline and NARFE NewsWatch): Call (toll-free):

800-456-8410 Email:

REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS REGION I Augie Stratoti (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) Tel: 603-889-1073 Email: REGION II Ronald P. Bowers (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) Tel: 410-308-0420 Email: REGION III Donald Stewart (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Virgin Islands) Tel: 305-442-6388 Email: REGION IV Paul E. Johnson (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) Tel: 812-306-5137 Email: REGION V Carol R. Ek (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) Tel: 620-241-1131 Email:

REGION VI Jerome S. Smith (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Republic of Panama and Texas) Tel: 903-534-5849 Email: REGION VII Betty Lucero-Turner (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) Tel: 719-583-0910 Email: REGION VIII Helen L. Zajac (California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Republic of Philippines) Tel: 707-644-7565 Email: REGION IX Lanny G. Ross (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) Tel: 360-692-9741 Email: REGION X William F. Martin (Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) Tel: 540-872-3345 Email:

E-mail: memberrecords@narfeorg

If you want to:

• Hear the Legislative Hotline Call (toll-free):

877-217-8234 If you want to: • Get materials to recruit members: Call (toll-free):

800-627-3394 Email:

For any other NARFE matter: Call NARFE Headquarters

703-838-7760 Email: Fax:703-838-7785 Write: NARFE 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria,VA 22314

NARFE MAGAZINE Volume 88,Number 8 Editor, Margaret M. Carter Assistant Editor, Donna J. St. John Editorial Administrator, Toni Vallario Graphic Designer, Beth Bedard Contributing Designers, Charlene Gridley, Jim Richards Editorial Board: Joseph A. Beaudoin, Paul H. Carew, Elaine C. Hughes, Richard G. Thissen Editorial Office: NARFE, Attn: NARFE magazine, 606 North Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1914; Phone: 703-838-7760; Fax: 703-838-7781; Email: Advertising Sales: Warren Berger, Media People Inc., 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 725, New York, NY 10168; 212-779-7172, ext. 223; Email:

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 866-504-7300 or go to 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.

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. Non-member subscription rate $45. Postmaster: Send address change to: NARFE Attn:Member Records,NARFE 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 © 2012, 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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A Message From the National President

Countdown to the Convention


s you read this column, we are about a month away from the kickoff of the 2012 NARFE Biennial National Convention. Both the federation conventions and the national convention are an integral part of NARFE. This spring, I had the pleasure of representing NARFE Headquarters at eight federation conventions, commencing with Panama and ending with Connecticut. It is always a pleasure to have the opportunity to visit with members in various states and discuss issues affecting all NARFE members. The other federations that I visited this year were New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Vermont. Although different in many ways, each convention proved interesting, and I enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones. While at the conventions, exchanges took place among the federation and chapter officers and members, as well as the regional vice presidents and me, regarding membership. NARFE members are aware that our membership is declining, even though the threat to our benefits and annuities is growing. It baffles me why our membership is not growing because our main goal is to protect the earned benefits of federal workers and retirees. One of our staff members said that we need to have a more positive approach to our situation. As she stated, if you talk “gloom and doom,” you will never move forward. But if you talk about success, you are more apt to grow and succeed. Well said! So let’s be positive, and let’s work together in making NARFE a bigger and better organization. NARFE offers our members much more than legislative representation. How many of you take advantage of the NARFE Perks that are listed in the back of each issue of this

magazine? Did you know that when you stay at any of the Choice Hotels, you can save 20 percent? The NARFE Premier Federal Credit Union – NARFE’s official credit union – has some of the best rates available for loans and investments. Life Line Screening, a communitybased provider of preventive health screenings, has provided information to hundreds of members who then began treatment for conditions they were not aware they had. NARFE also has contracted with Bekins Van Lines to provide discounted competitive pricing for all interstate and intrastate shipments of household goods. Another popular NARFE Perk is NARFE Insurance Services, which offers a variety of insurance plans that are designed exclusively for NARFE members. GEICO is another of our affinity partners that can save you money. Our newest Perks partner is Ivy Bridge College of Tiffin University, and you can see their offer on p. 44. These are just some of the companies you should consider if you want a quality option as you shop and compare prices for products and services. All of these discounted options are benefits you receive through NARFE membership. And here’s one final reminder to join us at the National Convention in Reno-Sparks, NV, August 26-30. An added feature this year will be six training sessions. Four “Lunch and Learn” sessions, on membership topics, will be held on Wednesday and Thursday (see p. 38 for information on presenters). A fifth Lunch and Learn session, on the Online Activities Module, will be on Tuesday. And service officers training will be held on Monday evening of convention week. If you are interested in the Wednesday and Thursday membership sessions, call or email National Secretary Elaine C. Hughes (703-838-7760,, as we are limited on the number of delegates who can attend these sessions. It’s not too late to register.

NARFE OFFERS much more than legislative representation. How many of you take advantage of NARFE Perks?

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Congress’To-Do List: Deficit, Action Not Likely Budget,Tax Cuts Until Lame-Duck


n a year when Congress has been anything but agreeable on

Session Begins

the budget, there is a growing mountain of legislative fiscal matters, many of which must be addressed before Congress adjourns to make room for a new crop of lawmakers.

First, in May, the House of Representatives passed the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, including a five-fold increase in the amount that active federal employees must contribute toward their retirement. In total, the House measure proposes to reduce the deficit by more than $330 billion by 2021. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, announced that the Senate would not consider the measure during the current session of Congress. In fact, under House and Senate rules, neither the House nor Senate can legally consider a reconciliation bill unless the two bodies first agree on a budget resolution setting out a blueprint for spending and revenues. The Senate has not passed such a resolution in more than two years. Second, absent a deal on at least $1.2 trillion in 10-year budget savings before the end of the year, come January 2, 2013, automatic cuts, or “sequestration,” will go into effect. The result will be cutting 8-10 percent out of every defense and domestic program and activity that is funded through an-


nual appropriations, regardless of the respective merits of such activity or whether a particularly labor-intensive agency can carry out its mission when salary and expense funds are slashed. Or perhaps there will be some sort of an agreement on a formula as a compromise, or even a “pay-as-you-go” arrangement for those programs that can generate offsets or income. The Budget Control Act agreed to last year during the high-stakes, public debtlimit-increase debate put Congress and the White House in something of a fiscal straitjacket. Third, the statutory limit on the public debt (borrowing authority to finance government activities during times of deficits) will likely need to be raised by year’s end or early next year. House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-OH, already stated publicly that he will not agree to let the House consider debtlimit increases unless corresponding spending cuts of equal or greater value are part of such an increase. Since there are members in the House and Senate who would not vote to increase the debt limit under any circumstance, the

■ Congress will be in recess

August 6-September 7. ■ The Republican National

Convention will be August 2730 in Tampa, FL. The presumptive Republican nominee, Gov. Mitt Romney, will accept his party’s nomination on Thursday, August 30. ■ The Democratic National

Convention will be September 3-6 in Charlotte, NC. President Obama will accept his party’s nomination on Thursday, September 6. ■ It is tradition for the

incumbent party to hold its national convention second. ■ The first Democratic National

Convention was in 1832; the first Republican National Convention was in 1856.

LEGISLATIVE HOTLINE Toll-free! (24 Hours): 877-217-8234 Legislative Action Center: AUGUST 2012 | NARFE

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Legislative Report sledding could get tough come December. Fourth, dozens of tax provisions expire on December 31, including Bush-era tax cuts, which, if allowed to expire, would increase revenues by more than $4 trillion – a seemingly good outcome in light of the deficit but arguably a bad thing if every taxpayer sees his or her taxes rise with the economy in a weakened state. Also expiring is the perennial “doc fix” – a rollback of payments to physicians under Medicare, which threatens to drive doctors to flee the program and deny services to seniors. All of these outstanding issues await action – not likely to occur until the period between Election 2012 and the convening of the new Congress on January 3, 2013, the period traditionally known as the lame-duck session. Action in late fall/early winter presumes that lawmakers on Capitol Hill (many of whom will be entering into retirement or otherwise leaving office) and President Obama are able to forge a compromise on spending and revenues across the spectrum when they have hardly agreed on even the most minor incremental changes in fiscal policy over the past two years.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ Congress has a mounting list of financial issues to

address before adjourning. ■ These include a budget bill, legislation to avoid

across-the-board funding cuts, debate over the debt limit and whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. ■ However, action is not likely to occur on tough financial measures until after the November elections, when Congress convenes a lame-duck session. And then there is a fifth option – Congress and the White House agree to punt the decisions into 2013 through a simple extension of everything so that the new (113th) Congress can “get to work.” Put on another pot of coffee and maybe bake some holiday cookies! It might be a late December night before all of this is resolved.

By Julie Tagen, Legislative Director Alan Lopatin, Legislative Counsel, contributed to this story

New Rules IssuedonGovernment Conferences andTravel


n the heels of the General Services Administration (GSA) scandal involving excessive conference costs, in May, the Obama administration issued new rules regarding government travel and conference expenses. In a memo from Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients, heads of federal agencies were directed to spend, in fiscal year 2013, 30 percent less on travel expenses than was spent in fiscal year 2010. In terms of conference spending, the memo asks deputy secretaries to review any conference costing in excess of $100,000. Any conference costing more than $500,000 is prohibited, unless the agency’s secretary issues a waiver. All conference expenses exceeding $100,000 must be made public on the agency’s website. In a blog post accompanying the release of the memo, Zients wrote: “Today’s guidance is part of our aggressive efforts to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely without sacrificing the ability of the government to deliver for the American people. And by reinvesting immediate savings in program integrity efforts that increase transparency and ac-


STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ In the wake of the GSA conference spending

scandal, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directs agencies to spend 30 percent less on travel expenses in fiscal year 2013 than in 2010. ■ OMB also sets conference-spending limits and instructs some spending to be made public. countability and reduce waste, fraud and abuse, we will realize even greater savings over time. “These are all common-sense steps that will save taxpayer dollars by eliminating waste and improving government operations – all while maintaining the core government functions that the American people count on. And they are part of our commitment to take every step necessary to ensure that we’re delivering the American people the efficient and effective government they deserve.” For more information on the new guidelines, visit

By Jessica Klement, Communications and Legislative Representative AUGUST 2012 | NARFE

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Legislative Report

‘MeetYour Candidates Month’– Now More CriticalThan Ever Before


ith federal employees and annuitants remaining a target, August – NARFE’s “Meet Your Candidates Month” – will be a critical time for NARFE members to get involved in defending the earned retirement, pay and health benefits of federal workers and retirees. Congressional campaigns will be in full swing as the summer winds down, and Election Day looms ever closer. Members of Congress will be in their districts August 6-September 7, and there is still plenty of time to organize an event.

MEETING YOUR CANDIDATES NARFE members can request a meeting with candidates, your representative and your senators to discuss issues of importance to the federal community. A sample 6 meeting request letter is available online as part of NARFE’s “Protect America’s Heartbeat” (PAH) campaign grass-roots toolkit. The PAH Toolkit is available at www.protect The toolkit also includes materials on how to organize your meeting and what topics to discuss. When scheduling your meeting, reach out to NARFE chapters that have members who also are constituents of the representative. Also reach out to those who will become constituents as a result of redistricting.

CANDIDATE FORUMS The toolkit provides a step-by-step guide on how to organize a candidate forum. Candidate forums provide an opportunity for candidates for Congress to respond only to NARFE concerns. When scheduling your forum, you will have to be flexible with the timing and location. You might not be able to hold an event during your regularly scheduled NARFE meeting.

TOWN HALL MEETINGS If you cannot arrange a NARFE-sponsored candidate forum, you can attend town hall meetings sponsored by


STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ August is NARFE “Meet Your Candidates Month.” ■ The Association asks members to meet with

candidates and current members of Congress to defend retirement, pay and benefits. ■ Information on how to request and conduct a meeting is available from NARFE online. members of Congress. Sometimes, candidates will host their own town hall meetings. These meetings also are excellent opportunities to meet briefly with lawmakers, candidates or their staff. Further, these public forums provide an opportunity to ask questions, encourage support of NARFE’s concerns or thank members for their support of the federal community, all while in front of other constituents. To find out where and when your representative or senators might be hosting a town hall meeting, you can go online at or contact your members of Congress’ office. You also can contact candidates’ offices and ask if they will be hosting a public event. In addition, you can attend candidate forums sponsored by other organizations and ask questions before, during or after the event. Just remember to be polite, as you are a guest at another organization’s event. NARFE’s PAH Toolkit includes suggested questions to ask during a town hall meeting. You also can draw from the toolkit’s candidate questionnaire for questions at a town hall meeting or candidate forum.

LOOKING BEYOND AUGUST Because it is an election year, Congress is scheduled to be in recess again, starting October 8 and lasting through Election Day. This provides additional opportunities to meet with incumbents as well as candidates for Congress. The debate in September and a post-election, lame-duck session will continue to keep federal employees and annuitants as targets. The August recess is an opportunity for members of Congress to hear from their constituents, and it is important that some of those constituents include NARFE members. For questions on how you can be active during August’s “Meet Your Candidates Month,” contact the Legislative Department at 703-838-7760, ext. 201, or email

By Sarah Holstine, Legislative Specialist AUGUST 2012 | NARFE

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Legislative Report

Changes Coming to2013 LegislativeTraining Conference


lanning is under way for the 2013 NARFE Legislative Training Conference, and some exciting changes are coming next year. The conference will be held Saturday, March 9, through Tuesday, March 12, at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, a new hotel already getting great reviews. The biennial conference will educate NARFE members on the issues facing the federal community, NARFE’s legislative agenda and the overall political process in Washington. The conference will include plenary sessions, with multiple guest speakers, and break-out training sessions, all de-

signed to help NARFE members become first-class advocates, able to conduct advocacy training and grass-roots organizing for other members in their home chapters and federations. Training in 2013 will cover the use of social media and the Internet in grass-roots advocacy, as well as hands-on training to prepare participants for meetings on Capitol Hill. The final day of the conference, Tuesday, March 12, will be spent on Capitol Hill speaking with members of Congress. Following the success of the 2011 conference, we will be kicking off Tuesday with a rally on Capitol Hill. Also new in 2013, NARFE’s legislative staff will help schedule meetings with members of Congress or their staff for NARFE members participating in the conference.

Win a Trip to the Conference in the NARFE ‘Advocacy in Action’ Contest


o thank the grass-roots activists who have been working hard during the 112th Congress (2011-2012), NARFE will award two free registrations to the 2013 LegislativeTraining Conference to the federation or federations whose members have had the most contact with their federal legislators this year. One prize will be awarded for activities between January 1 and June 30 (deadline August 15); the other will be awarded for activities between July 1 and December 31 (deadline January 15, 2013). Chapters and federations should email details about activities to Points will be based on the following scale: • 1 point for each email message sent through the NARFE Legislative Action Center • 2 points for each phone call sent through the NARFE toll-free line • 15 points for a chapter letter-writing event • 25 points for a successful op-ed/letter-to-the-editor submission • 30 points for a meeting with a House or Senate candidate • 35 points for a meeting with a House or Senate staff member • 40 points for a meeting with a member of the House or Senate • 50 points for hosting a candidate forum. All points will be normalized, taking into consideration membership and the size of a state’s congressional delegation in 2012. NARFE’s legislative staff will compile information already submitted to the department and forward it to federation presidents. It is not too late to get involved. Help your federation win!


REGISTRATION SCHEDULE The 2013 NARFE Legislative Training Conference room rate at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel will be $169, plus 10.25 percent state and local occupancy taxes, for a total of $186.32 (single- and doubleroom occupancy). The conference registration fee is $175 and includes three buffet breakfasts, two full lunches and one buffet dinner (full dinner). NARFE members are not able to register or make hotel reservations at this time. Notice will be provided to members when registration is available in early October.

By Sarah Holstine, Legislative Specialist AUGUST 2012 | NARFE

Legislative Report CIVICS 101:


Redistricting Leads to Opportunities


uiz: Which of NARFE’s 1362 chapters has a complete monopoly on its member of Congress? (See answer at end of story.) All of the others have the daunting task of “re-mapping” themselves and organizing around newly drawn congressional districts every 10 years.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ Every 10 years, redistricting provides an

opportunity and a challenge. ■ Federation officers, especially district leaders, must

take the lead in organizing. ■ Chapters should be reconciled with congressional


NEW LINES, NEW CHAPTERS As a result of redistricting, chapters formerly severed by congressional boundaries may be unified in a single district, and chapters previously in a single district may be split into two or more districts. More often and more important, split chapters must get to know and coordinate with chapters with which they share congressional districts. Federation officers, especially district leaders, will have to help their chapters organize to optimally share specific districts. Admittedly, this is not easy. But it is vital to the success of NARFE’s legislative mission. In the seven “at large” states, coordination of Senate and House advocacy must be the priority.

gressional districts, and they may also share districts with nearby chapters. For example, NARFE Manhattan-Bronx (NY) Chapter 23 has members spanning eight congressional districts. NARFE’s San Diego (CA) Chapter 4 covers six congressional districts but shares each with multiple chapters. Connecting and coordinating these members into a welloiled advocacy machine will allow NARFE to advocate most effectively during the upcoming election and the coming decade.

CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY LARGE CITIES Chapters in major cities have members in many con-

Avenues for Advocacy ■ NARFE Legislative Hotline: 877-217-8234

(Available 24/7 toll-free) ■ Capitol Switchboard: 866-220-0044 (Ask for your

representative or senator by name) ■ White House: 888-225-8418 (Leave a comment

24/7) ■ U.S. House website: ■ U.S. Senate website: ■ White House website:

NARFE’s challenge, like the government’s, is to be more effective with fewer resources. High-stakes public policy disputes may reach a crescendo during a lame-duck session after the November elections. There is a growing possibility that unresolved issues and unmet deadlines will spill over into the 113th Congress (2013-2014). NARFE chapter, district and federation leaders, working with congressional staff, need to seize redistricting as an opportunity to organize for power. Several federations already use congressional districts as an organizing rubric; now, all must.

REDISTRICTING WEB SOURCES There are two publicly available gateways to state-bystate redistricting maps and legislative history. Use and, click on “Legislatures & Elections,” then “Redistricting.” For additional assistance, send an email with “Redistricting Map” in the subject line to to receive a reply with a congressional map attached.

By Christopher Farrell, Legislative Representative ■ NARFE Legislative Action Center:

* The answer to the quiz is Chapter 1977, Agana, Guam.



The NARFE LEGISLATION TRACKER is your monthly guide to the congressional legislation that NARFE is keeping an eye on. Check back each issue for updates.

NARFE LegislationTracker ISSUE

Bill Number / Name / Sponsor

What Bill Would Do

RETIREMENT H.R. 3813: Securing Annuities for Requires federal employees to pay CONTRIBUTIONS/ Federal Employees Act / Rep. 1.5% more toward their retirement, CALCULATION requires new federal employees to Dennis A. Ross, R-FL contribute 4% to their retirement, bases retirement calculations on the highest five years of service instead of the current high three, and eliminates the Federal Employees Retirement System Annuity Supplement

Latest Congressional Action/s Approved by Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 2/7/2012 (Likely to be considered by full House)

H.Con Res. 112: Establishing the Requires federal employees to pay 5% more toward their retirement Budget for the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2013 / Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-WI

Passed by House 3/23/2012 Failed in Senate 5/16/2012

H.R. 5652: Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act / Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-WI

Requires federal employees to pay 5% more toward their retirement

Passed by House 5/10/2012


H.R. 3835: To Extend the Pay Limitation for Members of Congress and Federal Employees / Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-WI

Extends the federal pay freeze for one more year (until Dec. 31, 2013)

Passed by House 2/1/2012 (Likely to be part of deficitreduction talks)


H.R. 4363: Federal Employee Phased Retirement Act / Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA

Allows federal employees to phase into retirement by working part time and collecting an annuity

Approved by Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 4/18/2012

S. 1813: Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century / Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA

Allows federal employees to phase into retirement by working part time and collecting an annuity

Passed by Senate 3/14/2012

S. 1789: 21st Century Postal Service Act / Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-CT

Passed by Senate 4/25/2012 Reduces benefits by 25% at retirement age for federal workers disabled by a work-related injury or illness; eliminates 8.33% augmented compensation for dependents

H.R. 2465 : Federal Workers’ Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act / Rep. John Kline, R-MN

Streamlines claims process, ensures Passed by House 11/29/2011 injured workers receive adequate compensation, enhances program efficiency, improves program integrity and modernizes benefits




NARFE LegislationTracker ISSUE

What Bill Would Do

Bill Number / Name / Sponsor

WORKFORCE Various bills (H.R. 235, H.R. REDUCTION 408/S. 178, H.R. 657, S. 1476, S H.R. 2114, H.R. 3029/S. 1611,

Latest Congressional Action/s

Decreases the size of the federal workforce by various percentages (usually 5-15%)

Referred to various committees (Likely to be part of deficitreduction talks)

Repeals the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Referred to Subcommittee on Social Security 4/7/2011

H.R. 3662/S. 2065)


H.R. 1332: Social Security Fairness Act / Rep. Howard P. “Buck� McKeon, R-CA S. 2010: Social Security Fairness Act / Sen. John Kerry, D-MA


Referred to Committee on Finance 12/16/2011 (Unlikely to be considered)

S. 2196: Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act / Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY

Phases out Medicare; requires participants to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)

Referred to Committee on Finance 3/15/2012 (Unlikely to be considered)

H.R. 4152 Hatch Act Modernization Act / Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-MD

Eliminates the prohibition against state and local employees seeking partisan elective federal office and revises penalties for Hatch Act violations to allow penalties other than termination of employment

Referred to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 3/7/2012

S. 2170 Hatch Act Modernization Act / Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-HI

NARFE-PAC Contribution Form I would like to make a monthly credit card contribution to NARFE-PAC of:

 $10/month  $25/month

Monthly contributions qualify you to receive a NARFE-PAC Sustainer lapel pin and the red, white and blue NARFE umbrella.

 Other: ________/month (minimum of $10) -orI would like to make a one-time contribution of:  $100 (qualifies for Gold 2011-2012 NARFE-PAC lapel pin and NARFE umbrella)  $50 (qualifies for Silver 2011-2012 NARFE-PAC lapel pin)  $20 (qualifies for Basic 2011-2012 NARFE-PAC lapel pin, pictured here)  Other: ________

 I do not want to receive any gifts for my contribution marked above. 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 nonpartisan political action fund. NARFE-PAC contributions are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.


Approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee 6/27/2012

Payment Information Name: _____________________________________________ Member ID# (if available): ___________________________ Address: ___________________________________________ __________________________________________________

 Check or money order enclosed -or-

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Card Type:  MasterCard  Visa  Discover  AMEX Card #: ____________________________________________ Expiration Date: ____ / ____ Name on Card: _____________________________________ Signature:__________________________________________ Date: __________________ Please send check, money order or credit card information to: Attn: Budget & Finance / NARFE / 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914


Federal-Postal Coalition


hink back to August 2009. It is the height of the public debate over health care reform. Members of Congress are back home in their dis-

tricts, and in town hall meeting after town hall meeting, vocal activists on both sides of the issue are dominating the debate and giving law-

makers an earful. It was a profound reminder that the most effective advocacy

strategy is simply putting constituents in front of their elected representatives and giving them an opportunity to speak, particularly before an election. It’s a strategy that takes work. As a result of the events that took place in summer 2009, members of Congress now do their best to hide from this sort of public pressure, scheduling public forums at the last minute or in “friendly territory.” Some members have even gone so far as to charge “admission” to events – in the form of a ticket for lunch. Still, “Eyeball Advocacy” works! As Congress continues its nonstop attack on federal pay and benefits, it’s time that the entire federal community organizes. If we don’t communicate our issues, lawmakers won’t act to defend our benefits. With that goal in mind, the Federal-Postal Coalition has come together to fund a new advocacy campaign, “America Counts on Us.” NARFE is leading this effort on behalf of the Coalition. It complements NARFE’s own highly effective “Protect America’s Heartbeat” (PAH) campaign. NARFE remains as active as ever with its PAH campaign.

THE FEDERAL-POSTAL COALITION Founded in the 1970s by NARFE and federal and postal employee organizations as the Fund for Assuring an Independent Retirement (FAIR), the Coalition originally fought against Social Security coverage for federal employees. Over the years, FAIR changed its name to the Federal-Postal Coalition and now includes 30 national organizations, ranging from employee unions to management associations to retiree organizations and more. Plus, the coalition covers the full range of federal employment, including the U.S. Postal Service. Attacks on public servants are nothing new. But in an atmosphere of large federal deficits and a multi-trillion dollar federal debt, reductions in civil service pay and benefits appear to be an easy target. Fed up with the constant attacks on our collective members, the Coalition decided it was time to fight back. Advocating on behalf of federal and postal employees and retirees at all levels (union, management, Senior Executive Service), the Coalition represents nearly everyone in the federal community. With the November elections just around the corner, followed by a post-election, lameduck session of Congress predicted to involve high-stakes decision making, the Coalition is throwing its combined strength behind this new campaign in targeted states and districts around the country. The “America Counts on Us” campaign will be financially backed with the help of the Coalition’s members, but we will need your help in carrying out its goals.

AMERICA COUNTS ON US Every member of the Federal-Postal Coalition knows the enormous legislative and policy chal-



Unites to Make a

Difference By Jessica Klement, Communications and Legislative Representative



NARFE IS LEADING THIS EFFORT on behalf of the lenges facing the federal and postal worker community. There is a great opportunity for the coordinated efforts of our organizations to influence the broader debate by working together and stressing the importance of the services we provide in every community. Together, we have the power to restore the reputation that federal and postal workers and retirees have continued to live up to, despite the growing animosity toward government employees and retirees. The goal of “America Counts on Us” is to put a public face on federal workers and retirees, and help our neighbors recognize the role that federal and postal employees play in their day-to-day lives, let alone the heroic acts that make headlines. As a result of this campaign, key elected officials also will feel pressured to make the right decisions for their constituents and the future of the federal workforce, including the U.S. Postal Service. Our biggest asset is the strength in the number of members embraced by our Coalition – nearly five million individuals. As current or former public servants, we are uniquely aware of the impact of our work. Our messages throughout the campaign will capitalize on these strengths. What do we want Americans and elected officials to know about federal and postal workers and retirees? 1. They are committed to their jobs for America and all Americans. • They are nurses and doctors caring for veterans. They are border patrol agents keeping terrorists out of the country. They are men and women who support our military and maintain our military readiness. They are the people who test our food and water, and ensure its safety. They are the postal workers who connect millions of businesses and families in every city, town and suburb in America. They are


Coalition.It complements NARFE’s own highly effective“Protect America’s Heartbeat” (PAH) campaign.NARFE remains as active as ever with its PAHcampaign. policemen, firemen, scientists, engineers, and workers in numerous other trades and professions who support our nation every day. • Without the unceasing work of these dedicated individuals, the American people would not have access to the essential services on which they rely daily. • If Congress continues to cut the pay and retirement benefits of federal employees and retirees, the government will no longer be able to recruit and retain the best and brightest. With fully two-thirds of the federal workforce eligible to retire in the next five years, the country cannot afford to lose the kind of talent federal workers amass over their careers. 2. They are your neighbors and your constituents. • 85 percent of all federal employees live and work outside of the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. • Postal and federal employees and retirees live in every congressional district and state, pay their taxes and support their communities. 3. They are middle-class Americans struggling to care for their families, too. • Additional cuts to employees’ pay and benefits will have a wider impact on the communities in which they live. Less money in the pockets of federal employees and retirees means less money they are contributing to the local economy. Layoffs and office closings devastate local communities. • These are public servants who, like many other Americans, have been forced to make difficult financial decisions affecting their family members,

including putting food on the table and sending their children to college. 4. They are already contributing hundreds of billions of dollars toward budget savings. • Slashing jobs, laying-off workers, closing offices and making additional cuts to pay and benefits is unconscionable. It is time for other groups to help shoulder the burden. • Under the two-year pay freeze, federal employees surrendered anticipated income in the name of deficit reduction. 5. They are receptive to doing their fair share to help right the nation’s fiscal ship, but cutting their pay and benefits cannot solve the nation’s budget problems alone. • Federal employees and retirees believe in the notion of shared sacrifice and are willing to do their part to reduce the deficit. With the help of members of NARFE and other Coalition partners, the Coalition has been promoting these five simple messages about federal and postal workers to Congress and the administration for years. But the clock is ticking on federal pay and benefits, and members of the Coalition need to make more noise than ever before. “America Counts on Us” will encourage members to attend town hall meetings, meet with members of Congress, organize candidate forums and work in other ways to make sure the goals of the campaign are heard. This is the time for federal employees and retirees to show the rest of America what we already know – there is no country or company on Earth that can hold a candle to America’s federal workforce. ■ AUGUST 2012 | NARFE











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Managing Money

Income From Investments:Part I By Mark A. Keen, CFP®


n the “good old days” of the Civil Service Retirement System, it was somewhat easy to predict how much income an employee could expect in retirement. But in the days of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), where a significant portion of retirement income will come from investments, predicting income becomes a bit more complicated. When attempting to predict or forecast future income from investments, the question becomes, “How much income can I expect from my investments each year?” The answer to this seemingly simple question has been the subject of much debate for years; and, given the stock market performance over the past decade and current global economic issues, I doubt the debate will die down any time soon. It’s tempting to turn to the average returns of stocks, bonds, cash and inflation to determine the safe initial withdrawal rate. For example, assume an investment portfolio has averaged 9 percent over the long run, and inflation has averaged 3 percent. You might logically assume you can start with a 6 percent withdrawal rate in the first year and have room to increase the withdrawals each year by 3 percent to maintain purchasing power. The problem is that, although the portfolio’s return may have averaged 9 percent, the actual annual returns will almost never equal 9 percent. In some years, the portfolio’s return will exceed the average; in other years, the return will fall short of the 9 percent average. In other words, returns are volatile – and the same holds true for


inflation. Furthermore, if a portfolio is producing withdrawals, the sequence, or the order in which the returns are achieved, will have a dramatic impact on the longevity of that portfolio. Let’s take a look at a simple example to illustrate the impact that the sequence of returns will have on ac-

UNDER FERS,where a significant portion of retirement income will come from investments, predicting income from investments becomes more complicated. cumulation (no withdrawals) and distribution (annual withdrawals) portfolios. We’ll use the annual returns of the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index for the 30-year period 1980 to 2009. For this example, it’s important to note that the first 20 years of this period was the best bull market in history, and the last 10 years is considered to be the worst decade since the Great Depression. Let’s start with the accumulation portfolio and an investor who invested $100,000 in the S&P 500 Index in 1980. At the end of the 30-year period,

his or her portfolio would have grown to $2.44 million – an average annual return of 11.2 percent. Not too bad, considering the investor experienced not one but two 50 percent declines in the last 10 years of the period. Now, we’ll reverse the order (sequence) of returns. For example, we will use 2009’s return for year one, 2008’s return for year two, 2007’s return for year three and so on, until the 30-year period ends with 1980’s return. You may be surprised to learn that reversing the sequence of returns has no impact on the outcome of an accumulation portfolio. The average annual return is still 11.2 percent, and the accumulated value at the end of the period is still $2.44 million. However, the same is not true when withdrawals are taken from the portfolio. For example, we’ll assume a retiree invests $100,000 in the S&P 500 Index, starts with an initial withdrawal rate of 6 percent ($6,000 in year one) and increases the distribution to account for inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Based on the actual annual returns for the 30-year period from 1980 to 2009, the retiree would still have $933,000 left – even after taking more than $340,000 in withdrawals. On the other hand, if we reverse the returns, as we did in the accumulation example, the portfolio would be depleted after only 17 years and with only $126,000 in withdrawals. Although the average return for the 30year period was the same in the two distribution scenarios, the negative years experienced in the first 10 years of the reversed sequence (years 2009, 2002, 2001 and 2000) proved too much to overcome – even for the best AUGUST 2012 | NARFE

bull market in history. As this example illustrates, volatility and the sequence of returns create the potential for failure, even in an environment where the average annual return meets or exceeds expectations. With an understanding of how volatility and sequence of returns can affect the longevity of a retiree’s portfolio, numerous studies have been published in an attempt to determine how much a retiree can safely withdraw from his or her portfolio without prematurely depleting it.

We’ll explore the work of these studies and the concept of sustainable withdrawal rates in next month’s column.

Mark A. Keen, CFP®, is president and owner of Bennett Financial Advisors, 3600 Chain Bridge Rd., 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:

TSP Accounts Hacked, Those Affected Notified


ersonal information, including Social Security numbers, were stolen from more than 123,000 Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account holders last year through a “sophisticated cyberattack,” the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) announced on May 25. The FRTIB notified affected TSP account holders in a letter. The FRTIB letter also explained how to connect with a call center for support and services, including free credit monitoring. Account holders were notified when the board determined who was affected. “We have no reason to believe that this data has been used or misused in any way,” TSP spokeswoman Kim Weaver said. The attack was made against Serco, Inc., a contractor that provides recordkeeping services for 4.5 million federal employees, service members and beneficiaries with TSP accounts. The FBI originally notified the


FRTIB and Serco of the attack in April, but accounts were breached in July 2011. FRTIB and Serco have performed a forensic analysis, shut down the compromised computer, begun a systemic review of all computer security procedures and enhanced information technology security. The FBI investigation is ongoing, and the bureau had no comment on what triggered the inquiry. While the FRTIB has already notified all affected individuals, TSP Participant Service Representatives are available at 877-968-3778. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, is asking the FBI and the FRTIB why they took so long to report the cyberattack. The FRTIB reported the attack to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on which Collins is the ranking Republican, on May 25, the same day it announced the hacking to the media.

By John Hatton,Legislative Representative



When Antibiotics Stop Working By Marilyn S. Radke, M.D.


ntibiotics are medications that fight infections caused by bacteria. The first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered in 1928. When antibiotics were first used in the 1940s, they transformed medical care, and dramatically reduced illness and death from bacterial infectious diseases. But while antibiotics are beneficial, their very use has contributed to the problem of antibiotic resistance. The word “antibiotic” originally meant a natural compound, such as penicillin, made by a fungus, such as Penicillium, or another microorganism that kills bacteria, which cause disease in humans or animals. Today, many people use the word “antibiotic” to mean both natural and synthetic compounds (not produced by microorganisms). A common misconception is that a person’s body becomes resistant to specific medications. But it is microorganisms – not people – that become resistant to specific medications. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria they are designed to kill have adapted to them, thereby reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics in curing or preventing infections. The bacteria survive, and continue to reproduce and cause harm. Each time a person takes an antibiotic, sensitive bacteria are killed but resistant bacteria may be left to reproduce. Repeated and improper uses of antibiotics are main causes of the in-


crease in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance causes significant danger and suffering for people who have common infections that once were easily treatable with antibiotics. A bacterial infection that is resistant to a specific medication can spread from person to person, and lead to serious disability or death. Antibi-

terial infections, they are not effective against viral infections. Taking antibiotics for viral infections, such as a cold, cough, the flu or most bronchitis, will not: • Cure these infections; • Prevent others from catching the illness; or • Help you feel better.

WHILE ANTIBIOTICS can treat bacterial infections,they are not effective against viral infections,such as a cold,cough, the flu or most bronchitis. otic-resistant bacteria also can spread quickly throughout a community, resulting in a new strain of infectious disease that is more difficult to cure and more expensive to treat. Almost every type of bacteria has grown stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment. If bacteria are resistant to many medications, then treating the infections they cause can become difficult or impossible. Bacteria are microscopic, singlecelled organisms usually found all over the outside and inside of our bodies, except in the blood and spinal fluid. Many bacteria are not harmful, and some are beneficial. Disease-causing bacteria trigger illnesses, such as strep throat, and some ear infections and pneumonias. Viruses are even smaller than bacteria, and they cannot survive long outside the body’s cells. Viruses cause illnesses, such as colds and the flu, by invading healthy cells and reproducing. While antibiotics can treat bac-

For upper respiratory infections, such as sore throats, ear infections, sinus infections, colds and bronchitis caused by viruses, try the following to feel better: • Get plenty of rest; • Drink plenty of fluids; • Use a clean humidifier or coolmist vaporizer; • Avoid smoking, secondhand smoke and other pollutants (airborne chemicals or irritants); and

To Learn More


or more detailed information, write to the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Bacterial Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30333; or call 800-2324636 (TTY:888-232-6348);or visit the website at


• Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain or fever. Take the following steps to prevent antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections: • Ask your health care provider whether an antibiotic is needed to treat your illness and what else you can do to feel better sooner; • Do not take an antibiotic to treat a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu; • Discard leftover antibiotics once you have completed your prescribed course of treatment, and do not save some of your antibiotic for the next time you get sick; • Take an antibiotic exactly as the health care provider tells you, and do not skip doses; • Complete the prescribed course of antibiotic medication even if you are feeling better because some bacteria


may survive and re-infect if treatment stops too soon; • Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else because taking the wrong antibiotic for your illness may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply; and • If your health care provider does not diagnose a bacterial infection, then ask about ways to help relieve your symptoms, and do not ask for an antibiotic. Taking an antibiotic that is not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment. Smart use of antibiotics is the key to preventing antibiotic resistance.

Marilyn S. Radke, M.D., is board certified in preventive medicine and practices in Atlanta, GA.

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Civil Service Career Coach

Humor in the Workplace By Dale S. Brown


ederal workers are under more pressure now than ever. Budget cuts remove resources. Hiring freezes increase workload and affect morale. So what can you do? Sometimes, the best thing to do is to just laugh at it all. Humor, which has been correlated with creativity and productivity, sometimes can help you handle hardship. But how do you assure that your humor is constructive and tactful? To get advice, the Civil Service Career Coach asked Mark Gorkin, The Stress Doc™; Joel Goodman, director of The HUMOR Project, Inc.; and Frank Reeder, a Partnership for Public Service Excellence in Government Fellows coach, who has guided hundreds of high-potential federal employees. Gorkin, a well-known trainer for the federal workforce, says that laughing with gusto “gives vital organs a brief but hardy internal massage. People have called it ‘inner jogging.’ Laughter increases endorphins and other feelgood chemicals. It has a stress-reducing, if not a healing, effect.” “Use humor as a tool, rather than as a weapon,” suggests Goodman. “Laughing with others builds confidence, brings people together and pokes fun at our common dilemmas. Laughing at others destroys confidence, ruptures teamwork, and singles out individuals and groups as the butt of the joke. “In the words of a fifth-grade teacher, you don’t have to blow out my candle to make yours burn brighter.”


RESOLVING STICKY SITUATIONS Conflicts can be calmed through humor. For example, Gorkin facilitated a tense team meeting. During an angry exchange, a woman with lovely long hair, said, “We’ve got to stop this! All we are doing is pulling our hair out.” Gorkin, who is bald, tapped his head and said, “That’s not fair! All of you have more hair than I do.” Everyone laughed, and the tension broke. The meeting got back on track. Gorkin also suggests joking about yourself. Abraham Lincoln was well-known for his selfdeprecating jokes. “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?” he asked. “I have stepped upon this platform that I may see you and that you may see me,” he stated, as he began his speeches. “And in the arrangement, I have the best of the bargain.” Lincoln also used humor to reinforce his important messages. Some examples: • “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” • “My experience has taught me that a man who has no vices has damned few virtues.” • “The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.” Cartoons and signs can be used for humor, although the humor must be in good taste. For example, some cubi-

cles have a poster saying, “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk mean?” What do you do if your joke falls flat? Gorkin makes comments such as, “OK, I need a new comedy writer.” Or, “I’ll give you a dollar if you can help me turn that into a funny joke.”

SHOWING SENSITIVITY TOWARD OTHERS On the other hand, Gorkin says, “If you see that your joke is just not working, don’t try to make a better joke. They are not ready for humor or are just not in the mood.” Goodman suggests knowing your audience, and what might or might not tickle their humor. Be aware of the generic “isms” – sexism, ageism and racism. Try to understand the humor of the younger generation as well. For example, a group of young people were laughing about a video titled “Medieval Helpdesk,” which shows the travails of a monk learning to turn the pages of a book. The older worker was embarrassed because the video pokes fun at “newbie” computer users, and he was learning some new technology. But when he went on YouTube and watched the tape, he laughed – and better understood his “digital native” colleagues. Reeder says that inside jokes can make newcomers feel excluded. And

DO NOT use official email for jokes,even if you send them from your personal account to an official address.


do not use official email for jokes, even if you send them from your personal account to an official address. “A core value that has worked for me,” he says, “is that you can be serious about what you do without taking yourself too seriously.” So, laugh a little. It might improve your performance on the job, and it certainly will help lower the pressure of your workday.

Dale S. Brown, nationally recognized for her contributions during her 25 years in the civil service, is the author of five books, including one co-authored with Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? Email: civilservice

NARFE Photo Calendar Contest


ARFE is now accepting photos for its 2013 NARFE Photo Calendar Contest. Winning photos will appear in the 2014 NARFE Photo Calendar. All NARFE members are invited to submit a photo, whether or not they’ve already had a photo appear in past calendars. The only exception is that members who work as professional photographers are not eligible. Photos must be horizontal in format and 8”x10” or 8-1/2”x11” in size. Each entrant must put the following information on a piece of paper and tape it to the back of each photo: name, address, chapter number, and phone number or email address. No photos of children or pets,please.Neither email nor Polaroid photos will be accepted. All photos submitted become the property of NARFE and will not be returned.Each member is limited to five photos.Deadline is February 15,2013. Send photos to: NARFE Photo Contest, Office of the Treasurer, NARFE,606 N.Washington St., Alexandria,VA 22314. If you have questions,please email

After you retire, who will answer your benefits questions?

NARFE Will When you leave government service, you also leave your human resources department behind. NARFE acts as a “Personnel Office” for federal retirees, providing FREE benefits counseling for members. This year alone, NARFE has assisted thousands of members with federal benefits questions.

Keep your membership active! NARFE is here for you. National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association



Questions & Answers NOTE: The following Questions & Answers were compiled by Federal Benefits Service Department staff. These are real questions received by the Department, based on the members’ personal circumstances. The answers are not universal and may include information that is relevant to the correspondent’s particular situation. NARFE does not provide legal advice or assistance, does not provide financial planning advice or assistance, and does not provide tax advice or assistance. For legal, financial planning or tax advice/assistance, NARFE recommends that members contact an attorney, financial planner or certified public accountant/tax adviser.

ACTIVE EMPLOYEES CSRS OFFSET QUESTION: My wife will be retiring soon under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset.She plans to continue working,and her expected earnings will be approximately $20,000.When she turns age 62, the offset kicks in, and her CSRS annuity will decrease by what Social Security will pay.Can she delay the Social Security payment until she turns age 65 in order not to be penalized by the earning restriction of $14,640 – a decrease of $1 for every $2 in Social Security payment that she earns over the $14,000 amount? Can you give us more information on the CSRS Offset? Response: Your wife will have her annuity reduced by the amount of her


CSRS Offset service even if she does not receive her Social Security benefits. Once she is “eligible” for a Social Security benefit, her annuity is offset. It doesn’t seem fair, but this is the way the system works. Here is a link to a document on the Office of Personnel Management website, which describes the CSRS Offset: RI83-19.pdf.

EARLY RETIREMENT QUESTION:Someone under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) is age 55, with 27 years of service (minimum retirement age is 56).If he or she retires under a voluntary early retirement, would the annuity be reduced? I checked the Civil Service Retirement System and FERS handbook,and it states that there is no reduction for voluntary early retirement under age 55. Since this individual is eligible for voluntary early retirement but is not at minimum retirement age + 10, will there be a reduction? If the individual were already eligible for the minimum retirement age + 10 and took the early retirement, would he or she take the reduction because the individual is now eligible for the MRA + 10?

who meet the years of service eligibility requirements. Under FERS law, there is no reduction for age when an employee retires on an early retirement or discontinued service retirement. However, the retiree must wait until he or she reaches the minimum retirement age before the retiree can begin receiving the FERS Annuity Supplement.

FIVE-YEAR WAIVER QUESTION:I will be getting a buyout soon.Will I be getting something in writing from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) or the U.S.Postal Service specifically stating that I am eligible for a pre-approved waiver, allowing me to continue coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program into retirement without the required five years of coverage? Response: It is our understanding that your human resources office is required to prepare a letter to OPM, advising that you are covered by the waiver provisions. This letter should be included in your retirement package going to OPM. Please contact your human resources office to check whether it will issue you a statement.

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Response: The age and service requirement under FERS to be eligible for a voluntary early retirement is the same as it is under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS): age 50 and 20 years or any age and 25 years. Under the CSRS, if the employee is under age 55 with 20 or more years of service, there will be a reduction in his or her annuity computation. The under-age55 reduction that applies to CSRS retirees does not apply to FERS retirees

MEDICARE TAX QUESTION:I will soon be retiring at age 60. I am under the Civil Service Retirement System. We now have Medicare tax withheld from each check. Is that also automatically deducted from retirement pay,or do we need to make other arrangements to have it deducted? Response: The Office of Personnel Management does not withhold Medicare taxes from your annuity. Medicare taxes are only withheld from wages earned. AUGUST 2012 | NARFE

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QUESTION: At the time of my retirement, I had paid into Social Security for only two quarters.Since then, I have worked part time in the private

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TSP QUESTION: How do I know the amount of my required minimum distribution (RMD) from myThrift Savings Plan (TSP) account? I am age 70 and retired five years ago.I started receiving monthly payments and


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Response: The Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision under Social Security applies to survivors who are receiving a pension from earnings where no Social Security was withheld. Because your wife doesn’t fall into this category, if you predecease her, she would be entitled to a widow’s benefit based on your Social Security record without offset. However, if she is receiving a Social Security benefit based on her own record at the time she is entitled to a widow’s benefit, she would need to choose which award she wants — she would not be able to receive both awards concurrently. If you elected to provide a survivor annuity when you retired from federal service, that survivor benefit would be unaffected by her receipt of Social Security benefits.

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Response: You can get form 1199A from your financial institution. You also can call the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at 888-767-6738 and make the request for a direct deposit of your annuity. You will need to provide OPM with your bank routing number and account number. You also can sign up for direct deposit online at; click on “Services Online.”

SURVIVOR BENEFITS & SS QUESTION:I retired under the Civil Service Retirement System and also am eligible for a small Social Security payment. My wife worked only in the private sector and will be entitled to her own Social Security benefit. If I predecease my wife, she will then receive survivor benefits. Will she still be entitled to her full Social Security benefits, or will they be reduced?

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DIRECT DEPOSIT QUESTION: Where can I get a direct deposit form for my federal annuity?


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Response: If your spouse predeceases you, your annuity would increase by the amount that you are paying for survivor benefits, but only if you notify the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) of the death. We do not have access to your records, so we can’t provide the payment amount. You should contact OPM to obtain that figure. You can call between 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET at 888-767-6738. You also can write to Office of Personnel Management, Retirement Operations Center, P.O. Box 45, Boyers, PA 16017-0045.

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QUESTION: I retired from federal service in 1993 with more than 30 years of service. I am under the Civil Service Retirement System.I elected survivor benefits for my spouse and, therefore, my pension is lower. If my wife dies before I do,would my retirement annuity increase, and, if so, by how much?



changed the amount three years ago. Response: We can’t answer your question because we don’t have your records. You need to contact the TSP office at 877-968-3778. The TSP representative will pull your records and assist you with making any necessary adjustments in order to fulfill the Internal Revenue Service requirements for withdrawing funds after turning age 70-1/2.

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Questions & Answers NARFE SERVICE OFFICERS are available to answer questions and to assist in sector for five years and have accumulated 20 quarters.If I continue to work until I’ve worked the full 40 quarters, would I still be able to collect at least some of my Social Security income without sacrificing my federal annuity? Response: Because you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System, you would continue to receive your full annuity without any offset when you begin receiving your Social Security benefit. However, your Social Security benefit would be offset.

MILITARY SERVICE DEPOSIT QUESTION:I retired under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) just after I turned age 55.I had accrued just over 33 years of service. Three of those years were credit for military service,for which I did not make a deposit. I had only 36 quarters of work toward Social Security at retirement and will still have only 36 quarters as of my 62nd birthday, making me ineligible for Social Security at that time.I understand that I will need to contact Social Security at age 62,even if I still am not eligible for Social Security at that time.This is to ensure that my three years of military time stay as part of my CSRS retirement computation. Is this correct? Response: You do not need to contact Social Security. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has a database that interfaces with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Someone from

helping with a variety of benefit matters. Check your chapter newsletter for the name and phone number of your service officer. Call NARFE toll-free at

800-456-8410 for the nearest service officer. NARFE Service Centers are also available in some areas. Use the Service Center listings on the NARFE website,

OPM will contact the SSA via the database when you turn age 62 to determine if you are eligible for a Social Security benefit. The SSA will send correspondence to OPM stating that you aren’t eligible for a Social Security benefit. Therefore, OPM will not do anything to your annuity. You will not lose your military service because you were covered by the CSRS prior to October 1, 1982.

CSA NUMBER ON BANK STATEMENT QUESTION: My CSA number appears on my checking account statement. I really would prefer that the number not be printed on the statement.What can I do? Response: Most banks don’t include the CSA number on retirees’ statements. You should contact your bank and see if you can persuade them to remove your CSA number, or you might consider switching to another bank that doesn’t include it on your statement.

TRACKING DOWN RECORDS QUESTION: My dad is a federal retiree and receives your publication. I

Make the right decision at the right time. NARFE offers an online retirement calculator and other financial planning tools for members only. Find out more about this membership benefit at


hope you can help me on a question to which I have been unable to obtain an answer. I worked for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from February through December 1986. As a fulltime civilian employee,I paid into the federal retirement fund and Social Security. I receive regular statements from Social Security,but I have no idea where those nine months of federal retirement contributions are located or the amount I contributed. I do not plan to return to work for the federal government. Who or what agency should I contact to find out about what has happened to my contributions? Response: When you left the USPS, your pay records were closed out and sent to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). You must have five years of civilian service to qualify for a deferred retirement when you reach age 62. Since you don’t qualify for a deferred retirement, and you do not plan to return to work for the federal government, you may want to complete an application for a lump sum refund of your retirement funds. The appropriate form for you to use is form 3106. You may obtain this form from the OPM website,

To obtain an answer to a federal benefits question, call 703-838-7760 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 AUGUST 2012 | NARFE

Federal Benefits

Retirees:Notify OPM When You ChangeYour Address...


oo often, federal retirees request a change in their di-

rect deposit payments when they move, but they forget to notify the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that their mailing address has changed. They

do so at their own risk, and here is an example of what can go wrong.

When direct deposit of annuity payments first became available, OPM accepted changes of banks and accounts only in writing from the annuitant or through form 1199A, received from the bank or other financial institution. However, in response to annuitants’ requests to provide better customer service, OPM began allowing annuitants to make their changes over the telephone, as long as the individual

could provide specific personal identifying information. As time passed, OPM allowed annuitants to make these changes online, using its Services Online link on the OPM website,, which requires providing both the individual’s retirement claim number and an OPM-issued personal identification number (PIN) before the change could be accepted.

...And Provide Your EmailAddress


everal years ago,the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) started a push to have retirees provide their email addresses to OPM. Functioning as retirees’ personnel office and payroll office,OPM wants to make it quick and easy to provide updates and information to retirees and survivors.In addition,OPM does not want to have to copy and pay for mailing information that easily could be sent and received electronically. For example,by providing OPM with their email address,retirees can receive their annual Federal Benefits Open Season information notice online, along with important links. And retirees can’t misplace or lose information sent to them via email because it stays in the inbox until it is deleted. You can provide OPM with your email address: • Online, go to, look under “Retirees & Families” in the center of the page and click on“Services Online”; •Via email to; • By postal mail to Retirement Operations Center,P.O.Box 45,Boyers,PA 16017-0045;and • By phone,888-767-6738.


Almost daily, we read about identity theft, where an unauthorized person has been able to secure personal information about another individual and uses that information to divert money to an account set up by the thief. The latest scam involves prepaid debit cards. The thief has possession of the victim’s Social Security number and date of birth, calls into a benefit-paying agency, and has the victim’s direct deposit bank account changed to a separate prepaid debit account. Although the routing number is for a valid financial institution, the account is not with that financial institution but with a legitimate prepaid card company. Once an annuitant’s direct deposit account has been changed, OPM notifies the annuitant by mail in a matter of days. It is important for retirees to keep OPM informed of their mailing address so that OPM’s notice gets to the annuitant, who can then notify OPM if the change of financial accounts was unauthorized by them. Retirees who make a change in their direct deposit address by telephone also may find that OPM representatives will request information outside of their date of birth and Social Security number to verify that the callers are who they say they are. If the OPM representative is not satisfied with the caller’s information, the rep will require the caller to make his or her request either in writing or by using Services Online. Annuitants should have patience – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

By the Federal Benefits Service Department


NARFE: Our Best Bet for the Future

32nd National Convention RENO-SPARKS, NV AUG 26-30, 2012

NARFE Sponsors First-Ever NARFE-PAC Breakfast at Convention


ARFE will sponsor its first-ever NARFE-PAC breakfast on Tuesday, August 28, from 7:308:30 a.m. at the Poolside Terrace at the Convention hotel, John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort. NARFE-PAC is the Association’s Political Action Com-

mittee. It donates funds to congressional candidates who support federal employees and retirees. Mike Causey, host of Federal News Radio’s “Federal Report,” will be the keynote speaker. Tickets are $35, or free for Sustainers who have signed up for monthly

How to Follow the Convention


ARFE will post daily reports from the National Convention on the NARFE website,, beginning Monday, August 27.

You can also follow the Convention on Twitter. NARFE staff will be tweeting throughout the Convention. Go to and click on the Twitter logo, or follow us at @narfehq.

FOR MEMBERS WITH MEDICAL NEEDS... These firms offer medical rentals (wheelchairs,scooters and oxygen): • Bennett Medical Services, 2600 Mill St., Ste. 600, Reno, NV, 89502, 775329-0799; • Medtech Services,555 GentryWay, Reno,NV 89502,775-826-2022.

DEADLINES Registration: Postmarked by August 2 Proxy Form: August 11 More National Convention information is available at Sign in as a member and click on the 2012 Convention logo.


NARFE-PAC contributions of $10 or more. Space is limited. To reserve a spot in advance, email or call 703-838-7760, ext. 267.

NationalAutomobile Museum Dinner August 29 Registration for this optional convention event is available at See that site for details. Registration deadline is August 3.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS Hotel reservations may be made by phone with the convention hotel (to get the NARFE rate,you must mention the NARFE Convention) or online at

JOHN ASCUAGA’S NUGGET CASINO RESORT 1100 Nugget Ave., Sparks, NV 89431 800-648-1177 - HOTEL RATE: $95 single/double + 13.5% county tax. Triple and quad occupancy rates are an additional $10 per person over the quoted rate. Rates apply three days before and three days after the arrival and departure dates, based on availability. PARKING: Valet and self-parking;rate included in the $3 per room per night resort fee. RESERVATION CUTOFF DATE: July 20 CHECK-IN: 3 p.m. / CHECK-OUT: 11a.m.


Online Registration Is Available at Sign in and click on the Convention logo.


32ND NATIONAL CONVENTION August 26-30, 2012 PLEASE CHECK: ■ (Guest) Member ■ (Guest) Nonmember


■ Delegate* ■ Delegate-at-Large* ■ Alternate*

*NOTE: This is NOT a voter registration form. Voter registration is confirmed by your chapter on Form C/12-2.


Mail Preregistration Form to: NARFE, Treasurer’s Office 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914

Name for badge: Chapter #:

■ A nonrefundable fee of $65 (payable to NARFE) must accompany this form. ■ Onsite registration fee will be $80 in Reno-Sparks. ■ Each attendee must complete a separate registration form. ■ Form must be postmarked by August 2, 2012.


■ Charge to my credit card

Notify in case of emergency:

Card type: ■ MasterCard ■ Visa ■ Discover ■ AMEX


Card# __________________________________________ Phone Number:

Expiration Date_______ / _______ (mm) / (yy)

Name on card (Print) _______________________________ Signature ________________________ Date __________

Form C/12-4


32ND NATIONAL CONVENTION August 26-30, 2012 ■ Tables will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Tables seat 10 people. ■ RESERVATIONS LIMITED TO 2,000 PEOPLE. ■ Groups wishing to sit together should submit only one request specifying number of seats desired. Please attach name list. ■ A receipt will be mailed to you by August 2 acknowledging payment and showing your table assignment. ■ All banquet tickets will be held for pickup at the convention registration area at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort. ■ BANQUET REFUNDS AVAILABLE ONLY IF RESERVATIONS ARE CANCELLED 72 HOURS PRIOR TO THE BANQUET.

NARFE ID #: Name: Address:

Chapter #: Nonmember Guest: Please reserve _____ tickets at $50 each, total $_____.

■ Charge to my credit card Card type: ■ MasterCard ■ Visa ■ Discover ■ AMEX

Make check payable to NARFE and send to: NARFE, Treasurer’s Office 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914

Card# __________________________________________ Expiration Date_______ / _______ (mm) / (yy)

Name on card (Print) _______________________________ Signature ________________________ Date __________

Form C/12-16

How the Revised Bylaws Will MoveThrough the Convention By Paul Lamb, CP-T, PRP


arliamentarians have a process called “seriatim,” where a large document is dealt with one section or paragraph at a time, and then a single vote is taken on the total document at the conclusion. We will be using a modification of this process as we consider the revised Bylaws and Standing Rules at the NARFE National Convention in Reno-Sparks, NV. It is expected that the convention rules, prepared by the Rules Committee and adopted at the beginning of the convention, will require that all amendments to the proposed document be submitted before the meeting during which the proposed revision document will come up for consideration. This will give the Bylaws Revision Committee (BRC) the opportunity to review the proposed amendments and allow the amendments to be sorted into the order in which they appear in the document.

We will be considering each of these amendments, starting with the one that applies earliest in the document and continuing in order through the remainder of the document. But any article, section or paragraph that does not have a presubmitted amendment applying to it will be skipped. As the chairman of the BRC reads a proposed amendment, the maker of that amendment should move to a microphone and identify himself or herself to the Sergeant-at-Arms so that the presiding officer can recognize that individual first in the debate. Where the BRC agrees with the proposed amendment, it may be adopted by general consent, without debate and a formal vote. Remember: Each of these proposed amendments will be voted on with only a majority vote required for adoption. At this point, we are just editing a document – the proposed revised Bylaws and Standing Rules. Following consideration of and the vote on each proposed amendment,

there will be a single vote on whether to substitute the revised (and possibly amended) document for the current document. This vote must meet the requirements of the current Bylaws, meaning that a two-thirds affirmative vote is required. And as this vote is considered critical, a ballot vote is certainly appropriate. Once adopted (voting results are announced by the president), the proposed revisions will become the organization’s governance document. And members can start preparing the proposed amendment resolutions for consideration at the 2014 National Convention.

Paul Lamb is NARFE parliamentarian. He is credentialed as a Certified Parliamentarian-Teacher (CP-T) by the American Institute of Parliamentarians and as a Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP) by the National Association of Parliamentarians.

Presenters Named for Four Membership ‘Lunch and Learn’ Sessions at Convention


resenters have been named for the four “Lunch and Learn” sessions on membership. The sessions will be Wednesday and Thursday of convention week from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Topics and presenters are:

members. Leslie Kerns, senior vice president, M&R Strategic Services • Communicating as it applies to volunteer organizations. Martha Nall, extension professor, Program and Staff Development, University of Kentucky

THURSDAY, AUGUST 30 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29 • How to market to prospective


• Motivation: How does this relate to NARFE? Lou Ann Sabatier, Sabatier

Consulting • Direct marketing super hints revealed. Rick Whalen, president, and Monica Williams, account supervisor, Marketing General Inc. An additional Lunch and Learn session will be held Tuesday, August 28, on the Online Activities Module. Service officers training will be Monday, August 27, from 7-8 p.m. AUGUST 2012 | NARFE

Report From the Regions What Is the Value of Your Retirement Benefits? By Paul E. Johnson Region IV Regional Vice President


hat value do you place on your federal retirement benefits? Here’s one way to think about it: How large would a nest egg of investments in stock, bonds, rental property, etc., have to be to produce an annual income equaling your current retirement and health benefits? As an example, assume that: 1. Total income from your Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) benefit is

$30,000 per year. 2. Your Federal Employees Health Benefits Program plan is Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Standard, family). For 2012, the monthly health insurance premium is $1,327.80, of which the government pays $897.76. Hence, the annual benefit of this plan to you is $897.76 X 12, or a total of $10,773 (rounded). You would need a yearly investment income of $40,773 ($30,000 + $10,773) to equal your current retirement income and health benefits. How large must your nest egg be to yield that amount? Here’s how to calculate that, assuming an average annual return from investments (stocks, bonds, property) to be 8 percent: Nest egg = (retirement and health benefit income) divided by (return from investment percentage) Nest egg = $40,773 divided by .08 (percentage expressed as decimal) Nest egg = $509,662.50

To produce this yearly income of $40,773, a nest egg (investment assets) of $509,662.50 would be needed. Use this example to calculate your own nest egg, which represents the value of your retirement benefit: My nest egg = (my total CSRS/FERS income + my health benefit) divided by (.08) My nest egg = $______________________________ Are you surprised at the computed value of your earned retirement benefits? You spend hundreds of dollars per year for insurance on your home and vehicle, and hundreds more to maintain the value of these investments. Doesn’t it seem worthwhile, then, to keep NARFE working for about $50 per year to protect and maintain the value of your retirement nest egg — especially when legislators are trying very hard to diminish its value? ■


YES! 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 and grandchildren of federal civilian retirees and current federal employees who are NARFE members.

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NARFE News NARFE NewsWatch:Must Reading!


very Tuesday, NARFE sends an electronic news digest, “NARFE NewsWatch” to all members who have an email address on file at NARFE HQ. The digest includes articles from a variety of news sources. If you had been receiving NewsWatch and haven’t seen a copy lately, your address may have been removed from the list of recipients because, for one of several reasons, the email containing the digest “bounced” back and could not be delivered. If this is the case, and you would like to continue to receive NewsWatch, please send a request to If you would like to begin receiving NewsWatch, please make sure your

email address is on file at NARFE HQ by emailing the Member Records Department at Note: Members who use Comcast as their email provider should create a dif-

ferent email account for NARFE NewsWatch (using Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, for example) because NARFE’s vendor for the digest is unable to send to most Comcast email addresses. ■


VINCENT E. VANDERAH FORMER IOWA FEDERATION PRESIDENT incent E. Vanderah, who served as Iowa Federation president from 1985-1987, died June 11 at age 92. He also served as president of Chapter 148 in Des Moines and was active in state legislation on NARFE issues.He served in the Army in WorldWar II and was awarded the Bronze Star.Following the war,he served more than 30 years in the Iowa National Guard, achieving the rank of brigadier general. He worked for the Social SecurityAdministration and retired from the Internal Revenue Service.


There is no guarantee to your federal pension based on the economics we face today in this country. —Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK

Who is fighting for your benefits in Congress?


In today’s economic climate, federal retirement programs are a target for Congress. NARFE is the only association dedicated solely to protecting and preserving the benefits of America’s active and retired federal employees and their families. Keep your membership active! NARFE is here for you. National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association





Who can join?


To apply:

Membership is open to civilians in any agency of the federal government including: • Retirees • Active federal employees • Spouses and former spouses of active and retired federal employees • Former employees eligible for deferred annuity • Survivors of those eligible to join NARFE

Check out eNAR FE, ou r new electronic m embership option, at www.NAR FE .org

• Complete the application below. • Enclose payment information, bill pay, check or money order payable to NARFE, or request to be billed. • Or go to our website at • Or call us at 800-627-3394 and join today!

Enrollment includes membership in a local chapter and the national association, plus a subscription to NARFE’s monthly publication, NARFE magazine.

NARFE MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION For Active and Retired Federal Employees 1. Choose all that apply:  Retiree  Spouse  Survivor

 Active employee  Former spouse  Former employee

2.  Also enroll my spouse __________________________

Contact Information:

Full Name: Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms.

full name

3.  Please enroll me in NARFE chapter ______________

Street Address

4. __________ $45 x __________ Membership Fee # of People Per Person Enrolling


= __________ Total Payment

 Total payment (check, bill pay or money order payable to NARFE)  Bill me (Membership starts when payment is received)  Charge to my credit card The first year membership fee includes national and chapter dues. Credit Card Information:  MasterCard Card type:  Discover


Card No. ___________________________________________


Phone Number Email Address Date of Birth Spouse’s Date of Birth (if applicable) Recruiter’s Membership and Chapter Number

Expiration Date ________________ (MM)


Name on Card (Print) ________________________________ Signature ____________________________ Date __________



NARFE Member Records 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 Fax: 703-838-7783

1Q 41

NARFE Dues Withholding Application Retired Federal Employees Only If you are a Retired Federal Employee and you would like your NARFE dues to be deducted from your annuity payments, fill out the form below.

Dues Withholding Application (Retirees Only) Fill out this form completely and mail to: Attn: Member Records, NARFE, 606 N. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314 (Do Not Send Money With This Form). (Please Print) —



Civil Service Annuity Number

Social Security Number (9-digits)

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

(Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms.) Address


City, State, ZIP


Date of Birth

NARFE Membership Number

NARFE Chapter Number

Authorization 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:

Do You Authorize Your Spouse’s Dues to Be Withheld from Your Annuity? If YES, enter your spouse’s name and membership number below.



❑ Yes

❑ No

You authorize: Annual NARFE dues of $34.00 plus Chapter dues of record to be withheld annually.

I understand that this authorization shall be valid until NARFE receives & processes my written notice of cancellation in accordance with its agreement with the Office of Personnel Management & that any disputes regarding this authorization shall be a matter between NARFE & 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



Dues payments & gifts or contributions to NARFE are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.


Out & AW bout ith the Chapters That’s How


DECKED OUT. Carol Dobbins, left, and Jeri Benson from Chapter 1680 in Elkhorn, CA, represented NARFE in the VFW Memorial Day Parade in North Highlands, CA. PARADE READY. Members of Roadrunners Chapter 1874 in Tucson, AZ, participate in the Memorial Day Parade in Tucson. HONK IF YOU THINK THIS IS A GREAT IDEA. Dave Southworth, publicity chair for Chapter 4 in San Diego, CA, added four-inch lettering to his car to get the message out in his area, home to lots of federal civil servants.

Visit our online photo gallery at Click on NARFE magazine.

To submit a photo: Email it to or send it by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Out & About. NARFE members contributed for Alzheimer’s research:


$10 Million Fund

$9,785,755* *Total as of May 31, 2012 100% of all contributed funds go to Alzheimer’s research. If you have any questions, write to: National Committee Chairman Jane Rodgers, P.O. Box 234 Wadesville, IN 47638-0234 Email:

Enclosed is my NARFE-Alzheimer’s contribution: $ ___________. Every cent that is contributed is used for research. Please circle:



NARFE-Alzheimer’s Research and mail to: Alzheimer’s Association 225 N. Michigan Ave., 17th Floor Chicago, IL 60601-7633 NARFE | AUGUST 2012


Address _____________________________________________________________ City _______________________________ State _________ ZIP ______________ Chapter number _______________________ Credit Card Information: ❑ Visa

Your charitable contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Write your chapter number on check; make it payable to:


Name _______________________________________________________________

❑ MasterCard

❑ Discover


Card Number: __________________________________________________________ Expiration Date:________(mm)/_________(yy) 3-Digit Security Code: _________ Name on Card: (print) ___________________________________________________ Signature:_________________________________________ Date: _______________


NARFE Perks NARFE 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 below and encourages its members to shop and compare before making a decision on any financial matter.




NARFE INSURANCE SERVICES NARFE MEMBER HOMEBENEFITS 1-800-666-9203 • 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.

BEKINSVAN LINES 1-800-456-6832 (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CT) 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, locals and international moves will be competitive in cost based on your geographical location. Mention you are a NARFE member and transportation agreement #00930.


Government Employees Travel Opportunities® Offers government employees, retirees and their families 7 Night Stays for ONLY $349 on accommodations worldwide. Book online at www.gettravelop. com/narfe and save on your next vacation stay.


1-800-233-5764 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 for more information on these programs.

GEICO:1-800-368-2734 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 some states • Discount not available in all states or in all GEICO companies • One group discount applicable per policy.

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 onetime 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 Visit for more information, or call 877-360-2442 Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. East Coast Time


EMERGENCY SERVICES SINCE 1974 1-800-423-3226 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!

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 877-615-9246 or visit





CHOICE HOTELS INTERNATIONAL 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. To book, visit or call 800-258-2847.

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-CAR-RENT® and reference Contract ID 5282909.

NARFE’s OFFICIAL CREDIT UNION 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 800-3281500, e-mail jparish@narfepremierfcu. org or visit us at

CREDIT CARD AVIS:1-800-331-1441

WYNDHAM HOTEL GROUP As a member of NARFE, you will receive up to 20% off the “Best Available Rate” at participating locations when you travel. Call and give 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 memberbenefits hotline 1-877-670-7088 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®.


The employees/owners of Avis offer guaranteed low rates and quality services to members of NARFE. Mention ID# A991900.


LIFE LINE SCREENING Life Line Screening, America’s leading provider of community-based 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 1-800-324-9906 and give the operator code number: BKHN075 or visit www.lifelinescreening. com/NARFE. Coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

Bank of America now offers the officially approved credit card program for NARFE, featuring the Platinum Plus® MasterCard® with WorldPoints. This is the only credit card that helps support NARFE every time you use it to make a purchase–at no additional cost to you. Call toll-free 1-866-438-6262 Use NARFE’s full name, not NARFE.


Order Official NARFE name badges, customizable NARFE logo products and plaques. Call toll-free 855-99NARFE (855-996-2733)


For the Record The chart below tracks the CPI-W, the monthly inflation change, and the cumulative percentage gain for the next CSRS and Social Security COLA. CPI-W October 2011 November December January 2012 February March April May June July August September

223.043 222.813 222.166 223.216 224.317 226.304 227.012 226.600

MONTHLY % CHANGE % CHANGE FROM 223.2 -0.29 -0.10 -0.29 +0.5 +0.5 +0.89 +0.31 -0.18

Stocks Bounce Back in June ByTracey Ray


he equity funds posted solid gains in June, bouncing back from the dismal returns in May. But it was a roller coaster ride during the month. Markets started out strong with the S&P 500 (C Fund) up 3.6 percent by midmonth. However, bad news out of Europe took the wind out of the markets’ sails; and, just a week later, the S&P 500 had given up all of its gains for the month. Investors’ attention shifted from Greece to problems in Spain. For the next few days, stocks drifted slowly upward until the last day of June, when markets surged as European leaders finally reached a compromise on providing an aid package.

Tracey Ray is chief investment officer of the Thrift Savings Plan.

Track the TSP every month in NARFE 46

-0.09 -0.19 -0.48 -0.01 +0.49 +1.38 +1.69 +1.51

Price Index Dips in May


he Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) decreased 0.18 percent in May. To calculate the 2013 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), the indices of July, August and September 2012 will be averaged for a thirdquarter determinant, which will be compared with the 2011 thirdquarter base of 223.233. The May index of 226.600 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. May’s index is 2.00 percent higher than the December 2011 base index of 222.166. ■

Thrift Savings Plan Investments* Month G Fund 0.22% 2011 July August 0.19% September 0.16% October 0.14% November 0.14% December 0.15% 2012 January 0.13% February 0.12% March 0.14% April 0.15% May 0.14% June 0.11% Last 12 Months 1.81%

F Fund 1.59% 1.45% 0.73% 0.11% 0.01% 1.01% 0.88% 0.05% (0.61%) 1.12% 0.91% 0.05% 7.53%

C Fund (2.04%) (5.44%) (7.03%) 10.93% (0.21%) 1.04% 4.50% 4.34% 3.30% (0.62%) (5.99%) 4.13% 5.55%

S Fund (3.14%) (8.12%) (10.73%) 14.09% (0.51%) (0.04%) 7.59% 3.99% 2.30% (0.71%) (6.91%) 3.25% (1.54%)

Month 2011 July August September October November December 2012 January February March April May June Last 12 Months

L 2020 (0.94%) (3.69%) (4.73%) 6.18% (0.34%) 0.11% 3.03% 2.53% 1.23% (0.38%) (4.20%) 2.72% 0.93%

L 2030 (1.25%) (4.63%) (5.92%) 7.68% (0.49%) 0.09% 3.77% 3.10% 1.49% (0.52%) (5.23%) 3.32% 0.51%

L 2040 (1.49%) (5.37%) (6.85%) 8.83% (0.62%) 0.07% 4.34% 3.54% 1.68% (0.63%) (6.00%) 3.77% 0.07%

L Income (0.14%) (1.10%) (1.51%) 2.31% 0.02% 0.20% 1.18% 0.98% 0.54% 0.01% (1.38%) 1.04% 2.09%

I Fund (1.60%) (9.03%) (10.55%) 9.48% (2.46%) (2.03%) 5.36% 5.14% 0.13% (1.87%) (11.40%) 7.08% (13.51%) L 2050 (1.75%) (6.16%) (7.80%) 9.92% (0.78%) (0.01%) 4.87% 3.99% 1.86% (0.78%) (6.85%) 4.27% (0.76%)

*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:


o t N trac on C

Lo S B ng ou ett Want a cell phone that’s er nd er Ba a just a phone? Your choice is simple. tterynLd


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!

that’s the problem with prepaid phones. Since 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 Monthly Minutes Monthly Rate Operator Assistance 911 Access Long Distance Calls Voice Dial Nationwide Coverage Friendly Return Policy1

GreatCall® created the Jitterbug with one thing in mind – to offer people a cell phone that’s easy to see and hear, and is 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. The rate plans are simple too. Why pay for minutes you’ll never use? There are a variety of affordable plans. Plus, you don’t have to worry about finding yourself stuck with no minutes–

Call now and receive a FREE gift just for ordering. Hurry…this is a limited time offer. Call now!



$14.99 24/7 FREE No add’l charge FREE Yes 30 days

$19.99 24/7 FREE No add’l charge FREE Yes 30 days

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

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.

Available in Silver and Red.

Call now and receive a FREE gift when you order. Try the Jitterbug Plus for yourself for 30 days and if you don’t love it, just return it for a refund1 of the product purchase price. Call now – helpful Jitterbug experts are ready to answer your questions.

Jitterbug Plus Cell Phone Call today to get your own Jitterbug Plus. Please mention promotional code 44787.

1-866-540-0296 We proudly accept the following credit cards.


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 rate plans do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges. Prices and fees subject to change. 1We will refund the full price of the Jitterbug phone 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 apply for each minute over 30 minutes. The activation fee and shipping charges are not refundable. Jitterbug is a registered trademark of GreatCall, Inc. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and/or its related entities. Copyright © 2012 GreatCall, Inc. Copyright © 2012 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All rights reserved.

Black ®

Our Most Innovative Fit-Forever Waistband Yet — STEALTH!

These polyester twills give you the handsome look of denim, but now with a little extra comfort in all directions! Easy snap closure, 2 front pockets, 2 back pockets, coin pocket, back yoke. Plus, a center back loop to make your belt stay put. They wash and dry without a worry, fade or wrinkle! Truly jeans you can wear with confidence!

Grey Heather

Order right now! Navy

! NEW Short

Extra s Now m Insea ilable a v A Medium Blue Blue Heather with Cell Phone Pocket!

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.

2 for 39.98 3 for 56.97 4 for 73.95

FOR MAXIMUM COMFORT, ORDER YOUR USUAL WAIST SIZE! Waist: 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 *Big Men ($5.50 more per pair): 46 48 50 52 54 56 Inseams: XS(25-26) S(27-28) M(29-30) L(31-32) Haband

Duke Habernickel #1 Bargain Place Jessup, PA 18434-1834


Haband #1 Bargain Place, Jessup, PA 18434-1834 Send ___ jeans. I enclose $________ purchase price plus $7.99 toward shipping. In GA add sales tax.

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Card # ________________________________________Exp.: ______/_____ Mr. Mrs. Ms. ___________________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________ Apt. # ______ City & State _____________________________________ Zip ___________ Phone/Email ___________________________________________________ 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed or Full Refund of merchandise purchase price.

For Faster Service Call: 1-800-543-4810 or Go Online: www.


August 2012 NARFE Magazine  
August 2012 NARFE Magazine  

August 2012 NARFE Magazine