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For Active and Retired Federal Employees
FEBRUARY 2012, Volume 88, Number 2
LEGISLATIVE REPORT 8 12 14 16 18
Analysis: Feds Continue to be Budget Pawn Bills Introduced to ‘Repair’ the Congressional Budget Process House Passes FECA Reform Bill Members of Congress in Transition Civics 101: NARFE-PAC Preview
Cover design by Jim Richards Photos courtesy of, from left, the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Staunton Convention & Visitors Bureau
COLUMNS 6 Message From the National President
30 Managing Money 32 Live Well 34 Civil Service Career Coach
COVER STORY 24
50 States – 50 Vacations. In a traveling state of mind? See the USA this year and experience a bit of our nation’s history. Send us a postcard!
SPECIAL SECTIONS 20 Regaining Respect: Media Outreach
43 NARFE Scholarship Application
DEPARTMENTS 36 42 46 50
44 National Convention Update
Questions & Answers NARFE News Out & About For the Record: TSP Investments, COLA Chart
NARFE Resources NARFE-PAC Coupon . . . . . . . .14 NARFE-FEEA Coupon . . . . . . .42 Alzheimer’s Coupon . . . . . . . . .46 Membership Application . . . . . .47
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NARFE Member Perks . . . . . . .48
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NARFE MAGAZINE Volume 88,Number 2 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 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Sales: Warren Berger, Media People Inc., 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 725, New York, NY 10168; 212-779-7172, ext. 223; Email: email@example.com
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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. Contents of this magazine are copyrighted © 2012.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.
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
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A Message From the National President
NARFE:Our Best Bet for the Future
n my January column, I briefly touched on the 2012 NARFE National Convention, coming up in RenoSparks, NV, August 26-30, 2012. This month, I’d like to go into more detail and urge you to make plans to attend, if at all possible. This will be a very important convention, perhaps determining how long our Association will remain viable. I know that you have heard this before – usually before every biennial NARFE National Convention. But in this case, I believe this convention will be more important than ever to NARFE’s future. One of the most crucial votes to be taken at the National Convention will be on a resolution to revise NARFE’s Bylaws. Attempts to amend or revise the Bylaws have been a part of every National Convention that I can remember. This is not surprising. After all, our Bylaws govern how NARFE operates. And, like any document of this kind, there are many opinions about how they pertain to the everyday conduct of NARFE business. At the 2010 National Convention in Grand Rapids, MI, delegates voted for the creation of a committee, with one representative from each region, to take a detailed look at the Bylaws and recommend revisions where it was deemed necessary. This was an unenviable task, but we were able to find 10 people willing to attempt to do what the delegates asked. Mary Williams of Chapter 769 in Helena, MT, was selected to chair the committee, and we thank her and the other members for a lot of hard, soul-searching work. The committee presented its preliminary report to the National Executive Board (NEB) at its November 2011 meeting. Delegates to the 2012 National Convention will vote on the final product of the committee’s work, which
also reflects input from the NEB. Every NARFE member will have ample time and opportunity to read and comment on what is incorporated in the revised Bylaws (see story, p. 44). The committee’s proposal is on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org (log in as a member and click on the convention logo). Submit your comments by email to the Bylaws Review Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 31. Information will be published in NARFE magazine between now and the convention. Discussions will also take place at federation conventions this spring. It is important that you attend the National Convention, either as a delegate or as your chapter’s voting representative. You have until the end of February to volunteer to serve on one of the nine convention committees. Your chapter president has been sent information on the committees. When you receive this issue of NARFE magazine, the second session of the 112th Congress will just be getting started. Last year was a difficult one for the federal community – both retirees and active employees. This year, an election year, will probably be just as tough – if not worse. Please continue to support NARFE’s “Protect America’s Heartbeat” campaign, as we continue to try to persuade Congress that threatening the pay and benefits of federal employees and retirees is not only unfair, it is also unwise, given the role that federal employees play in protecting America’s heartbeat. This fight is a long way from being won, but it is winnable if we all work together! I hope to see many of you in Reno-Sparks in August as we try to make NARFE a stronger, more powerful voice for federal employees and retirees. I would like to close with my personal motto: “Working together, we can make a difference.”
ONE OF the most crucial votes to be taken at the National Convention will be on a resolution to revise NARFE’s Bylaws.
Joseph A. Beaudoin email@example.com
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
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Analysis: Feds ContinueTo Here’s What’s BeBudget Pawn In Store for the
n the January issue of NARFE magazine, we predicted that
“until a bipartisan deficit-reduction plan is agreed to, federal
employees and retirees will be a target for hits.” And so it is. As this issue went to press, Congress was still grappling with ex-
tending unemployment insurance and a payroll-tax holiday, along with a so-called “doc fix,” which would prevent physicians’ Medicare payments from being slashed. Our nation’s federal workers continue to be played as the pawn in Congress’ budget battles. This is especially upsetting when it comes to the debate on the payroll tax, which is intended to help middle-class workers, which includes most federal employees. In December, the Senate failed to pass a proposal by Sen. Dean Heller, RNV, that would extend the payroll-tax holiday but put the cost on the backs of federal employees. As an offset to pay for the extension, the bill would have extended the current federal pay freeze until 2015 (three more years) and called for a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce. The bill failed by a vote of 20-78. Also failing (50-48, with 60 votes needed) was a payrolltax holiday extension bill by Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, that did not use any federal employee or retiree provisions as offsets. The Senate ultimately passed a two-month extension with no impact on federal employees. The House-passed version of the so-
called “extenders” bill included an additional one-year federal pay freeze along with some radical changes to the federal retirement systems. These changes would apply to current and future employees. The retirement provisions would have current employees – both Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) – contribute 10.2 percent of their salaries to retirement. It would eliminate the annuity supplement for FERS employees who retire before age 62, with the exception of those in mandatory retirement age occupations. It also would set up an entirely new retirement system called “Secure Annuity Employees” for future employees and those not currently vested in FERS (less
■ President Obama on
December 20 signed into law a NARFE-supported bill, the Civilian Service Recognition Act, authorizing federal agencies to present a U.S. flag to the next of kin, or other designee, of a civilian federal employee killed while performing official duties. ■ The House and Senate are
scheduled to be in recess the week of February 20-24. This is an excellent time to meet with legislators, as the budget process begins with the president proposing a budget in February. ■ 2012 is a leap year, so
February 2012 has 29 days this year. During leap years, February is the only month to begin and end on the same day of the week.
LEGISLATIVE HOTLINE Toll-free! (24 Hours): 877-217-8234 Legislative Action Center: www.narfe.org FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
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Legislative Report than five years of service). The new system would have a much less generous defined benefit that would be much more costly for the employee. NARFE’s efforts avoided reductions in federal employee pay and benefits throughout the supercommittee process, and we continue to work to ensure federal employees and retirees dodge the bullet of being used to offset a payroll-tax holiday. But the battle is not over.
2013 BUDGET PROCESS BEGINS With the fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget process all but resolved, the FY 2013 budget process begins in earnest when Congress returns in January. So, what’s in store for election year 2012? President Obama is scheduled to submit his FY 2013 budget on February 6, 2012 (the first Monday in February, as required by the Congressional Budget Act). The budget submission will kick off another round of budget activity on Capitol Hill as lawmakers set out not only to fund federal agencies and programs for FY 2013, but also potentially to respond to the pending “sequester” (mandatory cuts) scheduled for January 2013. Sequestration is required because of the failure of the supercommittee to achieve its goals. Under normal procedures, Congress would consider a budget resolution in the spring of 2012 — a blueprint for spending and revenues for the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2012. Under the terms of the Deficit Control Act, $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, divided evenly between cuts in domestic spending and defense spending, will occur automatically unless Congress acts either to undo the process or replace the cuts. Pressure will continue to mount on lawmakers to short-circuit spending cuts scheduled for the Pentagon. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-CA, has drafted legislation that would delay further reductions in the Pentagon budget and other discretionary accounts. He wants to generate savings elsewhere by trimming the size of the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition over the next
Are You In the Loop? To get timely Legislative Alerts and the weekly Legislative Hotline, make sure NARFE has your e-mail address. Call 800-456-8410 or go to www.narfe.org.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ At press time, Congress was still grappling with
ways to pay for extending the payroll-tax holiday. The Senate defeated an attempt to pay for the holiday extension by freezing federal pay for three more years and cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent. ■ However, the House passed a bill that would freeze federal pay for one more year, eliminate the annuity supplement for Federal Employees Retirement System employees who retire before age 62 and make drastic changes in the federal retirement system for new feds. ■ The fiscal year 2013 budget process begins on February 6 when President Obama submits his budget to Congress. As deficit-reduction efforts continue, federal employee and retiree benefits remain on the congressional chopping block. decade. Under his proposal, for every three retirees, the government would be allowed to fill only one position. Other lawmakers are getting to work on their own proposals, including Sens. Jon Kyl, R-AZ, and John McCain, RAZ, who say that they intend to unveil their own debt-reduction plan. Both senators have stated that their goal is to minimize cuts to the military. While President Obama has signaled his intention to veto any effort to call off the cuts, he did say that he would consider such a move, should alternative deficit reduction be identified. With tighter budget caps and deficit-reduction targets already agreed to, federal employee and retiree benefits still could be on the chopping block. While congressional Democrats refused to go along with a pay freeze to offset the costs of the payroll-tax holiday in December, harmful proposals could be back in play early in the new year. Also at stake are issues left on the table during year-end negotiations on the budget. These include efforts to: • Amend the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to allow the entry of new regional carriers and certain other plans; • Increase contributions to federal retirement programs; • Scrap the current retirement system and start a new, and less generous, defined-benefit program for federal employees hired in recent years.
By Julie Tagen, Legislative Director NARFE Legislative Counsel Alan Lopatin contributed to this article. FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
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Bills Introduced to‘Repair’the Congressional Budget Process
embers of the House Committee on the Budget recently introduced several bills to reform the congressional budgeting process. In November, Reps. Paul D. Ryan, R-WI, chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, and Chris Van Hollen, DMD, the committee’s ranking minority member, introduced legislation that would give the president the ability to suggest cancelling some discretionary spending passed through appropriations legislation. (Discretionary spending, which makes up about a third of the federal budget, goes through the appropriations process, and Congress can set spending levels. The other type of spending, mandatory spending, is mostly for entitlement programs, and Congress does not set spending levels for these.) Under the bill, the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011, these requests not to spend certain funds would then be considered by Congress in an expedited up-or-down vote. The legislation is designed to help reduce earmarks by requiring members of Congress to defend spending programs. In December, Ryan unveiled 10 bills that are designed to “help repair the broken budget process,” according to their sponsors, all members of the Budget Committee. Some of these bills include: • The Legally Binding Budget Act, sponsored by Rep. Diane Black, R-TN, which would make the budget a joint resolution requiring the president’s signature. Under current law, the budget is a concurrent resolution and does not have the force of law. If the president vetoes the budget under Black’s proposal, the joint resolution would automatically revert to a concurrent resolution providing guidance to the authorizing committees. • The Spending Control Act, introduced by Rep. John Campbell, R-CA, which would establish binding limitations on federal spending and deficits in an attempt to keep spending growth to a minimum. The limits would be enforced by a “sequester,” or mandatory cuts, not to be more than 4 percent of programs if they are growing faster than inflation. The spending limits would apply to both mandatory and discretionary spending. • The Biennial Budgeting and Enhanced Oversight Act, sponsored by Rep. Reid Ribble, R-WI, which would change
STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ Several pieces of legislation have been introduced to
reform the congressional budgeting process. ■ They range from giving the president authority to
veto specific items within a spending bill to a periodic mandatory review of all federal programs. the budget cycle from an annual process to a biennial one. Congress would have to adopt the budget resolution during the first session and consider authorizing legislation in the second session. • The Government Shutdown Prevention Act, sponsored by Rep. James Lankford, R-OK, which would grant automatic authority to fund programs at a slightly reduced rate if Congress fails to enact appropriations bills by the start of the new fiscal year. • The Review Every Dollar Act, introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, which would require that all federal programs go through periodic sunset reviews and reauthorization. Among additional provisions, this legislation would provide a mechanism that would allow members of Congress to devote savings from spending bills to be counted toward deficit reduction. • The Balancing Our Obligations for the Long Term Act, authored by Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-SC, which would cap total spending over the long term to no more than 20 percent of the economy. This would be achieved by gradually reducing spending, reviewing long-term budget trends every five years, and requiring Congressional Budget Office long-term estimates and the president’s budget to extend beyond the current 10-year window. • The Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, sponsored by Rep. Scott Garrett, R-NJ, which would bring the U.S. Postal Service on-budget and require that all federal agencies make public the budgetary justification materials used to support funding requests. The president’s fiscal year 2013 budget is expected on February 6, and action could take place on the individual bills in early 2012. More information on this legislation is available at www.budget.house.gov/budgetprocessreform.
By Sarah Holstine, Legislative Specialist FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
House Passes FECA Reform Bill
he House of Representatives has passed bipartisan legislation to update and enhance the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). H.R. 2465, the Federal Workers’ Compensation Modernization and Improvement Act of 2011, “provides a thoughtful approach to reforming the federal workers’ compensation laws, one that does not reduce the basic benefits paid to employees who suffer a debilitating injury or illness as a result of their public service,” said NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin. As passed by the House on November 29, 2011, H.R. 2465 improves the fairness of coverage for worst-case scenarios under FECA. Specifically, the bill updates benefit levels for severe disfigurement of the face, head or neck (from an outdated maximum of $3,500 to $50,000) and funeral expenses (from an outdated $800 to $6,000). Neither of these levels has been updated since 1949. The bill also makes it clear that the FECA program covers injuries caused by a terrorist attack. Additionally, it extends the time, from 45 days to 135 days, that a federal employee who suffers a traumatic injury in a zone of armed conflict may continue to receive his or her regular salary before transitioning to FECA compensation, and provides more time for those employees to apply initially for FECA compensation. The bill also saves taxpayers money through reforms that intend to improve program integrity and reduce costs. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill
STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ The House has passed legislation to update and
■ ■ ■
enhance the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). It would increase the benefit levels for severe disfigurement of the face, head or neck from $3,500 to $50,000, and it would increase the benefit for funeral expenses from $800 to $6,000. It also would extend some time limits for applying for FECA benefits. NARFE calls the House-passed bill a “thoughtful approach” to FECA reform. The bill now goes to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. That committee already has approved a bill, opposed by NARFE, that would reduce benefits when recipients reach retirement age.
would reduce net direct spending by $22 million over the 2012-2021 period. Specifically, the bill would save money by reducing improper payments by allowing the Department of Labor to cross-reference Social Security earnings information for FECA recipients. It would increase reimbursements to the government from recoveries made by FECA recipients from liable third parties for salary paid during the continuation of pay period, and it would reduce program costs by authorizing physician assistants and ad-
I support NARFE-PAC, the Retirees’ Fund for the Future Enclosed is my NARFE-PAC contribution: $ Federal law requires political committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer for each individual whose contributions aggregate in excess of $200 in a calendar year.
Please send check, money order or credit card information to: Attn: Budget & Finance NARFE 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 Card Type:
❍ Mastercard ❍ Discover
City, State, ZIP
NARFE Membership #
Name on Card (Print)
❍ VISA ❍ AMEX
❍ For my contribution of $20 or more, please send a NARFE-PAC pin.
Signature Date 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.
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
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Legislative Report vanced practice nurses to provide medical services and certify traumatic injuries. The legislation was sent to the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. In November, that committee approved postal reform legislation that included amendments to FECA that would reduce benefits for retirement age beneficiaries. NARFE has opposed such reductions and sup-
ports H.R. 2465 as an alternative. On December 16, NARFE joined its allies in the FederalPostal Coalition to send a letter to the committeeâ€™s chairman and ranking member, Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-CT, and Susan M. Collins, R-ME, respectively, asking them to seek expedited consideration of H.R. 2465 by the full Senate.
By John Hatton, Legislative Specialist
Members of Congress in Transition Twenty-seven representatives and eight senators are not seeking re-election. With redistricting still pending in several states, more retirements are likely. Eight House Democrats are retiring. Eight senators are retiring: two Republicans, five Democrats and one Independent. At least 15 members are seeking another office: 11 for the Senate, two for president, one for governor and one for mayor. (Announcement dates are from CQ Roll Call.) KEY: Representativesâ€™ listings include state and district number or AL (at large). Senators are listed by state and Sen. State/ Dist. AR-04 AZ-06 AZ-Sen CA-06 CA-18 CA-51 CT-05 CT-Sen FL-14 HI-02 HI-Sen IL-12 IN-02 IN-06 KY-04 MA-01 MA-04 MI-05
Member Mike Ross (D) Jeff Flake (R)
Status (date announced)
May run for governor Running for Senate (10/26/11) Jon Kyl (R) Retiring (2/10/11) Lynn Woolsey (D) Retiring (6/27/11) Dennis Cardoza (D) Retiring (10/20/11) Bob Filner (D) Running for mayor (6/8/11) Christopher S. Murphy (D) Running for Senate (1/20/11) Joseph I. Lieberman (I) Retiring (1/19/11) Connie Mack (R) Running for Senate (10/26/11) Mazie K. Hirono (D) Running for Senate (5/19/11) Daniel K.Akaka (D) Retiring (3/2/11) Jerry F. Costello (D) Retiring (10/4/11) Joe Donnelly (D) Running for Senate (5/9/11) Mike Pence (R) Running for governor (5/5/11) Geoff Davis (R) Retiring (12/15/11) John W. Olver (D) Retiring (10/26/11) Barney Frank (D) Retiring (11/28/11) Dale E. Kildee (D) Retiring (7/15/11)
State/ Member Dist. MN-06 Michele Bachmann (R)
Status (date announced)
Running for president (6/14/11) MO-02 Todd Akin (R) Running for Senate (5/17/11) MT-AL Denny Rehberg (R) Running for Senate (2/5/11) ND-AL Rick Berg (R) Running for Senate (5/16/11) ND-Sen Kent Conrad (D) Retiring (1/18/11) NM-01 Martin Heinrich (D) Running for Senate (4/2/11) NM-Sen Jeff Bingaman (D) Retiring (2/18/11) NV-01 Shelley Berkley (D) Running for Senate (4/14/11) OK-02 David Daniel Boren (D) Retiring (6/7/11) OR-01 Vacant Election 1/31/12 TX-14 Ron E. Paul (R) Running for president (7/12/11) TX-20 Charlie Gonzalez (D) Retiring (11/25/11) TX-Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) Retiring (1/13/11) VA-Sen Jim Webb (D) Retiring (2/9/11) WA-01 Jay Inslee (D) Likely to run for governor WI-02 Tammy Baldwin (D) Running for Senate (9/6/11) WI-Sen Herb Kohl (D) Retiring (5/13/11)
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
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Legislative Report CIVICS 101:
THE INFORMED CITIZEN
arch will again be designated as “NARFEPAC Month.” As in previous election years, NARFE members will receive a request for NARFE-PAC contributions from NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin. In addition, we are asking chapter and federation officers to help the effort by highlighting the importance of NARFE-PAC to their respective chapter and federation members, and by asking for contributions. In anticipation of NARFE-PAC Month, please place NARFE-PAC on the agenda for your next chapter and/or federation meeting.
WHY IS NARFE-PAC SO IMPORTANT? NARFE-PAC allows members to pool our combined resources on behalf of congressional candidates who support giving federal workers and retirees a fair deal. By doing so, it opens doors to make our case to members of Congress, giving NARFE members a voice on Capitol Hill, which we need now more than ever. Without that access, we lose an important tool in our arsenal.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS ■ March is “NARFE-PAC Month”; members will be
asked to contribute to the fund. ■ NARFE-PAC allows members to pool resources
and support congressional candidates who support feds. ■ NARFE-PAC keeps our voice strong on Capitol Hill.
QUARTERLY REPORTS NARFE’s Legislative Department provides quarterly reports that detail the number of NARFE-PAC contributors, and the total amount of NARFE-PAC contributions by chapter and state. Federation officers should use these data to identify which chapters have been highlighting NARFEPAC and which have not.
CONSULTATION WITH NARFE MEMBERS
Before the National Officers make final decisions regarding a NARFE-PAC contribution to a congressional candidate, the Legislative Department consults with the state federation NARFE-PAC coordinators to ask the degree to DONATION INCENTIVES which the candidate has been accessible to NARFE memNARFE members who give $20 over the course of the bers, and responsive to their concerns and communications. election cycle will receive a 2011-2012 NARFE-PAC pin. While the National Officers weigh a variety of factors in deChapter and federation NARFE-PAC officers should termining whether support for a candidate is in the best incontact firstname.lastname@example.org to request NARFE-PAC pins to proterests of NARFE members as federal employees and revide to members giving at least $20 and contribution forms to send with the donations to National Headquartirees, the degree of communication with NARFE members ters. NARFE-PAC materials also are available on the in the district or state is a factor that chapter and federation NARFE Officers Home Page on the NARFE website, officers are uniquely qualified to judge. www.narfe.org. The consultative process encourages candidates for ConWe also are developing additional incentives for signing gress to reach out to local chapter and federation officers. up for monthly contributions, for providing contributions This provides an excellent opportunity to talk to members totaling $50 or $100 or more for the cycle, and for chapters of Congress about our issues and establish a relationship bethat reach a certain contribution level per member. tween a member of Congress and your chapter or federation. But remember that this is an opportunity to inform – not to suggest Presidential Debate Commission (www.debates.org) that campaign contributions are tied Event Date Venue to any official acts. That is not what 1st presidential debate Oct. 3 University of Denver the PAC is for, and it is against the Vice presidential debate Oct. 11 Centre College, Danville, KY law.
2nd presidential debate 3rd presidential debate
Oct. 16 Oct. 22
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
By Christopher Farrell, Legislative Representative FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
RENEWING How the PROTECT AMERICA’S HEARTBEAT Campaign Is Helping to Improve theImage Of FederalWorkers
or one year now, NARFE’s “Protect America’s Heartbeat” (PAH) campaign has helped to change the conversation in the national media and hometown coffee shops about the value of retired
and active federal employees. Because it was so chilling, it’s easy to remember the climate
before the PAH campaign started. A year ago, the public image of federal workers was fed by
unfair and inaccurate portrayals of federal workers in the media and by biased think tanks. The attitude was ambivalent at best and vengeful at worst. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform had just released its recommendations, which would have been disastrous for federal workers. And congressional leaders in Washington, such as House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-OH, were saying such things as, “So be it,” at the idea of federal workers losing their jobs. Over the last year, the media has given voice to federal workers and retirees, and NARFE has observed a change in tone among the general public for the service of the nation’s federal workforce. Many members of the media have been reading from NARFE’s talking points — from the president’s press secretary to conservative columnists. The shift in media coverage is partly due to the grass-roots efforts of NARFE members across the country, as well as their support for the national campaign, which has generated more than 150 news articles in top publications and on broadcast programs. When adding up the readership and viewership of these stories, NARFE’s PAH campaign has reached Americans some 200 million times in the last year with the pro-federal-employee message.
MEDIA OUTREACH The NARFE PAH campaign media outreach effort has been successful because it has been aggressive. Whenever news breaks, and there is an opportunity to promote the good work of federal employees, NARFE takes immediate action. NARFE wants to be sure that the voices of federal workers and retirees are heard in the next day’s headlines, including this one from CNN: “Federal Workers Lash Out at Benefits Cuts.” Because NARFE is constantly speaking out on behalf of retired and active federal employees, more members of the media are coming to NARFE for com-
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
RESPECT ments for stories on which they are working. In addition to the media that regularly cover federal worker issues, NARFE’s PAH campaign also has been successful in opening doors to news outlets that didn’t cover NARFE before. The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Fox News have run positive stories that mention NARFE and the importance of the federal workforce. NARFE members across the country also have worked to make sure that their voices are heard in local papers. So far, NARFE members have placed more than 40 letters to the editor in hometown newspapers across the country in defense of federal workers. Members of Congress read these letters more closely than a front page story in The New York Times, and their impact has been enormous in making elected officials think twice before voting against federal worker retirement and health benefits.
To listen to the Protect America’s Heartbeat radio ads, go to www.protectamericas heartbeat.org, click on “Donation” and then click on the arrows on each ad.
ADVERTISING In addition to reaching out to influential members of the media to paint a more favorable picture of federal workers and retirees, NARFE launched an advertising campaign designed to reach members of Congress and their staffs where they work and live. The PAH campaign was centered on two 60-second radio ads that featured firstperson accounts of federal employees (one retired, one active, both NARFE members) who talked about how they served their country (see the graphic, upper right). These ads were run on the top radio station in the Washington, DC, area, among others, for a three-week period in May. In addition, the ads played in other markets where key members of Congress spent congressional recesses. This ad placement in the DC area was duplicated in July and later in October, as key deadlines developed for decisions on issues vital to the federal workforce. NARFE also used Washington, DC-area transit advertising (bus shelters, and interiors of buses and subway cars) during the fall months to reach the general public and to let federal workers and retirees know that NARFE is fighting for them. Some online advertising also was used in this campaign. Using an aggressive message that federal workers protect America’s heartbeat, NARFE designed a big-screen ad for Nationals Park as the Washington Nationals baseball team hosted the opening event of Public Service Recognition Week in May. NARFE also hosted an information table at the game against the then-World Champion San Francisco Giants.
CONTINUING TO FIGHT Through multiple shutdown showdowns, a near debt default and commission after commission, the Association has persevered. As NARFE enters the second year of the PAH campaign, there clearly will be new challenges. But the Association will continue reaching out to the media and fighting to protect the hardearned benefits of federal workers and retirees. ■ NARFE | FEBRUARY 2012
Letters to the editor appeared in more than 40 newspapers around the country, including, from the top: The Washington Post; the Herald and News in Klamath Falls, OR; and the Des Moines (IA) Register.
Canadian Rockies + Vancouver Tour Plus “Rocky Mountaineer” Rail Trip & Olympia Nat’l Park
Travel with other NARFE members departing July 13, 2012
Start in Seattle; after a morning city tour, take a scenic drive to Spokane and visit The Grand Coulee Dam and Dry Falls. Travel through “The Big Sky Country” of Montana then visit Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks. Your tour in the heart of the Canadian Rockies will include Banff (2 nights), Banff National Park, Glacier fed Peyto Lake and Lake Louise, a “snow coach” ride onto Athabasca glacier, Jasper and Jasper National Park (1 night). Continue your drive along the Icefields Parkway and visit Yoho National Park, cross the Continental Divide, and traverse the Canadian Rockies’ western slope. In Whistler, board the Rocky Mountaineer train for Vancouver and travel through breathtaking scenery of waterfalls and mountains unavailable by other travel modes. Next, a ferry trip to Vancouver Island with a night in the capital, Victoria, British Columbia. Ferry to Port Angeles, WA; tour Olympic National Park and end back in Seattle!
Romantic Rhine River Cruise Enjoy the YMT chartered, 4-star ship, the “TUI Allegra”! Cruise from Frankfurt to Amsterdam… PLUS tour Germany!
Join other NARFE members departing July 15, 2012
Start in Berlin, Germany for a 4-day tour including east and west Berlin; Checkpoint Charlie; Potsdam; Dresden; Weimar and Frankfurt. You’ll tour the Rococo Castle (Sansoucci), drive the German Autobahn, and visit many historic sites. Your cruise includes the Rhine’s highlights including Rudesheim, the Loreley passage to Cologne, Dusseldorf, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Nijmegen, and Bonn. Your tour will continue for two more days and nights visiting Heidelberg and Munich, with included sightseeing, before flying home from Munich. Your “brand new” ship the TUI Allegra, constructed in 2011, offers a state-of-the-art, experience! Price includes (very limited) outside Porthole. *Add $300 per person for French Balcony.
Ireland Tour Visit the best of both Northern and The Republic of Ireland!
Travel with other NARFE members departing July 26, 2012
Start in historic Dublin with a city tour including The Bank of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Cathedral (the largest church in Ireland). Travel to Cork, stopping at the Rock of Cashel and Cobh along the way. Then visit Blarney Castle and perhaps kiss the Blarney Stone, Woollen Mill and Muckross House & Gardens en route to Killarney. Drive the “Ring of Kerry” offering spectacular scenery of lakes and rivers, tour Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, built in 1425. Visit the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, the Connemara region, Kylemore Abbey and the Bundoran area. Enjoy a guided tour of Belleek Pottery, visit Ulster American Folk Park, view Dunluce Castle & explore “The Giant’s Causeway” with remarkable rock formations. Finally take a sightseeing tour of Belfast plus the Titanic Quarter and the impressive Parliament buildings. Includes 16 meals.
Yellowstone + Rocky Mountain Tour 14 Days
Join other NARFE members departing August 15, 2012
Your tour begins in the “Mile High City” of Denver, followed by Cheyenne, WY. The next two days you will visit Fort Laramie; Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota. Then return to Wyoming with a stop in Deadwood, continuing through the Black Hills to Little Big Horn Battlefield and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Then you will depart for Yellowstone National Park (2 days) with extensive sightseeing, including Old Faithful and Hayden Valley. Your journey continues to Grand Tetons National Park with spectacular landscape; Jackson Hole, WY; Salt Lake City, UT with a city tour including the Great Salt Lake and opportunity to witness the Tabernacle choir rehersal. Then travel West visiting the Utah Field House Museum; Dinosaur National Monument and explore the vast variety of fossils and Rocky Mountain National Park including a drive through the park on Trail Ridge Road.
125:(*,$1 &58,6( /,1(
Alaska Cruise Plus…Amtrak Coast Starlight Train Tour & San Francisco
Travel with other NARFE members departing September 7, 2012
Start in Seattle with a city tour. Board the NCL Jewel for a 7-night Alaska cruise to Ketchikan, “The Salmon Capital of the World;” Juneau, Sawyer Glacier, with incredible colors; Skagway, where you can stroll the weathered boardwalks; and Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island. Next board the Coast Starlight train to San Francisco. Travel by day through Washington and Oregon’s spectacular scenic vistas. Enjoy your Amtrak sleeper-roomette at night (includes VIP lounge). Arrive in Napa and visit two of the area’s premier wineries. Spend two nights in San Francisco (stay near Fisherman’s Wharf) with a city tour including the Golden Gate Bridge and Pier 39.
*Price per person, based on double occupancy. Airfare is extra.
Call for details & itinerary 7 days a week:
Best of Italy & Austria Tour Rome – Pompeii – Amalfi Coast – Florence – Pisa – Verona – Venice
Join other NARFE members departing September 19, 2012
Enjoy three days in Rome with an included city tour of Ancient Rome and tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. Two nights in Sorrento allows included sightseeing of the excavations of famous Pompeii and a tour of the beautiful coastal drive of Amalfi and the cliffs. Your next two nights are in the Tuscany region with included sightseeing in Florence, Pisa and Verona followed by two nights in Venice with sightseeing. Next, Austria with two nights in Mozart’s birthplace Salzburg with a Sound of Music excursion and two nights in Vienna, Austria with a city tour and Danube River Cruise. Includes 12 breakfasts, 9 dinners & English-speaking escort throughout.
125:(*,$1 &58,6( /,1(
Northeast Cruise & Tour 15 Days
Travel with other NARFE members departing September 26, 2012
Start in historic Boston with a city tour including Old North Church and Bunker Hill. Travel via to Plymouth and see the Pilgrim’s landing site and then on to “Old Cape Cod” with “sand dunes and salty air.” You’ll also visit Chatham & Provincetown and overnight in the Hyannis area. The following day you will travel to Bridgeport, Connecticut, stopping in Newport, Rhode Island along the way and touring two famous mansions once home to the likes of the Vanderbilt’s. Then it’s on to the “Big Apple,” New York City for an exciting tour of Manhattan with a local city guide. You will also see and stop at Ground Zero, view Lady Liberty from Battery Park and much more. The next day you will board the NCL Gem for your 10-day cruise. Ports include: Halifax, Nova Scotia and Quebec City, Quebec with its remaining fortified city walls and visit the Château Frontenac or Notre-Dame. Then sail on and stop in Corner Brook, Newfoundland Island; Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia; with an optional shore excursion to the Fortress of Louisbourg. Disembark in New York City for your flight home.
Hawaiian Kings Tour The Best, 2-Week, 4-Island, Hawaiian Vacation Available At The Most Affordable Price!
Join other NARFE members departing September 26, 2012
“Carefree” best describes your vacation starting with your Polynesian tour director meeting you at the Honolulu airport. Spend 5 nights in Waikiki Beach (Honolulu) on Oahu; 3 nights on Kauai; 2 on Maui; 1 night in Hilo and 3 in Kona, on Hawaii (‘the-big-island”). Escorted sightseeing includes a city tour of Honolulu, Punchbowl Crater and Pearl Harbor, the Wailua River Boat Cruise, The Old Whaling Capital of Lahaina, the Iao Valley, Hilo Orchid Gardens, Rainbow Falls, Black Sand Beaches, Volcanoes National Park and more. Includes: hotel accommodations, taxes, inter-island flights, baggage handling, escort, & sightseeing.
Arizona + New Mexico Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 15 Days
Travel with other NARFE members departing September 26, 2012
Your Southwest tour begins in Phoenix where you may visit the beautiful famed Desert Botanical Garden or take an optional Hot Air Balloon Ride! Then travel to Tucson with a stop at Casa Grande National Monument and then into New Mexico visiting famous Tombstone with an overnight stay in Las Cruces. Tour more of New Mexico including White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns, Roswell and the International UFO Museum & Research Center, Santa Fe and then Albuquerque (2 nights) where you will witness the famed Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, plus the evening’s “After Glow,” and spectacular fireworks. Then travel Route 66 through the Petrified Forest, Painted Desert and spend two nights Flagstaff. Then tour the magnificient Grand Canyon before your scenic drive back to Phoenix exploring Oak Creek Canyon, and Sedona along the way.
Southern Music & Dixieland Tour 12 Days
Join other NARFE members departing October 12, 2012
Start in Atlanta with a city tour including many of the city’s famous landmarks. Then head south to Mobile, AL, followed by New Orleans for the next three days with guided sightseeing and an optional Jazz Dinner Cruise on the Mississippi River. Be sure not to miss the French Quarter, Royal Street’s antique shops or art galleries. Then your tour continues to Memphis a mecca for music fans. Visit Elvis’ birthplace with a day trip to Tupelo, MS; and a tour of Graceland. Then travel to the “World Country Music Capital” in Nashville. Visit the Ryman Auditorium; enjoy an included show at the Grand Ole Opry and spend time exploring Nashville with an optional excursion of the “Nashville Sights.” Then on your trip back to Atlanta, stop for a tour of the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in the center of “dry county”; the city of Chattanooga; and visit the “World of Coca Cola” before departing for home.
*Price per person, based on double occupancy. Airfare is extra.
Call for details & itinerary 7 days a week:
By Donna J. St. John Assistant Editor
FROM ICE AGE FOSSILS to cliff dwellings, fur
trader cabins to colonial meeting houses and plantations, and Gold Rush towns to the homes of presidents, the United States is steeped in history. Whether it’s in your own or a nearby state, or in a part of the country you have never before visited, think about taking a different kind of vacation this year – one that will allow you to experience a bit of our nation’s history. Below is a state-by-state listing, with a suggested site to whet your travel appetite.
OZARK FOLK C E NTER STATE PARK. Ozark heritage is preserved here, where you can see blacksmithing, pottery-making, and other pioneer skills and crafts, and participate in workshops. Visit historic downtown Mountain View, the “Folk Music Capital of the World.”
ALABAMA THE CIVIL RIGHTS MEMORIAL. This memorial in
Montgomery honors the achievements and memory of those who died during the struggle for racial equality. The Civil Rights Memorial Center, adjacent to the Memorial, features exhibits and the Wall of Tolerance.
ALASKA KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK. Created to commemorate the history of the Gold Rush, this national park offers historic district walking tours of Skagway, and day trips through Gold Rush towns on the White Pass and Yukon Railroad.
CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO. Museums at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and the center of Old Town San Diego showcase California history. San Diego is considered the “birthplace” of California.
COLORADO THE CANYONS OF THE ANCIENTS NATIONAL MONUMENT. The highest known density of prehistoric archaeological sites in the United States is preserved here. Many artifacts are housed in the Anasazi Heritage Center, which also maintains two 12th-century archaeological sites.
ARIZONA TONTO NATIONAL MONUMENT. Learn about the lives of the Salado Indians who inhabited cliff dwellings between the 14th and 15th centuries. The national monument is a few miles from The Apache Trail and the shores of Theodore Roosevelt Lake.
Connecticut MYSTIC SEAPORT
Photo courtesy of Mystic Seaport
CONNECTICUT MYSTIC SEAPORT. The center of ship-
Florida ST. AUGUSTINE
TONTO NATION AL MONUMEN T
building since the 1600s, Mystic Seaport is the world’s largest maritime museum, with some 500 boats, including the country’s last wooden whale ship. Historic buildings recreate this coastal village.
DELAWARE FORT DELAWARE. Reach this former Union fortress by taking a ferry from Delaware City to Pea Patch Island. Costumed interpreters and exhibits recreate life in 1864. The state park also shelters a habitat for one of the largest wading-bird nesting areas on the East Coast.
FLORIDA ST. AUGUSTINE. The oldest, continually occupied city in the country boasts four centuries of Floridian and American history. Visit the Colonial Spanish Quarter, Castillo de San Marcos and other buildings bearing the imprint of the Spanish Empire.
GEORGIA SAVANNAH HISTORIC DISTRICT. Retaining much of James Oglethorpe’s (the founder of the Georgia colony) original city plan from 1733, Savannah is the site of many Revolutionary and Civil War battles. The Historic District is filled with city squares, historic homes and churches.
HAWAII PEARL HARBOR. Five historic sites honor the events of December 7, 1941. Learn about the historic attack at the Visitors Center and take a boat shuttle to the USS Arizona Memorial, built over the sunken hull of the battleship where more than 1,000 crewmen died.
IDAHO IDAHO STATE HISTORICAL MUSEUM. Learn about the story of Idaho from prehistoric times through the fur trade, the Gold Rush and pioneer settlements to the present at this Boise museum. Nearby are the Pioneer Village, and Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail.
ILLINOIS CHICAGO. Get an unparalleled view of the city’s architecture on a Chicago Architecture Foundation river cruise. Also available are architectural bus and walking tours on such topics as the rise of the skyscraper and the art deco style.
INDIANA CON N E R P RAI RI E I NTE RACTIVE H I STORY PARK. Four themes are featured here: Lenape Camp and the lives of the Lenape Indians; William Conner Homestead, the home of the fur trader and statesman; ABOVE LEFT: Photo courtesy of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau; ABOVE RIGHT: Photo of cliff dwelling at Tonto National Monument courtesy of Rex Lavoie, National Park Service volunteer
Prairietown and life in 1836; and the 1859 Balloon Voyage, depicting the first air mail delivery.
IOWA THE AMANA COLONIES. One of America’s longestlived communal societies, the seven villages of the Amana Colonies retain the spirit of the Germans who settled here in the 1850s. Historical buildings and traditions of these early settlers are preserved.
KANSAS COWTOWN M U S EUM. Life on the Great Plains and in Wichita in the 1860s and 1870s is recreated at this living history museum. Historic buildings and re-enactments set the stage, and self-guided tours and wagon rides round out the experience.
KENTUCKY KENTUCKY HORSE PARK. Museums, rides on trolleys pulled by draft horses and a farrier shop are among the activities at this Lexington park. The International Museum of the Horse covers the animal’s 55-million-year history, and champion horses reside at the Hall of Champions.
LOUISIANA LONGFELLOW-EVANGELINE STATE HISTORIC SITE. French aristocrats fleeing the French Revolution and Acadians (Cajuns) expelled by the British from Nova Scotia settled in this area. An exhibit at the 1815 plantation house in St. Martinville traces the history of French-speaking cultures in the Bayou Teche.
MAINE PORTLAN D. Stroll along the cobblestone streets in Portland’s Historic Waterfront District. Visit the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company and Museum, and ride along the waterfront aboard antique rail cars pulled by steam and diesel locomotives. MACKINAC ISLAND
MARYLAND SURRATT HOUSE MUSEUM. The restored plantation home in Clinton was a safe house for the Confederate underground and home of Mary Surratt, executed for her role in the assassination of President Lincoln. The museum offers programs and events, and focuses on the assassination conspiracy.
MASSACHUSETTS T H E F R E E D O M T R A I L. Follow the history of America’s Revolution along Boston’s Freedom Trail, an indoor-outdoor history museum. Sixteen sites include museums, churches, meeting houses, burial ground, parks, a ship and historic markers.
MICHIGAN MACKI NAC ISLAND. The entire island is a National Historic Landmark and known for a variety of architectural styles, including the famous Victorian Grand Hotel. Mackinac Island State Park includes Fort Mackinac, the historic downtown and harbor.
MINNESOTA MINNEHAHA PARK. This Minneapolis park is home to several sculptures, including a bronze sculpture depicting Hiawatha and Minnehaha from Longfellow’s poem “Song of Hiawatha.” Also visit the Mill City Museum, which celebrates the history of the city’s mills and mill workers.
MISSISSIPPI ROWAN OAK. Visit the Greek Revival home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner in Oxford, the “literary center of the South.” Also visit the historic downtown square, and the Blues Archive and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.
MISSOURI HANNIBAL. Immortalized in the writings of Mark Twain (or Samuel Clemens), this town on the Mississippi is filled with history. Learn about Clemens’ surroundings at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, which includes the Huckleberry Finn House and Becky Thatcher House.
MONTANA LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD NATIONAL MONUMENT. This site commemorates the Battle of the Little Bighorn, or Custer’s Last Stand. Visit the cemetery and Indian Memorial, and the Custer Battlefield Museum in Garryowen (the former site of Sitting Bull’s camp). Photo courtesy of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
North Carolina BILTMORE ESTATE
NEBRASKA ASH FALL FOSSI L BEDS STATE HISTORICAL PARK. Visitors can see extinct animals preserved as they died at this state park where hundreds of animal skeletons are wrapped in ash thought to be 10 million years old. Watch paleontologists at work on new finds.
CARSON C ITY. Explore Nevada’s natural and cultural history at the Nevada State Museum and Mint. Take a selfguided walking tour on the Kit Carson Trail and ride a train at the Nevada State Railroad Museum.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATIONAL PARK. Bison freely roam the terrain of The Badlands. Take advantage of evening campfire presentations, nature walks, scenic drives and a tour of Roosevelt’s Maltese Cross Cabin.
THE PIERCE MANSE. Tour the Concord home of the 14th U.S. president, Franklin Pierce, featuring hands-on exhibits and guided tours. Also visit the New Hampshire State House, the oldest in continuous use in the country.
NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER. The story of slaves crossing the Ohio River to freedom is told at the Freedom Center in Cincinnati. With help from men and women of all backgrounds, a secret network of escape routes was created that came to be known as the Underground Railroad.
NEW JERSEY BURLINGTON HISTORIC DISTRICT. More than 40 historic sites are open to visitors. See the homes of AfricanAmerican Revolutionary War soldier Oliver Cromwell, Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant, author James Fenimore Cooper and naval hero Capt. James “Don’t Give Up the Ship” Lawrence.
THE BILTMORE ESTATE. The historic home of the Vanderbilts in Asheville lies in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The French Renaissance château, surrounded by gardens, is the largest privately owned residence in America.
OKLAHOMA PAWNEE B ILL RANCH. Once the showplace of Wild West Show entertainer Gordon W. “Pawnee Bill” Lillie, the ranch is home to bison, longhorn and draft horses. Tour the mansion and museum, with exhibits related to Pawnee Bill, Wild West Shows and the Pawnee Nation.
NEW MEXICO PECOS NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK. Pecos Pueblo and other ruins are preserved here. Other sites include the ruins of a Spanish Mission, Santa Fe Trail wagon ruts and nearby Arrowood Ruin. The park also includes sites of the Battle of Glorieta Pass, the westernmost battle of the Civil War.
OREGON JACKSONVILLE. This Gold Rush town, with buildings dating to the 1850s, takes you back to frontier days. Several restored buildings are open to the public, and a museum tells the history of the town, Oregon and the California Railroad.
NEW YORK ELLIS ISLAND. More than 12 million immigrants were processed at the country’s premier immigration station. The museum includes self-guided exhibits, artifacts, a Wall of Honor and a research center. For a look at how workingclass immigrants lived, visit the Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street in Manhattan. TOP LEFT: Photo courtesy of Drayton Hall; TOP RIGHT: Photo courtesy of the Biltmore Estate
PENNSYLVANIA GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK. The battle fought here was the turning point of the Civil War and site of President Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speech. Battle walks, campfire programs, and special events include living history groups and band concerts.
Texas THE ALAMO SAN ANTONIO
VERMONT RHODE ISLAND NEWPORT MANSIONS. Historic house museums trace America’s architecture from the Colonial through the Victorian era and the Gilded Age. Also see the art, interior design and gardens of these properties in the city that was America’s first resort.
SOUTH CAROLINA DRAYTON HALL. Drayton Hall in Charleston is regarded as the finest example of Georgian-Palladian architecture in the United States. It also is one of the only preRevolutionary War houses remaining in close to its original condition. Tour the house and the oldest documented African-American cemetery in the nation still in use today.
SOUTH DAKOTA THE MAMMOTH SITE OF HOT SPRINGS. Travel back to the Ice Age at the site of the world’s largest mammoth research facility. It is a working paleontological site and museum, with the largest concentration of woolly mammoths found where they were trapped and died.
SHELBURNE MUSEUM. See four centuries of art and culture at this museum in a village-like setting of historic New England architecture. Shelburne houses the finest museum collection of 19th-century American folk art.
VIRGINIA STAU NTON. Home of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, this Shenandoah Valley town is a showcase of Victorian architecture. Also visit the Museum of American Frontier Culture, which tells the story of early immigrants through exhibits and re-creations of their farmsteads.
WASHINGTON PIONEER SQUARE. Seattle’s oldest neighborhood features cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages. Visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, a museum dedicated to the Yukon Gold Rush, and take the Underground Tour for a hint of “Old Seattle.”
THE HERMITAGE. The home of President Andrew Jackson in Nashville has been restored to its 1837 appearance. A visit includes costumed historical interpreters, self-guided tours and horse-drawn wagon tours.
HARPERS FERRY. Site of events that greatly influenced our history, Harpers Ferry witnessed the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery and the largest surrender of federal troops during the Civil War. Join a ranger-guided tour and visit the town’s historic district.
TH E ALAMO. This former mission is the site of a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Learn about 300 years of history at the Shrine and Long Barrack Museum, and visit San Antonio’s nearby River Walk.
MADELINE ISLAND. The largest of the Apostle Islands Archipelago in Lake Superior, Madeline Island was inhabited by Chippewa and other tribes, French explorers, fur traders and missionaries. A museum, historic buildings and The Heritage Center bring the island’s history to life.
UTAH MONUMENT VALLEY NAVAJO TRIBAL PARK. Experience the land of the Navajo in this 16-million acre Navajo Nation. Tour with Navajo guides and discover the buttes, mesas, canyons and rock formations, including one named after director John Ford, who filmed several movies here.
WYOMING CODY. The eastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park, the town was founded by “Buffalo Bill” (Colonel William F. Cody) and is a symbol of the old American West. Visit the Historical Center and attend a rodeo. ■
TOP LEFT: Photo courtesy of The Alamo, San Antonio; TOP RIGHT: Photo courtesy of the Staunton Convention & Visitors Bureau
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Guarding Against IdentityTheft By Mark A. Keen, CFP®
n a matter of a few days, I received several email scams designed to steal personal information from me. Identity theft is quickly becoming an epidemic, and it’s more important than ever to be vigilant about protecting your personal information. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, more than eight million people were victimized in 2010 alone, resulting in $37 billion in damages. Back in the day, we had only to worry about a thief’s rudimentary tactics, such as dumpster diving for account statements, snatching wallets and purses, or stealing mail from mailboxes. But as the adoption of online services, such as email, online banking and online shopping, grows exponentially, thieves are turning to cyberspace to make a living. Rather than hitting the streets to steal a lady’s handbag, thieves can now sit back in their favorite chair and drink a cold one while stealing millions from unsuspecting victims. The world of cyberspace is a bit like the Wild West; and, if you aren’t technically savvy, you can get ripped off faster than Billy the Kid drawing his six-shooter. Although merchants, banks and other financial institutions continue to spend millions on beefing up their online security, cyber thieves know that they simply have to exploit the weakest link – you and me. Cyber thieves use a wide range of sneaky tactics to dupe their victims. One popular tactic, called “phishing,” involves using email to trick people into visiting counterfeit websites and asking them to log in and provide sensitive information. Phishing emails may contain links to phony websites, or they may
simply persuade people to share their personal or financial information by using clever or compelling language. The email scams I received were of the phishing variety and appeared to come from legitimate sources: The Internal Revenue Service, the Better Business Bureau and NACHA (The Electronic Payments Association). In all three cases, there was a link in the email directing me to a bogus website. Cyber thieves also use viruses, spyware and “Trojan horses” to gain access to their victim’s computer, allowing them to steal personal information. Cyber thieves will always create new ways to deceive us, but here are a few things you can do to thwart their efforts: 1. When logging on to a financial institution’s website, always make sure that the site’s web address matches the name exactly. Type one wrong letter or character in the web address, and you could end up on a counterfeit website designed to look like the real thing. Also, make sure that the padlock indicating that the site is secure and encrypted is visible when transmitting sensitive information. 2. Only use secure computers whenever you are transmitting personal and sensitive information. Do not use the local coffee shop’s wireless network to do anything where sensitive information will be transmitted. Those are unsecured networks, and the person next to you could be stealing your information while sipping a latte.
3. Be skeptical of any email. Never open an email from an unknown sender, and certainly don’t open any attachments or click on any links within the email. Don’t even open files or click on links from emails coming from known senders without first verifying their validity with the sender. 4. Keep antivirus and antispyware software up to date. Even if you are vigilant and take precautionary measures, a crook may still gain access to your information. To minimize damage and catch any fraudulent activity early, monitor your credit reports regularly. This is easy to do as federal law requires each of the three credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. You can obtain your free report by calling 877-3228228 or visiting www. annualcreditreport.com. You also can monitor your credit reports three times per year by ordering one free report from one of the companies every four months. Or if you prefer to have someone else do the work, there are companies that will continuously monitor your credit reports and immediately notify you of any activity. You’re also entitled to a free report any time a company denies your application for credit, insurance or employment, and you request your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the denial. You also can buy a copy of your report directly from the three credit reporting companies. If you suspect that personal data has
CYBER THIEVES use a wide range of sneaky tactics to dupe their victims.
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
been compromised – for example, you lost your wallet or fell for a phishing scam – you can place an initial fraud alert on your credit report by calling any one of the three credit reporting companies. You only need to contact one of the three because the company you call is required to contact the other two. An initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days and requires potential creditors to use “reasonable policies and procedures” to verify your identity before issuing credit. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft and provide the credit reporting company with an Identity Theft Report, you can have an extended fraud alert placed on your account. The alert stays on your credit report for seven years and requires a potential creditor to actually contact you before issuing credit.
NARFE | FEBRUARY 2012
Many states also allow consumers to place a “freeze” on their credit, which prevents creditors and third parties from accessing your credit report. This means that, if you wanted to apply for credit, you would have to lift the freeze temporarily and then re-freeze the account once you have obtained credit. Unlike fraud alerts, which are free, placing a freeze on your account can run anywhere from $10 to $20 (placing a freeze is typically free for identity theft victims). Also, you must place the freeze with all three credit reporting agencies, paying the fee to each one. For more information on how to protect yourself and what to do if you become a victim, two good resources are: www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/ idtheft and www.onguardonline.gov. Identity theft can be costly, and the
process for recovering from it can go on for months. Take every step that you can to protect yourself.
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: email@example.com.
he Internet address for the U.S. Mint is www.usmint.gov. An incorrect address appeared in the January issue. NARFEregretstheerror.
Pacemakers:HowThey HelpYou By Marilyn S. Radke, M.D.
pacemaker is a small electrical device that is placed just under the skin in the chest or abdomen to treat an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). An arrhythmia occurs when the heart beats too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or with an irregular pattern or rhythm. A pacemaker uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate and rhythm. An arrhythmia may prevent the heart from pumping enough blood through the body. This may cause tiredness (fatigue), shortness of breath, fainting, organ damage or death, if the arrhythmia is severe. The most common reasons doctors recommend pacemakers are bradycardia and heart block. Heart block occurs when an electrical signal is slowed or disrupted as it moves through the heart. This disorder can result from aging, damage to the heart from a heart attack, muscular dystrophy, and other nerve and muscle disorders, or other conditions that interfere with the heart’s electrical activity. Your heart has an internal electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of your heartbeat. An electrical signal normally begins in a group of cells called the sinoatrial node and then spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump
blood with each heartbeat. The heart’s two upper chambers (atria) contract and pump blood into the heart’s two lower chambers (ventricles). The ventricles then contract and pump blood to the lungs and the rest of the body. This combined contraction of the atria and ventricles is the heartbeat. The following tests may be used to diagnose an arrhythmia: • Electrocardiogram (EKG) – a simple, painless test records the heart’s electrical activity; • Holter monitor – a special EKG monitor records the heart’s electrical activity for 24 to 48 hours during normal daily activity; • Event monitor – a Holter monitor is worn for one to two months or as long as needed to record the heart’s electrical activity during symptoms; • Echocardiogram (echo) – sound waves create a moving picture of the heart to show its size, shape, chambers and valves; • Electrophysiology study – a thin, flexible wire is passed through a vein in the patient’s groin (upper thigh) or arm to the heart to stimulate it and record the heart’s electrical signals; and • Stress test – the patient exercises (or receives medication) to make the heart work hard and beat fast while heart tests (EKG or echo) are done. A pacemaker consists of a thin metal box containing a battery and a
computerized generator, and wires with sensors (electrodes) on one end that connect to the heart. When the electrodes detect an abnormal heart rhythm, the computer directs the generator in the pacemaker to send electrical signals through the wires to the heart to correct its rhythm. The pacemaker also records the heart’s electrical activity and rhythm. The doctor uses these recordings and an external device to program the pacemaker’s computer and adjust the pacemaker as needed. Rate-responsive pacemakers continually monitor the heart rhythm, blood temperature, breathing rate and other factors, and adjust the heart rate to changes in the person’s activity. Placing a pacemaker is minor surgery that usually requires staying overnight in a hospital. The risks of pacemaker surgery include: • Swelling, bleeding, bruising or infection in the area where the pacemaker was placed; • Blood vessel or nerve damage;
A PACEMAKER uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate and rhythm.
To Learn More
or more information, write to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Health Information Center, P.O. Box 30105, Bethesda, MD 20824-0105; or call 301-592-8573 (TTY: 240-629-3255); or visit the website at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
va G REE lue IF da T t$ 35
Marilyn S. Radke, M.D., is board certified in preventive medicine and practices in Atlanta, GA.
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• A collapsed lung; and • A bad reaction to the medication used during the surgery. Individuals who have a pacemaker need to avoid the following devices, procedures and activities that can disrupt the pacemaker’s performance, including: • Cell phones and MP3 players (iPods); • Household appliances (microwave ovens); • High-tension wires; • Metal detectors; • Industrial welders; • Electrical generators; • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); • Shock-wave lithotripsy to remove kidney stones; • Electrocauterization to stop bleeding during surgery; and • Full-contact sports, such as football. A pacemaker needs to be checked at the doctor’s office several times a year. Some pacemaker functions can be checked through a telephone call or a computer connection to the Internet. Pacemaker batteries last an average of six to seven years, and their wires may need to be replaced eventually. If you have an arrhythmia, a pacemaker may relieve your symptoms of fatigue and fainting, and help you resume a more active lifestyle.
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Civil Service Career Coach
Preparing for a RIF By Dale S. Brown
gencies are under pressure to cut costs. Civil servants are under constant attack. Federal employees are fearful of a reduction in force (RIF). What should you be doing now in case your fears are valid? If there is a RIF, what will happen? Can you get another federal job if you are let go from your agency? To get answers to these questions, the Civil Service Career Coach interviewed Nancy H. Segal, owner, Solutions for the Workplace. Segal is a wellknown expert on federal employment who has coached hundreds of employees.
HOW TO PREPARE? “The first thing you should do,” Segal says, is to “start updating your résumé. You need a strong and competitive résumé that includes accomplishments. Get it out there before a crush of people start applying.” Many agencies offer Career Transition Services to help you write your résumé, assess your skills, find job openings and help you practice interviews. To protect their current job, Segal suggests that employees assure that their personnel file is correct and complete. “Situate yourself appropriately. Be sure that all of your years of service are reflected, including Peace Corps service, military service and time served at other agencies. Otherwise, your name might be lower-ranked, and you’ll be let go when you could have stayed.” Segal also suggests doing some basic financial planning: know your retirement rights, your severance pay,
your health insurance options and other benefits information.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A RIF? “Different agencies approach RIFs in different ways,” Segal explains. “The minimum notice is 60 days.” Some agencies may close regions, offices or functions, according to Segal. Other
ployee Resources and then “The Employee Guide to Reduction in Force Benefits” and other links for the most accurate information.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU ARE LET GO? What can an employee do if he or she is let go? “You can appeal,” Segal
THE FIRST thing you should do if you are facing a RIF is to start updating your résumé.Get it out there before a crush of people start applying. agencies may announce a RIF a few years in advance, accomplish it through attrition and try to place people in other jobs. According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), first, the agency sets up a “competitive area,” which is the part of the agency that is affected by the RIF. The agency then groups interchangeable positions of the same grade and job classifications into “competitive levels.” Employees in these positions are listed on retention registers, which rank employees by criteria such as veterans’ status, years of service and performance ratings. The agency then determines which employees have the right to “bump” or displace employees with a lower retention standing in a different competitive level. More detail is available at OPM’s Reduction in Force Resources Portal, www.opm.gov/ Reduction_In_Force/. Click on Em-
says. “It does not stay the action or slow it down. But sometimes, people win,” she adds. “You could argue that the competitive area was wrong, or that there was a flawed analysis. If it’s a wholesale RIF, and the agency is closing an entire region, it’s kind of hard to say that you were singled out. But if the agency is eliminating a four-person program, then you might have a case.” Segal also mentions the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides psychological counseling to employees and their families. “Look for it on your agency Intranet,” she suggests. “The EAP is a huge plus.”
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS? You will receive priority consideration for vacancies within your agency and with other federal agencies. The programs, which are also described in OPM’s Reduction in Force Resources FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
Co N nt o ra ct
sy e Ea Us to
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recycle NARFE “I caught the NARFE magazine while in the YMCA last week for my daily exercise. To be honest, I took the magazine home with me and read it thoroughly. I’ll be joining NARFE shortly!”
Pass It On!
NARFE | FEBRUARY 2012
“Well, I finally did it. I finally decided to enter the digital age and get a cell phone. My kids have been bugging me, my book group made fun of me, and the last straw was when my car broke down, and I was stuck by the highway for an hour before someone stopped to help. But when I went to the cell phone store, I almost changed my mind. The phones are so small I can’t see the numbers, much less push the right one. They all have cameras, computers and a “global-positioning” something or other that’s supposed to spot me from space. Goodness, all I want to do is to be able to talk to my grandkids! The people at the store weren’t much help. They couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want a phone the size of a postage stamp. And the rate plans! They were complicated, confusing, and expensive…and the contract lasted for two years! I’d almost given up until a friend told me about her new Jitterbug® phone. Now, I have the convenience and safety of being able to stay in touch…with a phone I can actually use.” Sometimes I think the people who designed this phone and the rate plans had me in mind. The phone fits easily in my pocket, and it flips open to reach from my mouth to my ear. The display is large and backlit, so I can actually see who is calling. With a push of a button I can amplify the volume, and if I don’t know a number, I can simply push “0” for a friendly, helpful operator that will look it up and even dial it for me. The Jitterbug also reduces background noise, making the sound loud and clear. There’s even a dial tone, so I know the phone is ready to use.
Aﬀordable plans that I can understand – and no contract to sign! Unlike other cell phones, Jitterbug has plans that make sense. Why should I pay for minutes I’m never going to use? And if I do talk more than I plan, I won’t find myself with no minutes like my friend who has a prepaid phone. Best of all, there is no contract to sign – so I’m not locked in for years at a time or subject to termination fees. The U.S. Based customer service is second to none, and the phone gets service virtually anywhere in the country. Monthly Minutes Monthly Rate Operator Assistance 911 Access Long Distance Calls Voice Dial Nationwide Coverage Friendly Return Policy1
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Portal, are called CTAP (Career Transition Assistance Plan), PPP (Priority Placement Program) and ICTAP (Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program). Qualified, eligible employees affected by RIFs receive selection priority over almost any other applicant who is outside of the agency. You must apply for a job at your grade level or below in your commuting area. Include proof that you are going to be RIFed. To receive priority, you must be rated as wellqualified or best-qualified. Does CTAP or ICTAP actually help employees? Segal says, “Given all of the automated systems in place now, it’s harder to get around CTAP or ICTAP.” In short, if you think you might be facing a RIF, start a job search now. Check your personnel file to be sure it’s correct and complete, and carefully review the information on OPM’s Reduction in Force Resources Portal. By taking the time to prepare now, you are putting yourself in the best position possible to face a RIF.
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 © 2011 GreatCall, Inc. Copyright © 2011 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All rights reserved.
Questions & Answers NOTE: The following Questions & Answers were compiled by Retirement Benefits Service Department staff. These are real questions received by the Department and real answers, 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 members contact an attorney, financial planner or certified public accountant/tax adviser.
ACTIVE EMPLOYEES SURVIVOR’S BENEFITS QUESTION: My husband is a current government employee and has been in and out of the hospital with a terminal illness.Can I receive benefits if I am the surviving spouse of someone who died while working for the federal government? Response: If you are the surviving spouse of a deceased employee, recurring monthly payments may be made to you if your spouse completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service and was covered under the Civil Service Retirement System. To qualify for the monthly benefit, you must have been married to the employee for at least nine months. A survivor’s annuity may still be payable if the employee’s death occurred before nine months if the death were accidental, or if there were a
child born of your marriage to the employee. If you are the surviving spouse of a deceased employee who was covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), you may be eligible for one or both of the following benefits: Basic Employee Death Benefit • If the employee who died completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service; and • The employee who died was covered by FERS when he or she died; and • You were married to the employee for at least nine months. If the death were accidental, or if there were a child born of your marriage to the employee, the nine-month requirement would not apply. Monthly Benefit • If the employee who died completed at least 10 years of creditable service (18 months of which must be creditable civilian service); and • The employee who died was covered by FERS when he or she died; and • You were married to the employee for at least nine months. If the death were accidental, or if there were a child born of your marriage to the employee, the nine-month requirement would not apply.
time student at an accredited institution of learning. Children who meet the requirements as disabled can continue to receive benefits after reaching age 18 if they are incapable of self-support because of a disability that began before age 18.
FEGLI QUESTION: I have Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) and want to know how my wife would go about filing a claim for life insurance benefits when I die? Response: Whether an employee or a retiree, it is the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that would mail applications to eligible beneficiaries for FEGLI life insurance proceeds. If you have valid designation of beneficiary forms on file, life insurance claim applications would be sent to those individuals listed on your life insurance beneficiary forms. If there are no current designation of beneficiary forms on file, OPM would send life insurance claim applications, using the order of precedence, that is, spouse; if none, then children; etc. Normally, there should be no reason for your wife to contact OPM regarding life insurance claim forms. However, if she wants to do so, she could contact OPM at 888-7676738 when the time comes. You should ensure that there is a signed, validated copy of your designation of beneficiary forms readily available with your other important papers, and show your wife where these documents are located so that she would be able to readily access them.
DISABLED CHILD QUESTION: My husband and I have just had a child born with Down syndrome, and we are concerned about what will happen to his care if we should predecease him. Response: A child of a deceased federal employee is eligible for monthly survivor’s benefits up until age 18, or until age 22 if the child is enrolled as a full-
TRICARE RATES QUESTION: What are the TRICARE FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
Questions & Answers Reserve Select (TRS) rates for 2012, and have there been any changes? Response: TRS premium rates are established annually on a calendar-year basis. You are required to pay the monthly premiums if you decide to enroll in TRS. In 2011, member-only premiums were $53.16 per month, and memberand-family premiums were $197.76 per month. In 2012, member-only premiums are $54.35 per month, and member-and-family premiums are $192.89 per month. Premiums can be paid by check, money order or cashier’s check (payable to Health Net Federal Services), or by Visa/MasterCard. Health Net will bill you by the 10th of each month. Payments are due no later than the 30th of each month, and payments are applied to the following month of coverage. You have several options for paying your monthly premiums: • Electronic fund transfer/automatic bank withdrawal; • Automatic credit/debit card withdrawal; and • Direct billing. You need to coordinate with Health Net to establish your payment method. Failure to pay premiums by the due date will result in termination of coverage, effective the last day of the month last paid and a one-year purchase lockout.
FAMILY MEMBER DEFINITION QUESTION:I have never been able to get an answer about who is included as a family member for my Federal Employees Health Benefits Program family coverage. Response: Eligible family members for family health benefits coverage purposes include an enrollee’s: • Spouse; • Unmarried dependent children
NARFE SERVICE OFFICERS are available to answer questions and to assist in 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, www.narfe.org.
under age 26, including legally adopted children and recognized natural (born out-of-wedlock) children; • Unmarried dependent stepchildren and foster children (including foster children who are also your grandchildren) under age 26, if they live with the enrollee in a regular parent-child relationship; and • Unmarried dependent children age 26 or older who are incapable of self-support because of physical or mental incapacity that existed before their 26th birthday.
BUYOUT AND FEHBP QUESTION:My agency might offer a buyout,but I haven’t been able to find information about the participation requirements for Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) plans when it comes to a waiver for employees retiring with a buyout. Response: Federal employees worried about retiring with a buyout because they do not meet the five-year enrollment requirement of the FEHBP should be aware that the Office of Personnel Management adopted a new policy enabling employees who retire with buyouts under the Federal Workforce Restructuring Act of 1994, and other similar legislation, to continue their health insurance into retirement even if they have not been enrolled for a full five-year period prior to retirement. However, each early retirement authority specifies a date that the individual must have been enrolled in an
FEHBP plan in order to qualify for the automatic waiver of the five-year coverage rule. You should check with your agency human resources office or retirement counselor to make sure that you are eligible to continue your health benefits enrollment if you retire early.
TIME-OFF AWARD QUESTION:Can a time-off award be transferred if I leave one agency and accept a position with another agency? Response: Unlike other forms of pay for time not worked, e.g., annual and sick leave, employees are not entitled to a time-off award. If an employee transfers from one agency to another, the gaining agency is not obligated to “honor” the time-off award. Therefore, any unused time-off awards are not transferable, unless a special arrangement is made with the receiving agency to honor the time-off award granted by the employee’s former agency. Also, the losing agency may not convert the time off to cash and give that cash to the employee. If you have a time-off award and are retiring, you should check with your agency to see if you would be able to convert it to cash.
RETIREES FEGLI QUESTION:What are the different options for Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) benefits? Response: In addition to Basic insurFEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
The invention of the year is great news for your ears
MEDICARE PART D QUESTION:I retired with 32 years of federal service. My wife and I have Medicare Parts A and B,plus health insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). My wife and I currently have only two prescriptions that we need filled. Would it be worthwhile to consider enrolling in Medicare Part D prescription coverage? Response: The Office of Personnel Management has determined that the prescription drug coverage offered by plans participating in the FEHBP is, on average, comparable to Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. For many individuals, this means that paying the additional premium for Part D coverage isn’t cost-effective. However, if you are paying a lot out-of-pocket each year for prescription drugs, check out some Part D plans to see if the additional costs provide more savings to you in a year. Medicare says that the average monthly premium for a Part D plan will be about $30 in 2012, so that’s another NARFE | FEBRUARY 2012
Perfect Choice HD™ is easy to use, hard to see and costs far less than hearing aids… it’s like reading glasses for your ears™!
New Personal Sound Amplification Product is an affordable alternative Over the years, technology has made the way we live easier, safer and more convenient. In many cases, it’s even made many products more affordable… (remember how much the first VCRs used to cost?). Unfortunately, the cost of hearing aids never seemed to come down. Now, a new alternative has been invented… it’s called Perfect Choice HD™.
“Reading glasses for your ears” Perfect Choice HD is NOT a hearing aid. Hearing aids can only be sold by an audiologist. In order to get a hearing aid, you had to go to the doctor’s office for a battery of tests and numerous fitting appointments. Once they had you tested and fitted, you would have to pay as much as $5000 for the product. Now, thanks to the efforts of the doctor who leads a renowned hearing
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ear… only you’ll know you have it on. It’s comfortable and won’t make you feel like you have something stuck in your ear. It provides high quality audio so sounds and conversations Perfect Choice HD vs Traditional Hearing Aids will be easier to hear Perfect Choice HD Traditional Hearing Aids and understand.
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institute, there is Perfect Choice HD. It’s designed to accurately amplify sounds and deliver them to your ear. Because we’ve developed an efficient production process, we can make a great product at an affordable price. The unit has been designed to have an easily accessible battery, but it is small and lightweight enough to hide behind your
Try it for yourself with our exclusive Few home trial. Some Few people need hearing aids but many just Yes need the extra boost as much as $5000 in volume that a PSAP gives them. We rarely want you to be happy with Perfect Choice HD, so we are offering to let you try it for yourself. If you are not totally satisfied with this product, simply return it within 60 days for a refund of the full product purchase price. Don’t wait… don’t miss out on another conversation… call now!
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1-877-476-4395 Perfect Choice HD is not a hearing aid. If you believe you need a hearing aid, please consult a physician.
ance, there are three types of optional insurance: Option A, Option B and Option C. • Option A: You can elect $10,000 in addition to Basic insurance; this also is called Standard Optional insurance. • Option B: Coverage equal to one, two, three, four or five multiples of your annual basic rate of pay, which you can elect in addition to Basic insurance. This also is called Additional Optional insurance. • Option C: Coverage to insure your spouse and eligible child(ren), which you can elect in addition to Basic insurance. You can elect one, two, three, four or five multiples (each multiple equals $5,000 for a spouse and $2,500 for an eligible child). This also is called Family Optional insurance.
Questions & Answers $360 out-of-pocket yearly. Part D premiums also are pegged to income levels, so you might be paying a higher premium based on your federal tax return from two years prior to enrolling. There also are co-payments and coinsurance under most Part D plans. As with all Medicare coverage, a Medicare Part D plan would be your primary coverage, and your FEHBP plan would be secondary.
SURVIVOR’S BENEFIT AND CSRS OFFSET QUESTION: Are my benefits figured differently if my spouse,a deceased retiree, had been covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset program? Response: The survivor’s annuity payable to the spouse of a deceased retiree who was covered by the CSRS Offset program is computed in the same manner as the annuity for the spouse of a deceased annuitant with full CSRS coverage. However, if you are the surviving spouse of a deceased retiree who was covered by the CSRS Offset, your annuity would be reduced if you are eligible for Social Security benefits based on the deceased annuitant’s federal service. If Social Security survivor’s benefits are payable: • You would receive full CSRS benefits until you become entitled to Social Security survivor’s benefits, generally at age 60. However, benefits may begin earlier if you are disabled or care for a minor child. • When you become entitled to Social Security survivor’s benefits, your CSRS survivor’s annuity would be reduced by the amount of the Social Security benefit that is attributable to the deceased’s employment under CSRS Offset coverage. The reduction begins on the first day of the month in which
NARFE now offers an online retirement calculator and other financial planning tools for members only.Find out more about this new membership benefit at www.narfe.org.
you are entitled to the CSRS Offset annuity and eligible, upon application, for Social Security survivor’s benefits.
BENEFIT DETERMINATION QUESTION: How is the amount of my benefit as a surviving spouse determined? My spouse retired under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Response: The maximum annuity for a spouse who survives a CSRS annuitant is 55 percent of the annuitant’s benefit before it is reduced by the cost of the election to provide the survivor’s benefit. The survivor’s annuity will be less if the annuitant elected at retirement to provide less than the maximum benefit. For example, if an annuitant whose unreduced annual benefit is $31,003.24 elected to provide the maximum benefit, the survivor’s annuity would equal $31,003.24 x 55 percent = $17,051.78.
FEHBP FAMILY COVERAGE QUESTION: Currently, my Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) coverage is Standard, selfonly.I am planning to be married in a few months.My fiancé,who also is a retired federal employee, currently is covered under a Basic, family option (he has a daughter who is age 24). Based on this information,will I be able to switch my coverage to the family option after my marriage?Will the family option also cover my new spouse’s daughter until her 26th birthday?
Response: When you have a change in family status, including a change in marital status, you may enroll, change from self-only to family, or change from one plan or option to another. You must submit your enrollment change from 31 days before to 60 days after the change in family status. If you have family enrollment, you should not complete a new health benefits election form (SF 2809). You should contact the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at 888-767-6738 and provide information on the new family member. Eligible family members are your: • Spouse; • Unmarried dependent child(ren) until age 26 (including an adopted child, stepchild, foster child and recognized natural child); and • Child(ren) age 26 or older who are incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before reaching age 26. OPM can provide additional details about family member eligibility, including any certification or documentation that may be required for coverage. Family member eligibility under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program is not the same as for the FEHBP.
DISABILITY BENEFITS QUESTION: Can I receive disability benefits from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the U.S.Department of Labor,Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP), at FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
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Response: Generally, you must decide which benefit is most advantageous for you and elect to receive that one. If you decide that you want to receive OWCP benefits, payments from OPM would be suspended. But if your OWCP benefits stop, you can ask OPM to pay your disability benefit. You can receive an OWCP Scheduled Award (due to a permanent impairment of certain body parts or functions, such as loss of use of an eye or a leg), and OPM benefits at the same time. Contact OPM if you are awarded workers’ compensation benefits, and see if you need to make an election between benefits.
DISABILITY EXAMS QUESTION: I am drawing disability. Do I need to get periodic medical examinations in order to keep my disability benefit? Response: When the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approves your application for disability retirement, it may determine that, based on your medical condition, you will periodically have to provide OPM with current medical information in order to continue receiving benefits. If you do not fulfill the request for evidence of continuing disability, it is likely that your benefit payments could be suspended until your continuing eligibility is established. You would be responsible for the costs associated with any medical evidence required by OPM.
To obtain an answer to a retirement benefits question, call 703-838-7760 and ask for the Retirement Benefits Service Department; send your question by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Retirement Benefits; or submit it by email to email@example.com. NARFE | FEBRUARY 2012
Introducing the Walk-In Tub made by Jacuzzi®,the safe, pleasurable and affordable way to reduce daily aches and pains through hydrotherapy. hese days, more and more people who suffer from aches, pains and stiffness are trying to treat themselves with pills, creams and ointments. Not me. When I want to feel better, I don’t open my medicine cabinet, I open the door of my Jacuzzi Walk-In Tub. In a short time, I’m soaking away my pain and experiencing the luxurious, pain-relieving benefits of true hydrotherapy. Jacuzzi basically invented hydrotherapy and now they’ve made it accessible and affordable for people like me. Unlike traditional bathtubs, our Designed for Seniors™ Walk-In Tub features a leakproof door that allows you to simply step into the tub rather than stepping precariously over the side. It features a state-of-the-art acrylic surface, a raised seat and the controls are within easy
How it all began… In 1956, the Jacuzzi brothers responded to a family member’s need for pain relieving hydrotherapy. Their ingenuity and knowledge of hydraulics led to the creation of a portable hydrotherapy pump. The J-300 would turn any normal bath tub into a relaxing, rejuvenating hydrotherapeutic spa. Jacuzzi quickly became a household name; known to this day for quality products and reliable pain relief.
reach. No other Walk-In Tub features the patented Jacuzzi® PointProTM jet system. These high-volume, low-pressure pumps feature a perfectly balanced water to air ratio to massage thoroughly yet gently. Some swirl, some spiral, some deliver large volumes of water and others target specific pressure points. They are all arranged in precise locations designed to deliver a therapeutic massage, yet they are fully adjustable so that your bathing experience can be completely unique. Why spend another day wishing you could enjoy the luxury and pain-relieving benefits of a safe, comfortable bath. Call now and you’ll get a unsurpassed limited lifetime warranty on the Designed for Seniors Walk-In tub from Jacuzzi. Knowledgeable product experts are standing by to help you learn more about this product. Call Today!
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NARFE News NARFE Opens 2012 Scholarship Competition
ith the publication of the application form in this issue of NARFE magazine, the 2012 NARFE Scholarship Competition opens. The scholarship form appears on the facing page, p. 43. It also will run in the next two issues. In addition, the form will be available to members February 1 on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. The competition is open to all children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and stepchildren of current NARFE members. A total of 60 scholarships of $1,000 each will be awarded, six in each of NARFE’s 10 regions. Deadline for receipt of the application is April 27, 2012. The essay judged to be the best from all regional winners will be featured in NARFE magazine. Winners will be notified by August 31. Their names will be published in the December 2012 issue of the magazine.
Scholarships are made possible by donations to the NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund, which is administered by
the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund. To donate to the fund, see coupon below. ■
NARFE Welcomes New OPM Retirement Chief Kenneth Zawodny
ARFE recently extended a welcome to Kenneth J. Zawodny Jr., the new associate director in charge of Retirement Services at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). In a meeting with David Snell, director of NARFE’s Retirement Benefits Service Departnent, Zawodny said that OPM is adding 56 new case workers to OPM’s Zawodny, left, meets with NARFE’s David Snell. clear up its retirement case backlog, and expressed his commitment to serving federal employees and retirees. “We work every day to honor their service as retirees or future retirees,” he said. Snell pledged that NARFE will continue to work closely with the OPM Retirement Services staff.
NARFE-FEEA PROGRAM FUND CONTRIBUTION FORM
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.
NARFE-FEEA Disaster Fund NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund
Amount $ Amount $
Make check payable to: NARFE-FEEA Disaster Fund or NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund. Please mail coupon and check to:
YOUR CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE TO THE FULLEST EXTENT ALLOWED BY LAW.
3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300 Lakewood, CO 80227
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
✄ Cut Along Dotted Line ✄
2012 Scholarship Application Applicants: • Must be high school seniors planning to attend an accredited college full-time in the fall/winter of 2012. • Must have a grade point average of at least 3.0 on an unweighted 4.0 scale. • Must be sponsored by a parent, grandparent or greatgrandparent who is a current NARFE member. (Step parents, step grandparents, etc., can also sponsor.) Sponsor must be living at the time application is submitted. • Must provide your email address on the application. Your application receipt will be sent to this email address; please add “firstname.lastname@example.org” to your address book. • Must provide the following materials in your application packet: ❏ Official 2012 NARFE scholarship application. Photocopies are acceptable. ❏ Full transcript, including fall/winter 2011 grades. Report cards and photocopies are acceptable. If mailed separately by the school, must arrive by program deadline. ❏ Copies of ACT, SAT or other entrance examination scores. (Home-schooled students must provide equivalent of transcript and test scores as applicable.) ❏ List and brief description of any awards or volunteer/ community service activities (not to exceed two pages). ❏ Written recommendation from a teacher or counselor, on school or other official letterhead. ❏ One stamped, self-addressed #10 envelope ❏ Essay
Essay Information The essay must be typed, double-spaced, not more than two pages on the following topic: Recent crises have shown us that we live in a world more interconnected than ever before. What is the most positive attribute of American government that other nations can learn from us? What might we learn from other countries’ systems of government? All of the above materials (except transcript, if necessary) must be mailed in the same 9”x12” (or larger) envelope, postmarked no later than April 27, 2012, to: NARFE Scholarship Award, 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300, Lakewood, CO 80227. DO NOT FOLD MATERIALS. DO NOT USE STAPLES OR PAPER CLIPS. Please note: All materials submitted with the application will become the property of FEEA and will not be returned under any circumstances. If needed, make a copy of the information for yourself before mailing. A total of 60 scholarships of $1,000 each will be awarded. Applicants will be notified of the judges’ decision by the end of August. A list of winners and their NARFE sponsors will appear on the NARFE member website at www.narfe.org and will be published in the December issue of NARFE magazine. The NARFE Scholarship Program is administered by the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund (FEEA) and is made possible by your tax-deductible contributions to the NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund, 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300, Lakewood, CO 80227. For more information, obtain a copy of NARFE publication F-105, A Guide to NARFE’S Annual Scholarship Awards Program. To get your copy, send an email to email@example.com; download it from the NARFE website, www.narfe.org; or call Headquarters and ask for the Office of the National Vice President. The F-105 may also be ordered using the F-18.
Please complete the following. Incomplete applications and applications sent to NARFE Headquarters will not be considered. Student’s Name:______________________________________
I am taking college courses in high school: ❏ Yes
Complete Home Address:
NARFE Member’s Name: ______________________________
Relationship to Applicant:
❏ Mother ❏ Father ❏ Grandfather ❏ Grandmother
Home Telephone _____________________________________
NARFE Member No.: __________________________________ Email Address: _______________________________________ Applicant’s Grade Point Average (GPA): __________________ (Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on an unweighted 4.0 scale) College or University (planning to attend): ________________ ____________________________________________________ (Must be a college freshman by fall/winter 2012)
Chapter No.: ________________________________________ Member’s Complete Home Address: ____________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________ Member’s Telephone: _________________________________ Member’s Email address: ______________________________
All of the above materials (except transcript – if necessary) must be mailed, unfolded, in the same 9” x 12” (or larger) envelope postmarked no later than April 27, 2012, to: NARFE Scholarship Award, 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300, Lakewood, CO 80227 NO STAPLES OR PAPER CLIPS, AND DO NOT FOLD NARFE | FEBRUARY 2012
NARFE: Our Best Bet for the Future
32nd National Convention SPARKS-RENO, NV AUG 26-30, 2012
Proposed New Bylaws Available Online Now for Member Review By Paul Lamb, CP-T, PRP
he Bylaws Review Committee has been diligent in its efforts to provide NARFE members with a proposed set of Bylaws and Standing Rules to meet the organizationâ€™s needs. The proposal is available now for your review on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. To access the document, sign in as a member, then click on the National Convention logo. Each member is encouraged to read the document carefully and to provide
any comments to the Bylaws Review Committee via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 31. The committee must provide the final version in time for inclusion in the documents distributed to the delegates to the National Convention 60 days before the convention convenes in RenoSparks, NV, on August 26.
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
CONVENTION DEADLINES The following deadlines have been established for the 2012 Convention.Details on all of these deadlines and other convention information are available at www.narfe.org. Sign in as a member and click on the 2012 Convention logo. Candidate Statements: Beginning Feb.1 Committee Assignment Requests: March 1 Resolutions: No later than May 15
Parliamentarian (PRP) by the National Association of Parliamentarians.
orm F-3A, Proposed Convention Resolution, is available on the NARFE website. Because no resolutions proposing Bylaws changes will be accepted in light of the work of the Bylaws Review Committee,Form F-3C, Proposed Bylaw/Standing Rule Amendment,is not posted.Resolutions must be submitted by May 15.
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 www.januggetsecure.com/jump/1190/.
JOHN ASCUAGAâ€™S NUGGET CASINO RESORT 1100 Nugget Ave. Sparks, NV 89431 800-648-1177 - www.janugget.com 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.
Delegate Form: June 30
PARKING: Valet and self-parking;rate included in the $3 per room per night resort fee.
Proxy Form: August 11
RESERVATION CUTOFF DATE: July 20 CHECK-IN: 3 p.m. CHECK-OUT: 11a.m.
Registration: Postmarked by August 2
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
NARFE 2012 NATIONAL CONVENTION PREREGISTRATION FORM NARFE ID #:
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 __________
BANQUET RESERVATION FORM August 30, 2012
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 __________
Out & AW bout ith the Chapters
LEFT: Rep. Joe Baca presented his annual Community Leadership Award to Lenore Manak for her work as California District III NARFE vice president.
Visit our online gallery at www.narfe.org. Click on NARFE magazine.
Chapter 1082 in Summerville, SC, sponsored a booth at the Coastal Carolina Fair Senior Day. Staffing the booth are Patricia Whitely, left, chapter secretary; and Barbara Bryan, chapter president.
Celebrate NARFE’s 90th! NARFE’s 90th Anniversary year comes to a close in February. Don’t miss out on the chance to order your copy of our 90th anniversary book, DISCOUNTED to $6!
Years of Celebrating 90
Also available: • 90th Anniversary PowerPoint Presentation, $5. • 90th Anniversary Lapel Pin, $3. Robert Edwards, left, president of Chapter 1176 in Oklahoma City, OK, presents a NARFE petition to Craig Smith, district representative for Rep. Tom Coburn. Shirley Wyan is at right.
To order, go to www.narfe.org, sign in as a member, then click on NARFE Officers Home Page.
To submit a photo: Email it to email@example.com or send it by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Out & About. NARFE members contributed for Alzheimer’s research:
SUPPORT ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH
$10 Million Fund
$9,434,535* *Total as of November 30, 2011 100% of all contributed funds go to Alzheimer’s research. If you have any questions, write to: National Committee Chairman Barb L. Pretzer, 4817 Rockridge Ct. Manhattan, KS 66503 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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:
Card Number: __________________________________________________________ Expiration Date:________(mm)/_________(yy) 3-Digit Security Code: _________ Name on Card: (print) ___________________________________________________ Signature:_________________________________________ Date: _______________ FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
Who can join?
Membership is open to civilians in any agency of the federal or D.C.* governments 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 www.narfe.org. • Or call us at 800-627-3394 and join today! *Prior to October 1, 1987
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 __________________________
Full Name: Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms.
3. Please enroll me in NARFE chapter ______________
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 | FEBRUARY 2012
NARFE Member Records 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 Fax: 703-838-7783
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 MEMBER HOMEBENEFITS 1-800-666-9203 http://narfe.myhomebenefits.com • Earn thousands in cash-back rewards when you buy or sell a home* • Shop competitive mortgage rates, receive discounts on closing costs, plus take advantage of your VA Loan Benefits • Receive preferred pricing on interesete 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) email@example.com All NARFE members will receive discounted pricing for all interstate shipments. Discount will apply to packing and moving services and valuation protection. All intrastate shipments, locals and international moves will be competitive in cost based on your geographical location. Mention you are a NARFE member and transportation agreement #00930.
EndlessVacation Rentals® As a member of NARFE, you will receive 10% off the “Best Available Rate” at vacation rental properties booked at www.evrentals.com/narfe or by calling 1877-670-7088, prompt 3, and providing promotion code 20672 at time of booking.
NARFE INSURANCE SERVICES
CARIBBEAN & MEXICO
1-800-233-5764 Insurance plans designed and administered exclusively for NARFE members. Call for information on Whole and Term Life, Hospital Indemnity, Accidental Injury and Death Plan, Dental Plan and Cancer Care Plan. For information on Long Term Care call the Long Term Care Unit at 1800-358-3795.
Unbeatable Deals to more than 30 Caribbean island gems and 15 Mexico destinations. Offers include:
✓ Up to 40% off ✓ 4th night Free ✓ $100 food & beverage credit ✓ 10% spa discount There has never been a better time to book Your Next Cruise Vacation!
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 now 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.
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!
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 TruHearingMemberPlus.com for more information, or call 877-360-2442 Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. East Coast Time
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
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 choicehotels.com 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 NARFEpremierfcu.org.
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®.
NARFE | FEBRUARY 2012
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. Use priority code: UABEWD.
NARFE MERCHANDISE NARFE GENERAL STORE
Order Official NARFE name badges, customizable NARFE logo products and plaques. Phone: 252-353-4005
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
MONTHLY % CHANGE % CHANGE FROM 223.2 -0.29 -0.10
TSP 2011:G,F,C Rise;S,I Decline By William H. Jacobson
nvestor fears regarding European sovereign debt remained a dominant theme through the month of December. Late in the month, however, S&P 500 stocks rallied, and the C Fund ended the month with a gain of approximately 1.0 percent, and 2.1 percent for the year. The S Fund posted a barely negative return of -.04 percent in December, and the I Fund return was -2.0 percent; the year-to-date returns were -3.4 percent and -11.8 percent, respectively. The domestic bond market rose again in December, while the Federal Reserve maintained its easy monetary policy. The F Fund, which tracks the U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, posted a 1.0 percent return for December and 7.9 percent for the year (its highest annual rate of return since 2002).
William H. Jacobson, CFA, is a financial analyst for the Thrift Savings Plan. 50
Inflation Dips in November
he Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) dipped 0.10 percent in November. 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 November index of 222.813 is down 0.19 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. November’s index is 3.51 percent higher than the December 2010 base index of 215.262. ■
Thrift Savings Plan Investments* Month G Fund 0.24% 2011 January February 0.22% March 0.26% April 0.25% May 0.25% June 0.21% July 0.22% August 0.19% September 0.16% October 0.14% November 0.14% December 0.15% Last 12 Months 2.45%
F Fund 0.13% 0.26% 0.06% 1.28% 1.31% (0.30%) 1.59% 1.45% 0.73% 0.11% 0.01% 1.01% 7.89%
C Fund 2.37% 3.42% 0.04% 2.96% (1.13%) (1.67%) (2.04%) (5.44%) (7.03%) 10.93% (0.21%) 1.04% 2.11%
S Fund 1.23% 4.52% 2.06% 2.94% (1.27%) (2.35%) (3.14%) (8.12%) (10.73%) 14.09% (0.51%) (0.04%) (3.38%)
Month 2011 January February March April May June July August September October November December Last 12 Months
L 2020 1.35% 2.15% (0.03%) 2.37% (0.74%) (0.84%) (0.94%) (3.69%) (4.73%) 6.18% (0.34%) 0.11% 0.41%
L 2030 1.57% 2.60% (0.05%) 2.83% (0.97%) (1.10%) (1.25%) (4.63%) (5.92%) 7.68% (0.49%) 0.09% (0.31%)
L 2040 1.75% 2.95% (0.08%) 3.20% (1.15%) (1.30%) (1.49%) (5.37%) (6.85%) 8.83% (0.62%) 0.07% (0.96%)
L Income 0.63% 0.90% 0.17% 1.01% (0.05%) (0.18%) (0.14%) (1.10%) (1.51%) 2.31% 0.02% 0.20% 2.23%
I Fund 2.41% 3.33% (2.23%) 6.03% (2.90%) (1.16%) (1.60%) (9.03%) (10.55%) 9.48% (2.46%) (2.03%) (11.81%) L 2050 3.28% (0.15%) 3.57 (1.39%) (1.48%) (1.75%) (6.16%) (7.80%) 9.92% (0.78%) (0.01%)
*This chart is provided as a service to NARFE members who enrolled in the Thrift Savings Plan while employed by the federal government. Retirees are not eligible for enrollment. These returns are net of the effect of accrued administrative expenses and investment expenses/costs. Percentages in ( ) are negative. Source: tsp.gov.
FEBRUARY 2012 | NARFE
f o r
S e n i o r s
“Ten-ten AM, Thursday, January 12th, 2012”
2 0 1 2
The wristwatch you never have to set… or even see.
Thanks to its revolutionary design, the Talking Atomic Watch gives you accuracy to within a billionth of a second. It gets its signal from the US Atomic Clock, the standard for time keeping worldwide. Plus, all you have to do is push a button, and the watch will “tell” you the time in a clear, easy-to-understand voice. It will even tell you the day and date. Travelling? Touch a button to switch it to any time zone. It’s lightweight and attractive… and it’s always accurate. The Talking Atomic Watch was . . . $89.95. Now $49.95 + S&H. Call today. 1-877-753-9239 Please mention Promotional Code 43525.
Our Lighted Full-Page Magnifier is hands-free and huge! Our one-of-a-kind magnifying floor lamp combines powerful FULL-PAGE magnification with flexible adjustability and clear, even Balanced Spectrum light. Twelve high-powered LEDs provide ample light for close work and reading. The super-large lens provides 2.5X-plus variable magnification, to easily cover an entire page without glare or hot spots. The ultra-flexible gooseneck positions the lens exactly where you need it. And unlike that magnifier in the drawer, you’ll always know where this one is. Magnifying lens dimensions are a whopping 7.375” x 10”. AC operated. Lighted Full Page Magnifier was . . . $99.95. Now $79.95 + S&H Call today. 1-888-693-8322 Please mention Promotional Code 43526
A floor lamp that spreads sunshine all over a room. The Balanced Spectrum’s 27-watt compact bulb is brighter than a 100-watt ordinary light bulb. With the lamp’s sharp visibility, you will see with more clarity and enjoyment in close tasks such as reading, writing, sewing, and needlepoint. It is especially helpful for aging eyes. Experience sunshine indoors at the touch of a switch. This amazing lamp is not only easy on the eyes, it is easy on the hands as well, featuring a special “soft-touch, flicker-free” rocker switch that is easier to use than traditional toggle or twist switches. And its flexible gooseneck design enables you to get light exactly where you need it. The high-tech electronics, the user-friendly design, and a bulb that lasts 10 times longer than an ordinary bulb–all these features make the Balanced Spectrum® floor lamp a must-have. Balanced Spectrum® floor lamp Only $59.95 each + S&H or buy two lamps for $99 + S&H. Call today. 1-888-693-8394 Please mention Promotional Code 43527
Are you in love with your home, but afraid of your staircase? If you or someone you love lives in a home with more than one floor, the staircase can be more than an inconvenience, it can be a health threat. Whether it's due to mobility issues or cardiac concerns, why risk your life climbing stairs when an easy solution is only a phone call away? You’ll be surprised how easy, simple, and affordable the Easy Climber is. It features a reliable, aircraft-grade cable drive that’s been tested over 30,000 cycles. It’s also designed for basements and outdoors. It’s simple enough for most people to install on either side of the stairs, a snap to use, and comes with an exclusive lifetime warranty on the drive train. Call our toll-free number now, and a friendly, knowledgeable product expert can answer all of your questions and help you get on the road to independence and safety in the home. Call today. 1-888-420-8767 Please mention Promotional Code 43528 TM
WOW! Now Only per pair in lots of 2 or more!
4" of Hidden S-t-r-e-t-c-h! (It’s there, we swear!)
(Reg. 2 for 2995)
ALL Waists 32 - 60! Big Guys, Same Low Price!
High-Quality No-Wrinkle Fabric! Your favorite premium quality dress pants, IMPROVED with invisible Fit-Forever® Expansion Waist! Guaranteed to be the Best Fitting, Best Feeling pair of pants you ever owned! Tailored in excellent dress fabric that feels and drapes like wool, but is 100% woven polyester — machine wash & dry with no shrinking, no wrinkling, no ironing! Best Styling Appointments: Trim flat front, 4 pockets, hook close, nylon zipper.
100% Wash & Wear!
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per pair in lots of 2 or more! 2 for $24 3 for $36 4 for $48
Haband #1 Bargain Place, Jessup, PA 18434-1834 FOR MAXIMUM COMFORT, Send ____ pants. I enclose $_______ ORDER YOUR USUAL WAIST SIZE! purchase price plus $5.99 toward Waist: 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 postage. In GA add tax.
Duke Habernickel #1 Bargain Place Jessup, PA 18434-1834
Big Men (SAME LOW PRICE): Famous Maker Set of 3 Belts! 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 Even sizes. 32 to 58. Inseams: XS(25-26) S(27-28) M(29-30) Genuine Leather. L(31-32) XL(33-34) Black & Brown assorted Imported On-Line Quick Order colors. WHAT WHAT HOW Add Just $10 per set! WAIST? INSEAM? MANY? 7ØR78 (31) assorted Imported
What Size: ______ How Many Sets: ______ Haband Visa MC Discover ® Network AmEx Check
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.
Ø3 Ø2 8A 6B N7 Ø1
NAVY TAN SLATE PEWTER CORDOVAN BLACK (not shown)
Card # _____________________________________ Exp.: ____/____ 100% Phone/Email ______________________________________ Satisfaction Mr. Mrs. Ms. ______________________________________ Guaranteed Address _____________________________ Apt. # ______ or Full Refund of merchandise City & State________________________ Zip ___________ purchase price.