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congress won’t roll over on tsp fix

P.36

state tax review

COVER STORY

speeding the

retirement journey P.22

Volume 89 • Number 04


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WashingTon Watch

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House Passes Pay-Freeze Extension Bill; Senate Is Not Likely to Act on It

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Sequestration Looms; Feds’ Prospects Bleak

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The NARFE Bill Tracker Returns

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Bill Would Improve Deferred Annuities, Survivors’ Eligibility

10

The Importance of a Grass-Roots Partnership

11

Talk of Postal Deal, Replacing FEHBP

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“Protect America’s Heartbeat” Update

Cover Story Speeding the Retirement Journey. As the Office of Personnel Management reduces its processing backlog, here’s advice on making the right moves when you get ready to retire.

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CONGRESS WON’T ROLL OVER ON TSP FIX. A proposal to allow rollovers of annual leave to Thrift Savings Plan accounts hits a congressional snag.

APR

On the Web www.narfe.org like us on facebook:

NARFE National Headquarters follow us on twitter:

@narfehq

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From the President

42

Managing Money

44

The Informed Citizen

DEPARTMENTS

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visit us online at:

Columns

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Questions & Answers

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For the Record: TSP Investments, COLA Chart

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NARFE News

56

The Way We Worked

P.30

CONGRESS WON’T ROLL OVER ON TSP FIX

P.36

STATE TAX REVIEW

COVER STORY

SPEEDING THE

RETIREMENT JOURNEY P.22

special section

36

State Tax Treatment of Federal Annuities

ON THE C OVER

Illustration by Bill Pragluski, Critical Stages, LLC

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APRIL 2013 | Volume 89 | Number 04

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

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

REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS

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

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

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

REGION VI Jerome S. Smith (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Republic of Panama and Texas) Tel: 903-534-5849 Email: retiredjer@aol.com REGION VII Frank Impinna (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) Tel: 303-482-1747 Email: impinna@gmail.com REGION VIII Helen L. Zajac (California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Republic of Philippines) Tel: 707-644-7565 Email: hlz17@aol.com REGION IX Lanny G. Ross (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) Tel: 360-692-9741 Email: lannyjean@comcast.net REGION X William F. Martin (Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) Tel: 540-872-3345 Email: narfe2065@hughes.net

For any other NARFE matter:

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

www.narfe.org

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

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How to Outsmart a Millionaire Only the “Robin Hood of Watchmakers” can steal the spotlight from a luxury legend for under $200!

I

wasn’t looking for trouble. I sat in a café, sipping my espresso and enjoying the quiet. Then it got noisy. Mr. Bigshot rolled up in a roaring high-performance Italian sports car, dropping attitude like his $14,000 watch made it okay for him to be rude. That’s when I decided to roll up my sleeves and teach him a lesson.

“Nice watch,” I said, pointing to his and holding up mine. He nodded like we belonged to the same club. We did, but he literally paid 100 times more for his membership. Bigshot bragged about his five-figure purchase, a luxury heavyweight from the titan of high-priced timepieces. I told him that mine was the Stauer Corso, a 27-jewel automatic classic now available for only $179. And just like that, the man was at a loss for words. Think of Stauer as the “Robin Hood of Watchmakers.” We believe everyone deserves a watch of uncompromising precision, impressive performance and the most elegant styling. You deserve a watch that can hold its own against the luxury classics for a fraction of the price. You’ll feel the quality as soon as you put it on your wrist. This is an expertlycrafted time machine... not a cry for attention. Wear a mechanical masterpiece for only $179! We surveyed our customers. As intelligent, high net worth individuals, they have outgrown the need to show off. They have nothing to prove; they already proved it. They want superb quality and astonishing value. And that’s exactly what we deliver. The Stauer Corso is proof that the worth of a watch doesn’t depend on the size of its price tag. Our factory spent over $40 million on Swiss-made machinery to insure the highest quality parts. Each timepiece takes six months and over 200 individual precision parts to create the complex assembly. Peer through the exhibition back to see the 27-jeweled automatic movement in action and you’ll understand why we can only offer the Corso in a limited edition of 14,999.

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From the President

A pledge fulfilled

L

ast year, John Berry, director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), invited me to a meeting in

his office to talk about delays in processing retirement claims. He acknowledged that

problem paperwork from agencies has added to OPM’s processing problems. To address this, he told me that OPM was preparing a checklist for employees nearing retirement. He asked for NARFE’s help in distributing it. We pledged to publish it in narfe magazine and on our website when it was completed, and I’m pleased that we are able to fulfill that pledge. The OPM checklist – an exclusive first look for NARFE members – appears in this issue. The checklist complements our cover story on what you need to know to speed the processing of your retirement papers through OPM and how

OPM is tackling the backlog. The article includes sound advice from recently retired NARFE members, and those who have submitted their retirement papers and are awaiting OPM action. And if you are thinking about relocating in your retirement years, to help you decide on the states most favorable to retirees, you should consult NARFE’s annual roundup of state tax treatment of federal annuities. Compiled by NARFE’s Legislative Department, this special section lists other tax information by state, such as exemptions and exclusions. NARFE’s tax guide is the definitive source of this information and is often cited by other organizations. The second feature story in this issue deals with the status of proposals to make improvements in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Among them was a proposal to allow federal employees to deposit their lump-sum annual leave payments into the TSP. The tagline on the cover of narfe magazine is “Tireless Advocacy, Trusted Advice.” An exclusive checklist from OPM, guidance from fellow members on retirement paperwork, a definitive source of tax information and the latest on legislative proposals affecting you – all in this issue of narfe magazine, only one benefit of your membership in NARFE.

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

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Washington Watch

House Passes Pay-Freeze Extension Bill; Senate is not likely to act on it

T

he House of Representatives on February 15 passed legislation to extend the federal employee pay freeze through the end of 2013. The bill, H.R. 273, passed by

a vote of 261-154. While the bill is unlikely to be considered by the Senate in its current form, freezing federal pay will remain a part of deficit-reduction talks. Federal employee pay has been frozen since 2010. Under an executive order by President Obama, the freeze is scheduled to end March 27, when federal employees are set to receive a 0.5 percent pay increase. In a letter to members of the House in advance of the vote, NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin called the bill “nothing more than another direct attack on hardworking public servants.” “Instead of pushing political messaging bills, Congress should focus on the real issues lawmakers need to address in the next two months, including the threat of sequestration and the expiring Continuing Resolution,” Beaudoin said. The bill also included a pay freeze for members of Congress for the remainder of 2013. In 6

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legislation passed on January 1 to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, members of Congress’ pay was frozen, but only until the end of the fiscal year (September 30), not the calendar year. Despite calls from many in Congress and NARFE to vote on congressional pay and federal employee pay separately, the two were rolled together in H.R. 273. Many members of the House voted to freeze federal employee pay simply to clarify the law regarding their own pay. During debate on the bill, several members of Congress denounced the pay-freeze extension. “It’s not justice, and it’s not fair,” said Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-VA. “I urge a ‘no’ vote.” Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-VA, pointed out that the more Con-

gress treats the federal workforce as a “piggy bank,” the less attractive federal service will be. “Federal workers deserve the dignity of the work they provide,” Connolly said. “Federal workers need to be respected for serving our constituents; and the losers in this debate won’t just be them, it will be the people we serve.” Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-MD, House Democratic Whip, added: “If we continue to demagogue federal employees, if we continue to use federal employees as a piñata, you are going to find that people don’t want to work for this government ... And America will lose, not the federal employees.” Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the panel with jurisdiction over the federal workforce, spoke in favor of extending the freeze. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-CA, led the arguments for the bill. Those in favor of extending the pay freeze repeatedly cited inaccurate and incomplete federal pay data from the partisan Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute.


Sequestration Looms; feds’ prospects bleak Additionally, they referred to a flawed study on federal pay by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which used irrelevant factors, such as race, age and gender, in its analysis. NARFE refutes the study in its “Protect America’s Heartbeat” Toolkit, now available on the NARFE website at www. narfe.org/heartbeat. The House voted on a similar measure, H.R. 6726, on January 1, 2013, in the waning days of the 112th Congress. Following that vote, NARFE’s Legislative Department staff identified a number of representatives who voted in favor of the freeze extension and attempted to persuade them to change their minds. That action helped to move 27 representatives who voted for H.R. 6726 to vote against H.R. 273. In some cases, NARFE’s Washington, DC, lobbying effort was aided by strong grass-roots outreach by local NARFE members who met with or called their members of Congress. In other cases, members of Congress told NARFE staff that they were not hearing from their constituents on the issue. This illustrates that calls and emails by NARFE members matter. To find out how your representative voted for this bill, please visit: http://clerk.house.gov/ evs/2013/roll044.xml. NARFE will use this vote, and future votes on the pay freeze, in its analysis of the 113th Congress. –By Jessica Klement, Legislative Director

“I

nevitable” was the word more and more lawmakers from both parties on Capitol Hill were using to describe the prospect of sequestration in the weeks following President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Employee furloughs, essential service reductions predicted. What was intended as an action-forcing mechanism as part of the 2011 Budget Agreement, sequestration (deep across-theboard cuts in federal spending) appeared to be a real prospect as this issue went to press in late February, with the potential for devastating effects on the federal workforce and the programs administered by civil servants. As part of a deal that avoided the fiscal cliff at the end of the 112th Congress, the sequestration of federal spending was delayed from January 2 to March 1. In late February, some observers were predicting that lawmakers will let the ax fall and address the repercussions closer to the March 27 expiration of the Continuing Resolution, the stop-gap spending measure that currently is funding government operations. In a memorandum to federal agencies titled “Planning for Uncertainty with Respect to Fiscal Year 2013 Budgetary Resources,” Jeffrey D. Zients, deputy director for management at the Office of

Management and Budget, directed agencies to take specific steps to plan for and manage the uncertainty. The memorandum predicted the “likely need to furlough hundreds of thousands of employees and reduce essential services, such as food inspections, air travel safety, prison security, border patrols and other mission-critical activities.” NARFE members, more likely than any other citizens, can predict the practical effect of these prospective reductions not only on agency morale but also on the pocketbooks of employees. –By Alan Lopatin, Legislative Counsel

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

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Washington Watch

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

Bill Number / Name / What Bill Would Do Sponsor H.R. 26: Deferred Benefits Adjustment Act of 2013 / Rep. Nydia M. Velรกzquez, D-NY

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

Referred to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform See story, p. 9.

H.R. 273: To eliminate the 2013 statutory pay adjustment for federal employees / Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-FL

Extends the federal employee pay freeze for the rest of 2013, which would be the third year of the pay freeze.

Passed the House on 2/15/13 (Not expected to be considered in the Senate, but likely to be a part of ongoing deficit-reduction talks) See story, p. 6.

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

Allows federal employees to substitute any available paid leave for any leave without pay available for either the birth of a child or placement of a child with the employee for either adoption or foster care. Makes available for any of the 12 weeks of leave an employee is entitled to for such purposes: four administrative weeks of paid parental leave in connection with the birth or placement involved; and any accumulated annual or sick leave.

Referred to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

DEFERRED ANNUITIES

federal pay

Paid Parental Leave

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Latest Congressional Action/s


Bill would improve deferred annuities, Survivors’ eligibility

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Life is not a rehearsal

ep. Nydia M. Velázquez, D-NY, introduced a bill on January 3 that would lead to increases in deferred annuities and improve eligibility for some widows and widowers. NARFE

strongly supports the legislation.

The Deferred Benefits Adjustment Act of 2013, H.R. 26, would change how deferred annuities are calculated. It would adjust upwards the average pay figure used for determining a deferred annuity by the percentage increase in the General Schedule pay scale in effect between the time an employee separates from service and the time the employee begins receiving an annuity. The change would be prospective, applying to individuals who have not begun receiving retirement annuities, as well as to those who apply for a recomputation of their annuities within 12 months after the effective date of regulations issued to carry out the act. The bill also would make eligible for a survivor annuity the widow or widower of a deferred annuitant who dies before establishing a valid claim for an annuity under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Currently, if a former employee covered by the CSRS dies after separating from service, but before becoming eligible for and applying for his or her CSRS annuity, the surviving spouse is unable to receive an annuity. Under the bill, the widow or widower would be eligible for future annuity payments but not back payments. NARFE

thanked Velázquez for introducing the bill. –By John Hatton, Deputy Legislative Director

advocacy action Say ‘thanks,” and invite a legislator to a chapter meeting. Here are some quick and easy activities that NARFE members and chapters can do in April to make sure NARFE’s message continues to be heard on Capitol Hill. If you attended the NARFE Legislative Training Conference, send a thank-you note to any legislators and staff with whom you met and provide any requested information. Whether or not you met with a legislator in March, invite your representative, senators or their staff to join you at an upcoming NARFE meeting. Members of the House and Senate are scheduled to be in their states March 25-April 5 and again April 29-May 3.

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Washington Watch

The Importance of cultivating A Grass-roots Partnership

D

uring a recent visit to a congressional office by a NARFE Legislative Department staff member, the member of Congress mentioned that he had met with

representatives of a local chapter. Unfortunately, the NARFE staffer was not aware of the local meeting. Too frequently, NARFE staff is not aware of grass-roots activity. Knowing about these meetings makes NARFE much more effective on Capitol Hill. To grow the partnership between grass-roots activists and

Headquarters staff, the Legislative Department is establishing a reporting system, similar to its NARFE-PAC reports. On a quarterly basis, legislative staff will email state federation presidents and legislative chairs a Capitol

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Hill outreach report. But this is a two-way street. Headquarters would like to know of members’ successes. If members report activity to us, we will include it in the quarterly report. Report activity online using the Legislative Action Center on the Legislation Home Page, www.narfe.org/legislation, or via email to advocacyinaction@ narfe.org. –By Sarah Holstine, Grass-Roots Program Manager


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5 Stars Above The Rest

Talk of postal deal, replacing FEHBP

A

t a Senate hearing designed to restart the congressional debate on postal reform, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe again pushed a plan to remove postal employees

and retirees from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Donahoe also proposed eliminating retirement annuities

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Myth: Federal employees enjoy lavish pensions at the expense of the taxpayers.

Reality: The average federal pension is quite modest. For employees under the Civil Service Retirement System, the average pension is less than $3,000/month. For employees hired after 1986 and in the Federal Employees Retirement System, the average monthly pension is less than $1,000.

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Both said they are eager to work with Senate lawmakers to reach a compromise. Issa and Cummings are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Postmaster General Donahoe continued to push a proposal he first made in August 2011 to replace the FEHBP with a health insurance plan run by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). NARFE contends that the proposal, at worst, is a backhanded way of reducing the value of health insurance benefits for postal employees and retirees as a way to reduce costs. At best, NARFE says, it is a way to avoid the burdensome prefunding requirement for future retirees’ health benefits that Congress placed on the USPS in 2006. NARFE believes that, despite Donahoe’s claims, the Postal Service is very unlikely to provide better health insurance at a lower cost than the FEHBP. Unfortunately, Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-DE, who chairs the Senate committee, seemed eager to reexplore the USPS proposal regarding health and retirement benefits. NARFE submitted testimony for the record, detailing its concerns.

3 DAYS, 2

At the same February 15 hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Reps. Darrell Issa, R-CA, and Elijah E. Cummings, D-MD, indicated that they had been close to a bipartisan postal reform deal in the House in December, before the 112th Congress adjourned.

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Washington Watch

‘Protect America’s Heartbeat’ Update

T

he 2013 “Protect America’s Heartbeat” (PAH) campaign is continuing across the country, revitalizing NARFE’s grass-roots efforts.

NARFE asks members to remain active in the campaign. In addition, field organizers are in place in key states where members of Congress will play a role in the legislation to prevent sequestration and fund the government past March 27. To assist members in their grass-roots activities, NARFE has made updatesCoupon to the PAH 2013-14_PAC_Coupon:2013 3/4/13

Toolkit and the PAH website, www.protectamericasheartbeat. org. The new Toolkit is easier to navigate and includes the most up-to-date fact sheets and talking points, which should be used when meeting with legislators, and putting a local face on federal employees and retirees. The mission of the PAH campaignAM is the same, 10:23 Page 1 no matter

where you live: fighting for the 2.7 million active and 2.5 million retired federal employees in every state whose service protects America’s heartbeat. NARFE is working to reframe the debate and insert positive messaging about the vital work America’s civil service performs. America’s federal employees are part of the solution – not the problem. For more information about the campaign, contact leg@narfe. org. –By Jessica Klement, Legislative Director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Questions & Answers

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

active Employees FERS and Unused sick leave

Q

I have a friend who will be retiring this year. He is under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and has 204 hours of sick leave. Will he be compensated for any unused sick leave when he retires?

A

Prior to October 28, 2009, FERS employees lost all of their sick leave when they retired. NARFE fought very hard to get this provision changed so that FERS employees would be able to have their sick leave used as creditable service for retirement purposes. On October 28, 2009, a change was made that allows FERS employees to have 50 percent of their sick leave credited toward their annuities if the employee retires before 2014. If the employee were to retire on January 1, 2014, or later, 100 percent of his or her sick leave balance would be used as creditable service toward his or her annuity.

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Dual Receipt of Survivor Benefits?

Q

I am planning to retire in two years under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). My wife receives a modest court-ordered settlement from her ex-spouse’s CSRS retirement. My wife also is eligible for Social Security based on her own work record. Does the fact that she is receiving a portion of her ex-husband’s CSRS annuity make her future Social Security benefit vulnerable to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) or the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)? If I wanted to provide a survivor benefit from my own CSRS pen-

sion, would there be a problem for her to collect CSRS benefits from two sources? Would the CSRS survivor benefit I might leave her make her Social Security benefit vulnerable to the GPO or WEP? Having the answers to these questions will help me determine the cost/benefit of leaving a survivor benefit for her and determine how long she should wait to apply for her Social Security benefit.

A

Neither her receipt of a CSRS survivor benefit from your annuity nor the court-ordered CSRS benefit awarded to her from her former spouse’s annuity would affect your wife’s Social Security benefits that are based on her own work record. Both the GPO and the WEP provisions offset Social Security benefits for individuals who are receiving a pension that is based on earnings from which no Social Security taxes were withheld.


Your wife’s court-ordered benefits are part of someone else’s pension and not her own. Any survivor benefit from your pension is again not considered a pension she earned. Your wife could receive both a survivor benefit you elect as well as a portion of her former husband’s annuity, unless her divorce decree states otherwise.

Survivor’s Health Insurance

Q

I am working and currently covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). I may need to retire at my minimum retirement age (56) + 10 before I am age 62. My plan is to defer my annuity until I turn age 62 so that I do not have to take a 5 percent reduction for each year I am under age 62. At age 62, I would start my annuity, elect survivor benefits for my spouse and reinstate my federal health insurance. It is my understanding that, if I should die after my separation for retirement but before my annuity starts at age 62, my husband would not be eligible for health insurance as a survivor. He is currently covered by my health insurance plan. Is my understanding of the situation correct?

A

Almost. First, your plan is to retire under a postponed annuity. So you will need to complete Schedule B on application form RI 92-19, “Application for Deferred or Postponed Retirement,

Federal Employees Retirement System,” when you retire. Your husband would be entitled to continued health benefits in the event you pass away prior to applying for your postponed FERS benefits if: 1. At the time you separated from federal service, you had five years of continuous coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP); 2. You were enrolled in family coverage. You also will have the opportunity to be enrolled in the FEHBP after you separate from federal service under the temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) provisions. Your human resources office must notify you within 61 days after your regular FEHBP enrollment terminates of your opportunity to enroll under the TCC. Generally, you have 60 days after getting the notice or 60 days after separation, whichever is later, to enroll under the TCC. The Office of Personnel Management recommends you ask your agency to give you your TCC information on the day you separate. TCC enrollments – and premiums – always begin on the 32nd day after your regular coverage ends (which happens on the last day of the pay period in which you separate). The earlier you submit your enrollment form, the earlier your agency can process it, and the less likely it will be that you receive a large bill for retroactive TCC coverage. Under the TCC, you pay the full premium,

plus a 2 percent administrative charge.

Divorce Attorneys

Q

We read the article “Marriage and Divorce Federal Style” in the February 2013 issue of narfe magazine. It comes at a good time and is certainly pertinent to our son. He is in need of an attorney, primarily in the Palm Beach County area of Florida, who is knowledgeable in divorce proceedings involving the Federal Employees Retirement System. His local attorney has told our son that he may be entitled to a portion of his wife’s pension (she is a federal worker) in a divorce proceeding, but the attorney isn’t expert in that field. If you can make any suggestions, it would be much appreciated.

A

We are unable to recommend any attorneys who are knowledgeable about federal retirement benefits in divorce cases. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) publishes A Handbook for Attorneys on Court-Ordered Retirement, Health Benefits and Life Insurance Under the Civil Service Retirement Benefits, Federal Employees Retirement Benefits, Federal Employees Health Benefits, and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program. The publication (RI 38-116) is no longer available in print from either the U.S. Government Printing Office or OPM. It is available w w w. n a r f e . o r g

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Questions & Answers

only on the OPM website at www. opm.gov/retire/pubs/pamphlets/ list.asp. Whichever attorney your son chooses will need to have a copy of this in order to know how to proceed.

retirees Raiding the Retirement Funds?

Q

I understand that the Treasury Department is going to raid the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF) and a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) fund to keep the federal government solvent. What assurance is there that these funds won’t go broke as a result?

A

Federal employees and retirees are understandably concerned that the U.S. Treasury is forced to use these retirement funds to prevent a government default. NARFE shares this concern. Congress should not rely on these funds as a safety net because it has failed to reach agreement on how to pay our nation’s bills.  Nonetheless, NARFE does not believe that the temporary use of the retirement funds poses a threat to the government’s obligation to pay federal retirees the annuities they have earned. Federal law requires that the TSP Government Securities (G) Fund and the CSRDF be reinvested and made whole for any interest lost once a debt-limit increase becomes law, and the period of debt suspension ends. Indeed, the CSRDF was disin-

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vested and underinvested in 1985, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2011 to prevent the federal government’s default, and in each instance the fund was reimbursed with interest after Congress and the president agreed to raise the debt limit. The 1985 debt crisis prompted the adoption of the “make whole” provision in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, which NARFE fully supported, as an amendment to the retirement law. The continued reliance on the CSRDF is simply a testament to the solubility of the fund and one more example of active and retired federal employees coming through for the American people.

benefits; and, if you decline Part A, the Social Security Administration may not pay you the benefits that you might have earned. Part B enrollment is voluntary, and you can decline enrollment in it when you first become eligible. If, at a later date, you decide you need it, you can enroll during the annual enrollment period, although you will have to pay a penalty for late enrollment.

Tax-Free Portion of Annuity

Q

In a recent “NARFE NewsWatch,” your response to a question about tax preparation and the tax-free portion of annuities was confusing. First, you said that

The temporary use of the retirement funds does not pose a threat to the government’s obligation to pay federal retirees the annuities they have earned. Medicare Mandatory?

I retired under the Civil Service Retirement System and am not yet age 65. Is Medicare mandatory? I live in an area where primary care physicians are excluding Medicare recipients. I really don’t want to sign up for it.

form 1099-R, which the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sends, has the tax-free portion of a federal retiree’s annuity. Then you said that someone has to request IRS publication 721 and use a formula in that publication to calculate the tax-free portion of the annuity. Which is it?

A

A

Q

At age 65 and eligible for traditional Medicare Parts A (hospital) and B (medical), you should probably sign up for Part A. You have paid into it as an employee, and there is no monthly premium. Also, Part A is tied to Social Security

For most individuals who retired after November 1996, as a service, OPM calculates and shows the taxable amount of the annuity paid for the calendar year on the 1099-R. However, the amount of the annuity paid that OPM sends to the IRS


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Questions & Answers

for each individual is the gross amount of the annuity. We think that it is a good idea for retirees or their tax preparers to use the worksheet in IRS publication 721 and attach it to their returns to avoid any confusion at the IRS.

No Refund of Survivor Annuity Contributions

Q

I elected to include a survivor benefit for my wife, thinking that I would predecease her. It appears that the contributions I made for her were forfeited when she died. I cannot get an answer as to how much money was invested for her benefit, where the money went

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and whether I have any rights to that money. Can you advise me?

A

In electing to provide a survivor annuity for your spouse, you agreed to receive a reduced annuity every month, with the reduction amount being paid into the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund to finance future survivor benefit payments. If you retired under the Civil Service Retirement System and, at retirement, elected a full survivor benefit (55 percent of your unreduced annuity) for your wife, your annual annuity would have been reduced 2.5 percent of the first $3,600 of your annuity, plus 10

percent of the remainder of your annuity exceeding $3,600. If you retired under the Federal Employees Retirement System, your annual annuity would have been reduced a flat 10 percent to provide a full survivor benefit that equaled 50 percent of your unreduced annuity. When your wife died, the reduction in your annuity was stopped, and you should have started getting your full unreduced annuity. There is no provision in the law to allow for a refund of the part of your annuity that was paid into the fund to provide a survivor benefit for your wife.


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Questions & Answers

NARFE at Your Service Death Notification

Q

My mother passed away recently. She was very proud of her work for the federal government and enjoyed her association with NARFE. As executor, I need to know what notifications I need to make. I would appreciate that information.

A

As a federal retiree, your mother’s retirement benefits, health and life insurance were administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). To report her death, you can contact OPM online at https://apps.opm. gov/retire/death/death.cfm. When OPM receives the notice of your mother’s death, it will stop further

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monthly annuity payments. OPM also will send you, and any other eligible family members it may have on file, a package so that you can apply for civil service death benefits. In addition, OPM will include a claim form for Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance. If your mother also had an insurance policy through NARFE Insurance Services, you would need to call 800-233-5764.   To obtain an answer to a federal benefits question, NARFE members should call 703838-7760 and ask for the Federal Benefits Service Department; send your question by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Federal Benefits; or submit it by email to fedbenefits@narfe.org.

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. For the nearest service officer, call NARFE (toll-free) at:

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

www. narfe.org.

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Cover Story

SPEEDING THE

RETIREMENT JOURNEY I

t’s not often that a federal agency director issues a mea culpa under oath in which he admits to serious agency shortcomings in service to its major clientele base and pledges to do better.

But that is what occurred in February 2012, when Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director John Berry testified before the Senate on the issue of the longstanding backlog of retirement annuity claims. “Current delays in retirement processing are unacceptable, and eliminating the current backlog is my highest priority for 2012,” said Berry. NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin also testified at that Senate subcommittee hearing about the need to reduce the delays. Since then, OPM has made considerable progress in expediting federal agency processing of a backlog of federal employees’ retirement claims, though many say that room for improvement in certain aspects of retirement claims processing remains. At a March 2012 meeting between Berry and Beaudoin, and their respective staffs, following the hearing, Berry again apologized for past delays and introduced key personnel who would lead efforts to improve processing results.

By David Tobenkin

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Illustration by Bill Pragluski, Critical Stages, LLC


speeding the

Retirement Journey Berry promised sweeping changes to increase the rate at which retirement claims are processed and to eliminate a backlog of more than 60,000 unprocessed claims by July 2013. OPM also released a new Strategic Plan for Retirement Services that focused on expediting the processing of existing claims. The agency promised to boost its human resources staff and change procedures so that OPM staff who are adjudicating claims don’t have to spend time developing information that is missing and, instead, can stay working on the case. And it issued lengthy checklists to agencies regarding needed documents.

Federal Benefits Service Department. “They’ve definitely made a lot of headway in this area.” A congressman with many federal employees and retirees in his district also praised Berry’s efforts. “I think OPM Director John Berry should be commended for recognizing the severity of the retirement claims backlog crisis, diligently incorporating lessons learned from past failures and making steady progress implementing a serious strategic plan that has OPM on track to finally eliminate a problem plaguing the agency for years,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-VA, in a statement to narfe magazine.

OPM ON TARGET TO MEETING many GOALS

NARFE MEMBER EXPERIENCES VARY

Now, a little more than a year later, the numbers are in … and it appears that OPM is on target to meet many of its goals for expediting the processing of retirement claims. OPM reduced unprocessed claims by more than 50 percent from 61,108 in January 2012 to 26,402 in December 2012, ahead of its schedule to reduce the backlog to 29,478 by that time. The agency has largely held to a goal of increasing the number of claims processed per month from 8,300 in the spring and early summer 2012 to 11,500 per month in subsequent months, with the exception of December 2012, when it fell to roughly 10,500 claims processed. In January 2013, the increased pace of claims processing continued: The 12,527 claims processed by OPM in January 2013 were nearly one-third greater than the 8,749 claims processed in the same month a year earlier. Berry also said in the Strategic Plan that, “It is our goal to eliminate the current backlog in 18 months so that 90 percent of retirees will receive their full annuity payments within 60 days of retirement by July 2013.”  “We have every expectation that we will meet that goal, based on previous known applications for retirement projections,” said Kenneth J. Zawodny Jr., OPM’s associate director of retirement services, in a written statement. “Currently, all annuitants are placed into Interim Payments within seven days after receipt of the necessary information from agencies, and the average processing time to receive finalization of new cases is 110 days.” “They have done what they said they would do and have adhered to the strategic plan that they announced,” says David Snell, director of NARFE’s 24

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Some narfe magazine readers who recently retired were pleased with OPM’s efforts. “I am happy to report that my experience with OPM was a good one,” says Debbie Sciamanda. “I retired as of July 1, 2012, and received my first partial annuity check August 1, 2012, with my full annuity check being received on November 1, 2012. I actually called OPM sometime in October wondering when I might receive my full annuity check, and they asked if it was a hardship for me not to receive it. I, of course, said that it was. Within two days, someone from OPM called me and started processing my expedited request. They graciously paid me the difference between my partial annuity and my full annuity immediately; and, by November 1, 2012, I received my full annuity.”  But some narfe magazine readers who recently filed claims expressed continuing frustration. “I found it very frustrating to deal with OPM,” says one federal employee who retired in December 2011 and requested anonymity. “The waits on hold were often at least half an hour. The quality of assistance was very uneven. Some staff were rude and unhelpful. A few went out of their way [to help], particularly the ones who ultimately resolved my FEHB [Federal Employees Health Benefits] issue (I changed plans at the time of retirement and couldn’t get my enrollment information forwarded to the new carrier). The Boyers [PA] office, which has one of my requests to see my annuity calculation, said that office had a two-and-a-half-month backlog on correspondence and hadn’t gotten my request yet. That was early December [2012], and I still have heard nothing [by mid-January 2013].”


It appears that OPM is on target to meet many of its goals ... Communications and accessibility of OPM personnel to assist claimants also remain a mixed bag, Snell and others say. Snell notes that getting a responsive employee at OPM is not easy, given the flood of people seeking assistance. Still, he says that email communications attempts by claimants appear to be bearing fruit, and in some cases retirees are actually getting through on telephones — “something you would not have heard a year ago.” OPM’s online services also are more robust. Zawodny noted that his office worked in partnership with OPM’s chief information officer to build an online claim tracking tool, Status Tracker, available through “Services Online” (www.servicesonline. opm.gov/). “They have changed their password-protected online services menu in a way that allows you, if you recently retired, to look online and see at what stage your claim is, whether your initial pay has started and whether it has been assigned to someone to work on,” says Snell. While applauding OPM’s ability to whittle down the claims backlog, some retirement claims experts wonder if that will be sufficient as the wave of baby boomers moves into retirement, and the number of Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) claimants, whose claims are generally more complex than those of Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) claimants, increases. In particular, they note OPM’s unsuccessful previous attempts to expedite claims processing and reduce errors through automation. Connolly, who is ranking member of the House subcommittee that oversees federal procure-

ment and technology policy, says that the limited, incremental approach to addressing IT challenges contained in OPM’s Strategic Plan may be the best way to proceed, given past challenges. “Ultimately, OPM needs to modernize its retirement systems; however, the agency must learn to walk before it runs,” says Connolly. “In today’s age of budget cuts, OPM simply cannot afford another IT debacle on the scale of a FERS Automated Processing System or RSM [Retirement Systems Modernization]. I support OPM’s decision to implement a modest IT Strategic Plan that emphasizes developing core competencies first.”

AGENCIES SOMETIMES AT FAULT

But of course, the speed with which claims are processed also depends on agency efforts. In many cases, agencies are failing to meet the OPM claims submission target date of 30 days after retirement, and agency errors have slowed down subsequent OPM processing of retirement claims. In his testimony, Berry said that OPM’s audits of retirement claims submitted by agencies yielded “troubling” results. OPM subsequently established a graph showing the relative number of errors in processing paperwork of 19 different agencies for the period of August 2012 through December 2012. Governmentwide, it appears that 8-13 percent of CSRS or FERS new claims had errors on a monthly basis at those agencies with at least 15 claims processed during an October 2012 audit period, before jumping to 18 percent in the busier claims month of January 2013. “To help improve on all errors, we do outreach through agency benefits officers, and we’ve provided information and training on application preparation,” Zawodny said. In addition to the performance of agencies and OPM, a third aspect of the challenge of expediting claims are the actions of federal employees in preparing their retirement claims, with some saying that federal workers are often their own worst enemies in ensuring that their claims applications are processed in a timely manner. See our story on p. 26 and additional NARFE website content that examine what federal employees can do to be their own best friends in expediting the processing of their retirement papers. –David Tobenkin is a freelance writer based in the Washington, DC, area. w w w. n ar f e . o r g

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speeding the

Retirement Journey

Making the F

Right Moves

ederal employees themselves play a vital role in helping to ensure that their federal retirement claims get to the finish line as quickly as possible. To help them prepare for this process, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) developed a checklist to highlight some of the most important documents and information that they need. In a March 2012 meeting with NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin and NARFE staff, OPM Director John Berry emphasized the role of employees in expediting retirement claims processing by getting their files right. “No one knows their file better than the employee,” Berry pointed out. At that meeting, Berry noted that OPM was preparing a checklist for employees, and NARFE pledged to publish it in narfe magazine and on the NARFE website. OPM’s checklist appears on p. 27. It also may be found at www.narfe.org/federalbenefits, along with additional OPM guidance. Beyond these tips and documents, here are some additional general suggestions that consultants and others say can help expedite the processing of retirement claims and get you to to the finish line faster.

START YOUR PLANNING EARLY

The first, nearly all agree, is to start early enough. “The biggest piece of advice is to start early and to carefully review the documents to make sure you understand them,” says Joyce Pieritz, service officer of NARFE Chapter 1270 in Woodbridge, VA, and a former human resources employee for more than 25 years at nine different agencies. “I also recommend they review their Official Personnel Folders at least a year prior to retirement to ensure that all service is accounted for.” She and other retirement claims experts say that federal employees should take advantage, early and often, of training offered 26

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by their agencies on the retirement process. “Many employees seem to think of retirement as a date way off into the distance, and that they will have plenty of time to take care of everything. Then before they know it, 30-plus years have gone by, and they are sitting down with a retirement counselor discussing their annuity estimate,” said Margie Bishop, until recently a retirement counselor at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and John Zimmermann, supervisory human resources benefits specialist at the same agency,

The biggest piece of advice is to start early ... in a written response to a query about retirement claims processing. “The same is true for those wishing to make a military or civilian deposit. Many wait to take any action until right before they retire,” said Bishop and Zimmermann. “The deposit processes take a long time, and it is to the employee’s advantage to make them well ahead of their retirement date. Although they can make those deposits post-retirement, it will definitely cause a delay in the processing of their retirement package and receipt of their final annuity.” Employment at multiple agencies, breaks in service, transfers, changes from the Civil Service Retirement System to the Federal Employees Retirement System, different types of appointments (e.g., seasonal, part time, full time), and divorces


OPM’s Retirement Checklist

The Office of Personnel Management supplied narfe magazine with the checklist below to assist federal employees preparing retirement claims. There also is important additional information from OPM related to this list on the NARFE website at www.narfe.org/federal benefits.

CSRS Employees

Service information such as: • Complete Individual Retirement Records (IRR) for covered service • Federal Insurance Compensation Act (FICA) earnings or pay rates, including Executive Order (EO) adjustments • Intermittent/WAE (While Actually Employed) hours or days worked • Part-time hours worked • Five years of congressional service or court-ordered award, when applicable

• Post-56 Military Deposit IRR paid in full • Social Security Administration verification if Post-56 Military Deposit is not paid and within three months of age 62 or older Offset information, when applicable, such as: • Health Benefits Premium Conversion (HBPC) breakdown for offset service beginning with calendar year 2004 • Offset amount received for offset cases age 62 or older

Health Benefit and Life Insurance information such as: • Proof of five years’ health benefits coverage • Health benefit waiver of five years for Discontinued Service Retirement (DSR) or Early Out • Health benefit code • Proof of five years’ life insurance coverage • Required signatures and accuracy on Standard Forms 2821, 2818 and designation forms

Other miscellaneous information, when applicable, such as: • Early-out authorization number • Agency certification for special retirement programs, such as air traffic controllers (ATC), law enforcement officers (LEO), firefighters, nuclear material couriers, customs and border protection officers (CBPO) • ATC: Retirement Standard Form 50

Application including: • Required signatures on Standard Form 2801 • Annuitant election and spousal consent agreement • Spousal consent signed and notarized on the same date • Former spouse with courtawarded benefit, when applicable

Service information such as: • Complete Individual Retirement Records (IRR) for covered service • Federal Insurance Compensation Act (FICA) earnings or pay rates, including Executive Order (EO) adjustments • Intermittent/WAE (While Actually Employed) hours or days worked • Part-time hours worked • Five years of congressional service or court-ordered award, when applicable

When applicable, military information such as: • DD-214s noting character of service or military orders

FERS Employees

Health Benefit and Life Insurance information such as: • Proof of five years’ health benefits coverage • Health benefit waiver of five years for Discontinued Service Retirement (DSR) or Early Out • Health benefit code • Proof of five years’ life insurance coverage • Required signatures and accuracy on Standard Forms 2821, 2818 and designation of beneficiary forms Application including: • Required signatures on Standard Forms 3107, 3107-2 • Annuitant election and spousal consent agreement • Spousal consent signed and notarized on the same date • Former spouse with courtawarded benefit, when applicable When applicable, military information such as: • DD-214s noting character of service or military orders • Post-56 Military deposit IRR paid in full Other miscellaneous information, when applicable, such as: • Early-out authorization number • Agency certification for special retirement plans for air traffic controllers (ATC), law enforcement officers (LEO), firefighters, nuclear material couriers, and customs and border protection officers (CBPO) • ATC: Retirement Standard Form 50

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speeding the

Retirement Journey

and other legal issues will increase the amount of documentation required, the potential for errors to creep in and the amount of time it likely will take to prepare the claim. Claimants with complicated claims should start planning ahead and may wish to ask for processing of their claim by a more experienced human resources officer.

TAKE CHARGE OF THE PROCESS

Second, Pieritz and others say that federal employees need to take charge of the retirement claims process. “You can ask for any document in your personnel folder, and you should keep your own personal file,” says Tammy Flanagan, senior benefits director at the National Institute of Transition Planning, Inc., a Rockville, MD-based provider of seminars on benefits for federal employees. “More recently, agencies have created electronic personnel folders, but you should double-check them. Older records were on paper and had to be scanned in. I saw a recent case where something was dropped off when it was scanned in – there was only the name and Social Security number – nothing was captured. He had to rely on his own records that he fortunately had saved.” Employees also should ask for a copy of the retirement package submitted by their agency to OPM. This will be essential to ensuring clear communications with OPM personnel working on their claims in the event there are questions, as OPM personnel will be working off that document, Flanagan says. Another clear requirement is paying attention to detail in filling out the claims application form. “Some employees will skip a section of the application where it says what type of benefits you want, 28

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such as benefits to survivors,” says Flanagan, who also is a former retirement specialist at the FBI. “If that is not filled out, OPM returns it, and you have to fill it out before they will process it. This applies even if you are single.” NARFE chapter service officers also can be a key source of support, though sometimes NARFE members will have to look outside of their particular chapter for help, says Pieritz, as not every chapter has a service officer, and not every service officer has a background in benefits. “Some are learning as they go, and sometimes problems crop up where they, too, don’t have the depth of knowledge,” she says. “Every state federation within NARFE has a service officer, and they can be a resource for the chapter service officer or chapter member. They, too, have varying levels of knowledge. If all else fails, chapter and state service officers can contact NARFE Headquarters, where there are staff members who can liaison with OPM and who can find out things for us.” narfe magazine’s “Questions & Answers” section also includes answers to some commonly asked questions.

PROVIDE COMPLETE AND ACCURATE INFORMATION

It also is important that retiring federal employees give accurate contact information to OPM with their initial claim and provide updates in the event of subsequent moves. This allows OPM to follow up in the event the agency needs additional information, Flanagan says. Retiring federal employees also should check the work of others, including that of staff at their own agencies and OPM. As the accompanying story on the current state of the retirement claims backlog at OPM makes clear, a significant percentage of agency retirement submissions include errors. –By David Tobenkin

ONLINE BONUS. Read comments from your NARFE colleagues about what they learned through their efforts to expedite processing of their own retirement claims. Go to www.narfe.org/narfemagazine and click on “Online Bonus Articles.”


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Congress Won’t Roll Over on

TSP Fix Workers Want to Put Unused Annual Leave into Thrift Accounts

By Steve Bates 30

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It seems like such a good idea: allow retiring federal employees to roll over their unused annual leave into their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) accounts. It would increase their retirement nest egg and boost their long-term financial stability. After all, private-sector employers already have the option of allowing such annual leave rollovers – and the private sector often lags behind the federal government on employee benefits issues. The TSP rollover proposal is supported by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB), which administers the TSP for more than 4.6 million participating federal workers and retirees. But timing is everything, and the timing for the leave rollover proposal couldn’t have been worse, even though it had bipartisan backing. It emerged in the form of legislation during 2010 as the nation was struggling through a deep recession, and Congress began looking more closely at federal government employees as a target for budget cuts rather than as a group deserving benefits enhancements. That climate had not changed significantly as the 113th Congress began work in January 2013, leaving supporters of the rollover provision uncertain when they might be able to accomplish the goal. “It would be nice,” says Jessica Klement, NARFE legislative director, who says that it was unclear whether the rollover issue would be a priority for lawmakers early in the congressional term. The rollover provision “would be very helpful to retiring employees,” agrees Tammy Flanagan, senior benefits director of the National Institute of Transition Planning, Inc., which conducts federal retirement planning workshops and seminars. In

addition to the fact that the rollover would boost workers’ retirement savings, employees “like the idea of shielding that money from taxes” by investing it in the TSP, she says.

ROLLOVER BILL INTRODUCED IN 2010

The 2010 legislation was introduced by Reps. Stephen F. Lynch, D-MA, and Jason Chaffetz, R-UT. In July 2011, NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin testified in support of the rollover legislation before the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and Labor Policy. He urged adoption of the bill “as a matter of equity.” But the measure never reached the House floor. The rollover provision was added to other bills on several occasions in the 112th Congress, as recently as December 2012 during the debate on the fiscal cliff. The measure won approval in the House but ultimately was shelved. Klement says it’s possible that the rollover provision could be introduced as a stand-alone bill in 2013. “I certainly can see it being rolled into other pieces of legislation” during the current congressional term, she adds. As of early 2013, no such action had occurred. Klement says that the annual leave rollover option is something that federal employees deserve – particularly because their private-sector counterparts have the ability to do so.

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Congress Won’t Roll Over on

TSP Fix

Kim Weaver, director of external affairs for the FRTIB, also says that the rollover provision “is an option that federal employees should have. It’s something people have wanted. We support it. Clearly, the House has supported the concept,” she says. But paying for the proposal – known in congressional lingo as finding the offset – remains a sticking point, note Klement and Weaver.

ANNUAL LEAVE ADDS UP

Full-time federal employees earn four hours of annual, or vacation, leave during each pay period during their first three years of service. For the next 12 years, they accrue six hours for each pay period. Those with 15 or more years of service receive eight hours of annual leave each pay period. Employees can carry over some of their unused annual leave from year to year. Those stationed in the United States generally can carry over 280 hours of vacation leave. The numbers are higher for those based overseas and for senior executives. Some employees would be able to roll over more than 200 hours of leave into TSP accounts upon retirement. When federal workers leave government service for the private sector or simply retire, typically, they are reimbursed for all unused annual leave as a lump sum based on their salary at the time. It is taxed like other income received. Under the rollover proposal, retirees would have the option of folding that money into their TSP accounts. The funds would not be taxed until withdrawn from the thrift account – unless the money is invested in a Roth fund under the TSP (see story, p. 34). The rollover investments would be subject to annual thrift plan contribution limits. The elective deferral limit for calendar year 2013 is $17,500. However, employees age 50 and older can contribute up to $5,500 more under so-called “catch-up” provisions. The 2010 legislation that would have permitted the rollover of annual leave would have allowed federal employees to put bonuses into their thrift accounts as well. In the grand scheme of things, the proposed TSP change would be neither expensive nor radical, advocates say. The Congressional Budget Office pegged the cost at $387 million over 10 years. That’s million – as opposed to the billions and trillions on the minds of many inside the Capital Beltway. 32

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“By Congress’ standard, that’s not a lot of money,” says Klement. However, rather than bolster federal employees, some in Congress have targeted them for cuts to help close budget gaps. Pay freezes have been implemented and continue to be discussed frequently. Furloughs were becoming more likely in early 2013 because of pending sequestration budget cuts. There have been proposals to force federal employees to contribute more toward their retirement annuity, though, to date, that change has been approved only for workers hired after 2012.

RECENT THRIFT PLAN CHANGES

The annual leave rollover proposal is one of several changes to the TSP that have surfaced in recent years. Some have been implemented, including: • Elimination of the waiting period for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) workers to receive matching contributions from the government. • Automatic enrollment of 3 percent of salary to the TSP’s G Fund, with a federal match, when a worker is hired – unless he or she opts out of the program. • Giving a spouse the option of leaving the death benefit payment in a TSP account in his or her name upon the federal employee’s death. A proposal to create a mutual fund window for TSP participants was still being studied by the FRTIB in early 2013. Employees would be permitted to invest some of their thrift plan contributions in mutual funds outside of the TSP. Employees would bear all expenses related to the investments. One of the most significant changes, authorized by the 2009 TSP Enhancement Act, was the Roth investment option, similar to a like-named option in the private sector. When employees contribute earnings to a Roth account, the money is taxed. However, it is not taxed when withdrawn in retirement. A separate proposal to allow federal workers to shift funds from regular TSP investments into a TSP Roth account has been raised. If it is approved, employees would pay taxes on those funds when they are transferred. Other proposals to change the TSP have surfaced through the Employee Thrift Advisory Council (ETAC) and through suggestions by individual federal employees. NARFE has a seat on the ETAC. “Federal employees, as a whole, are not shy,” says Weaver. They and ETAC members have raised ideas for


improving the TSP, and some of them have been adopted over the years, she adds. Employees have suggested very specific changes, such as creating investment options for socially responsible investments, for buying gold and for investing in real estate investment trusts. Those have been rejected. The reason: TSP administrators want to keep the program simple. They, and some others who follow the TSP’s management, note that the thrift plan has been highly stable and successful. “Our motto is: Helping employees retire with dignity,” says Weaver. “We are doing them a service.” Arthur Stein, a certified financial planner in the

Washington, DC, area, says the TSP is on the right track. “It’s simple. It’s better than having too many choices.” He adds that the low administrative costs of the TSP help make it an effective vehicle for employees to build retirement nest eggs. Comments David Snell, director of NARFE’s Federal Benefits Service Department: “The TSP has always been sensitive to the needs of the many.”

AN INVESTMENT ROLLER COASTER

Despite the overall success of the TSP, individual employees’ accounts have not all risen steadily. The market’s volatility in recent years is a big reason. Meanwhile,

THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN INVESTMENT FUNDS The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) offers several investment funds. Though there have been calls for adding options, TSP administrators have been hesitant to make the plan too complicated. With $326 billion, the TSP is, by far, the largest retirement fund in the United States. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) has rejected proposals to add specialty investment funds, such as one for socially responsible investments, one for gold and one for real estate investment trusts, says Director of External Affairs Kim Weaver. “Many of these funds are subsumed” in other funds offered by the TSP, she adds. And nothing prevents workers from using their own cash for such investments outside of the thrift plan. The FRTIB was studying an additional option, a mutual fund window, in early 2013, says Weaver. Favored in particular by young employees, it would allow investments in mutual funds outside of the TSP. Here are current employee investment choices under the TSP: G Fund: The Government Securities Fund. These are unique government securities not available to the general public and are managed by the FRTIB. The G Fund was the initial fund established by the TSP in 1987. F Fund: Fixed Income Index Fund. Invested in BlackRock’s U.S. Debt Index Fund. The F Fund was limited until 1991. C Fund: Common Stock Index Fund. Invested in BlackRock’s Equity Index Fund. This replicates the S&P 500 index. S Fund: Small Capitalization Stock Index Fund. Invested in BlackRock’s Extended Market Index Fund, which tracks the Dow Jones U.S. Completion TSM (Total Stock Market) index. I Fund: International Stock Index Fund. Invested in BlackRock’s EAFE (Europe, Australasia and Far East) Index Fund. Lifecycle Funds: In 2005, the TSP introduced the Lifecycle Fund series to allow for automatic reallocation of assets from relatively risky stock funds (the C, I and S Funds) into less-risky income funds (the F and G Funds) as an employee approaches retirement age. The L Funds are invested in the five individual TSP funds based on professionally determined asset allocations. Many private-sector 401(k) plans offer lifecycle funds.


IS A ROTH PLAN RIGHT FOR YOU? In 2012, the TSP added a Roth TSP account. Whereas traditional TSP accounts — and private-sector 401(k) accounts — feature investments that are not taxed until the funds are withdrawn, with Roth accounts, the investments are taxed when contributed. Roth plans are considered good investments for people who believe that their tax rates will increase significantly by the time they retire and who can afford to pay taxes on the contributions when invested. With the creation of the Roth option, federal employees can have two types of TSP accounts: traditional thrift plan accounts and Roth accounts. Roth funds can be withdrawn tax-free only if the employee’s first Roth contribution were made at least five years earlier, and if the employee is age 59-½ or older, is disabled or is deceased. And government matching contributions are still made with pre-tax funds. “Roth accounts can be very advantageous, particularly for young employees,” says Arthur Stein, a certified financial planner in the Washington, DC, area. “It was very good that they added that.” A separate proposal would allow federal employees to take funds invested in non-Roth TSP accounts and roll them into Roth TSP accounts. If that were approved by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, employees would have to pay income tax on the amounts moved into the Roth accounts.

some federal workers have borrowed money from their accounts. Others pulled back on stocks when the recession hit or when the fiscal cliff loomed in late 2012. Such actions can provide significant setbacks to long-term earnings. The TSP is often referred to as the third leg of the “retirement stool” under FERS, after the basic retirement annuity and Social Security. The retirement annuity, which for government workers is indexed to inflation, is a defined-benefit plan. Workers have a good idea about how much they can expect to receive from it after they retire. Because the basic annuity and Social Security are outside the control of the individual employee, it is through 34

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the TSP that he or she can make significant improvements to retirement savings. The government matches employee contributions to TSP accounts dollar for dollar for the first 3 percent of annual pay and 50 cents for each dollar of employee contribution up to 5 percent of base pay. There are several funds for TSP investments (see story, p. 33). All new money going into TSP accounts is invested automatically in the G Fund – known as the Government Securities Fund – unless the employee designates a different investment. This is a mix of government securities not available to the general public, and is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Even if Congress were to enact the annual leave rollover provision, it’s not clear how many retiring federal employees would take advantage of it. Some retirees are surprised to find that it can take months for them to start receiving their full monthly retirement annuity checks, so a lump-sum payment for unused annual leave can come in handy during that period (see cover story, p. 22).

MANY EMPLOYEES DON'T PLAN ADEQUATELY

That’s not the only surprise that federal workers and retirees face when it comes to finances. Some have never come up with a good plan and find themselves well short of what they need as they approach retirement. “Everybody’s living longer,” so people need more retirement assets than they had expected a decade or two ago, notes Snell. And many people don’t realize that, in retirement, they will need 70-80 percent of their working salary. “The information is there for federal employees to be savvy about saving for retirement,” says Snell. But more workers need to educate themselves about solid retirement planning – and they definitely should not wait until they are approaching retirement age to start the process. “Most people aren’t putting in enough” into their TSP accounts, says Stein. With matching funds, “even if they just put in 5 percent, they are, in effect, investing 10 percent of salary.” “Young folks are the biggest problem, especially in the Washington area, where the cost of living is so high,” says Flanagan. “You have to start planning when you’re hired.” —Steve Bates is a freelance journalist in the Washington, DC, area. He is a former writer and editor for numerous print and online publications, including The Washington Post.


NARFE’s CONGRESSIONAL DIRECTORY for the 113th Congress (2013-2014) Congressional Information: • Listing of members of Congress by state delegation, with color photos, biographical data and congressional district maps. • Members’ contact information, including addresses, phone and fax numbers, website addresses, district offices and key staffers. • How Congress is organized and operates, with complete listing of committees, subcommittees and leadership. • Contact information for the White House, Cabinet, Supreme Court and federal agencies. … And customized for NARFE members

Special insert with NARFE-specific information and data to be used for grass-roots advocacy.

Order your copy of the new Congressional Directory today! Clip and mail to: NARFE Congressional Directory, 606 N. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 Name __________________________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________________________ City __________________________________________State ______ZIP ___________

Quantity ___________

Member ID# (As it appears on narfe magazine label) __________________________

$20 each (includes shipping and handling)

❏ Check or cash enclosed ❏ Charge to my credit card

VA sales tax ________

❏ MasterCard

❏ Visa

❏ Discover

❏ AMEX

Card # _________________________________________________________________ Exp. Date

VA residents add 5% tax ($1) per book

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(yy)

Name on card (print) ____________________________________________________

Total cost __________

Signature ____________________________________________ Date _____________

MAIL ORDER ONLY—NO PHONE ORDERS, PLEASE—make checks payable to NARFE *Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery


Special Section

State Tax Treatment

Federal

States With No Personal Income Taxes Alaska Florida Nevada

New Hampshire1 South Dakota Tennessee2

1 New Hampshire: Taxes interest/dividend income at 5% if it exceeds $2,400 (single) or $4,800 (couple). $1,200 exemption for residents age 65+.

Texas Washington Wyoming

2 Tennessee: Taxes certain interest/dividend income at 6% if it exceeds $1,250 (single) or $2,500 (couple).

States Exempting Total Amount of Civil Service Annuities Alabama Hawaii Illinois Kansas Kentucky1

Louisiana Massachusetts Michigan2 Mississippi New York

1 Kentucky: Amount attributable to service prior to January 1, 1998, is exempt. See below for taxation of annuities attributable to service on or after January 1, 1998. 2 Michigan: Full exemption only applicable to taxpayers born before 1946. See below for taxation of federal (and other) pension income for taxpayers born 1946 and later.

Other Exemptions Note: AGI=Adjusted Gross Income CSRS=Civil Service Retirement System FERS=Federal Employees Retirement System HH=Head of Household IRA=Individual Retirement Account MFJ=Married Filing Jointly MFS=Married Filing Separately QW=Qualified Widow(er) RR=Railroad Retirement SS=Social Security

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North Carolina3 Oregon4 Pennsylvania Tennessee

3 North Carolina: Annuities not taxed if the individual had five years of government service as of August 12, 1989. If otherwise, see below. 4 Oregon: Annuities of those who retired before October 1, 1991, are not taxed. Those who retired after October 1, 1991, are taxed only on that portion of the annuity attributable to government service after October 1, 1991.

Alabama: SS is exempt. Income from defined-benefit pension plans is exempt. Arizona: $2,500 exclusion for federal, military, and Arizona state and local pension income. SS and RR are exempt. Additional personal exemption for all residents age 65+. Arkansas: Exempts up to $6,000 in federal civil service, military, instate and out-of-state state or local government, and private pension income. IRA distributions can be included as part of the exemption if the taxpayer is age 59-1/2+. SS and Tier 1 and Tier 2 RR benefits are exempt. Additional $23 exemption for residents age 65+.

California: SS and RR are exempt. Additional $104 personal exemption for residents age 65+. Residents age 65+ with AGI below $66,391 who qualified as HH in 2010 or 2011 by providing a household for a qualifying individual who died during 2010 or 2011 may claim a tax credit of 2% of their income, up to a maximum of $1,251. All private and public pensions are taxed. Colorado: $20,000 pension/ annuity exemption for all taxpayers between the ages of 55 and 64. $24,000 pension/annuity exemption for all taxpayers age 65+. Connecticut: SS is exempt if federal AGI is $50,000 or less (if single


Tax Year

Annuities or MFS), or $60,000 or less (if MFJ, HH or QW with dependent child). Exempts 50% of federally taxable military retirement pay. Delaware: Taxpayers age 60+ may exclude $12,500 of investment and qualified pension income (including out-of-state and federal government pensions), and qualify for an additional tax credit of $110. Taxpayers under age 60 may exclude $2,000. Taxpayers age 65+ (or blind) are entitled to an additional standard deduction of $2,500 (if not itemizing). Single or MFS taxpayers age 60+ as of December 31, 2011, or totally disabled, may exclude $2,000 if earned income is less than $2,500, and AGI is $10,000 or less. If MFJ and both spouses are age 60+ as of December 31, 2011, or totally disabled, may exclude $4,000 if earned income is less than $5,000, and AGI is $20,000 or less. SS and RR are exempt. District of Columbia: Taxpayers age 62+ may exclude $3,000 of military, federal and DC government pensions. For taxpayers age 62+, DC or federal government survivor benefits are exempt from DC tax. SS and Tier 1 RR are exempt. Georgia: Taxpayers who are age 6264 years, or permanently and totally disabled regardless of age, may exclude $35,000 of retirement income. For taxpayers age 65+, the retirement income tax exclusion is $65,000 in 2012, and will be $100,000 in 2013, $150,000 in 2014, $200,000 in 2015 and unlimited thereafter. Retirement income includes income from pensions and annuities, interest income, dividend income, net income from rental property, capital gains income and income from royalties. Up to $4,000 of the maximum allowable exclusion may be earned income. SS is exempt. Photo illustrations by Jim Richards

This roundup of state tax treatment of federal annuities and other tax information was compiled by the NARFE Legislative Department. It is presented for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional tax advice. Please consult a tax professional for advice in preparing tax returns. The information also is available on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org.

Hawaii: SS and Tier 1 RR benefits are exempt. Additional personal exemption of $1,040 per person age 65+. Idaho: SS and RR are exempt. Retirement benefits deduction available for CSRS annuitants who established CSRS eligibility prior to 1984, who are age 65+, or 62+ and disabled, in the amount of $30,156 (if single) or $45,234 (MFJ) minus SS and RR received. Persons using MFS status are not eligible for the retirement benefits deduction. Add $1,150 to standard deduction if age 65+ and MFS, MFJ or QW; add $1,450 if age 65+ and single or HH. Illinois: SS and RR and income from any qualified employee benefit plan are exempt. Indiana: SS and RR benefits are exempt. Taxpayers age 60+ may exclude up to $5,000 of military retirement income. Taxpayers age 62+ may deduct up to $2,000 of a federal civil service annuity minus the total amount of any SS or RR benefits. Additional personal exemption of $1,000 or $1,500 if federal AGI is less than $40,000 for residents age 65+. May deduct from income premiums paid for long-term care insurance through the Indiana Partnership. Iowa: Taxpayers age 55+ may exclude up to $6,000 (if single) or $12,000 (if MFJ) of pension or annuity income, self-employed retirement plan income, deferred compensation, IRA benefits or other retirement plan benefit income (not including SS). 67% of federally taxable SS benefits are excluded. RR benefits are exempt but used to calculate amount of federally taxable SS benefits. Additional $20 personal exemption credit for those age 65+. Kansas: RR, military, in-state/local

pensions are exempt. SS is exempt if federal AGI is $75,000 or less; otherwise, only federally taxable benefits taxed. Additional $850 deduction for those age 65+. Kentucky: Federal civil service and military retirement annuities attributable to service prior to January 1, 1998, are excluded. Annuities attributable to service after January 1, 1998, are included as pension income, of which taxpayers may exclude up to $41,110. SS and RR benefits are exempt. Louisiana: SS is exempt. Federal annuities are exempt. In addition, persons age 65+ may exclude up to $6,000 of annual retirement income from their taxable income. Taxpayers MFJ and both age 65+ can each exclude up to $6,000 of annual retirement income. If only one spouse has retirement income, the total exclusion is limited to $6,000. Maine: SS and RR are exempt. May deduct $6,000 of eligible pension income, including federal civil service annuity income, from federal AGI. Except for military income, the $6,000 deduction must be reduced for SS and RR benefits. Additional standard deductions: for individuals, $1,450 if age 65+; for MFS, MFJ or QW, $1,150 per spouse or person who is age 65+. Longterm care premiums are deductible. Maryland: SS and RR are exempt. If age 65+, may exclude up to $27,100 in pension income, reduced by SS or RR benefits. Additional $1,000 exemption for residents age 65+. Additional $5,000 exemption for military retirement income received by an individual of any age or the surviving spouse or ex-spouse of the individual, if the individual was a member of an active or reserve component of the U.S. military, w w w. n ar f e . o r g

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an active duty member of the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, or a member of the Maryland National Guard. Massachusetts: SS is exempt. Additional exemption of $700 for individuals age 65+. Michigan: For taxpayers born before 1946, SS, RR, military retirement annuity, and all state and federal pension income is exempt. Private pension income is exempt up to $47,842 (individual filers) or $91,684 (MFJ), reduced by the amount of any public pension deduction claimed. Also may deduct interest, dividends and capital gains up to $10,545 (individual filers) or $21,091 (MFJ). For taxpayers born in 1946-1952, before the taxpayer reaches age 67, public and private pension income is exempt only up to $20,000 (single) or $40,000 (MFJ), and no deduction is allowed for interest, dividends and capital gains. After reaching age 67, taxpayers born in 1946-1952 will be allowed a $20,000 (single) or $40,000 (MFJ) subtraction against all income, but are ineligible for this income subtraction if claiming a military or Tier 2 RR pension exclusion. For taxpayers born in 1953 or later, SS, RR and military pensions are exempt. But there will be no public or private pension exemption or interest, dividends and capital gains exemption before the individual reaches age 67. Once 67, those taxpayers may elect either to exempt up to $20,000 (single) or $40,000 (MFJ) without any exemption for SS, RR or military retirement and no personal exemptions, or they may elect to exempt SS, military and RR and claim personal exemptions. Full details are available at www. michigan.gov/documents/taxes/Tax_ Change_Summaries_-_Retirement _Exemptions_359799_7.pdf 38

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Minnesota: RR is exempt. SS is taxed as taxed on federal return. Mississippi: Qualified retirement income (including civil service annuities and SS) is exempt. Additional exemption of $1,500 for residents age 65+. Missouri: Taxpayers with AGI under $85,000 (single, HH, MFS, QW) or $100,000 (MFJ) may exempt the greater of $6,000 or 100% of any federal, state or local pension income, up to a maximum of $35,234 per taxpayer. Taxpayers with AGI under $25,000 (single, HH, QW) or $32,000 (MFJ) or $16,000 (MFS) may exempt $6,000 of private pension income. Taxpayers with AGI over these limits must reduce their private pension exemption dollar for dollar as income exceeds the limit.  Taxpayers age 62+ or disabled with an AGI under $85,000 (single, HH, MFS, QW) or $100,000 (MFJ) may exempt 100% of the taxable amount of SS or SS disability benefits, but must reduce the exemption dollar for dollar as income exceeds the limit. Additional exemption (45%) for military pension income. Montana: Taxpayers with AGI under $31,920 may exclude $3,830 of pension income; for AGI above $31,920, the pension income exclusion is reduced $2 for every $1 of AGI above $31,920. RR benefits are exempt. Additional exemption of $2,240 if age 65+. Taxpayers age 65+ may exempt $800 of interest income reported as federal AGI or $1,600 if MFJ. Nebraska: Tier I and II RR benefits are exempt. New Jersey: Taxpayers age 62+ may exclude up to $10,000 (MFS), $15,000 (single) or $20,000 (MFJ) of pensions, annuities and IRA withdrawals, provided gross income is not over $100,000. In addition, taxpayers age 62+ with earned income (from wages, net business profits, distributive share of partnership income and net pro-rata share of S corporation

income) of $3,000 or less, and with gross income not over $100,000, may exclude other nonpension retirement income up to the maximum exclusion amount. SS and RR benefits are exempt, reported as pension income. If ineligible for SS or RR, entitled to deduct an additional $3,000 (single, MFS) or $6,000 (MFJ, HH, QW). Military pensions are exempt. Additional $1,000 personal exemption for residents age 65+. If taxpayers can recover all civil service retirement contributions in the first three years, can use the three-year rule, in which annuities are not taxed until total employee contributions have been recovered. If not, must use the general rule method, in which a portion of annuity is excluded from taxation. New Mexico: Taxpayers age 65+ or blind may qualify for additional exemption of $8,000 if federal AGI is less than $15,000 (MFS), $18,000 (single) or $30,000 (MFJ, HH, QW). The exemption reduces as income increases, with no exemption if income is over $25,500 (MFS), $28,500 (single) or $51,000 (MFJ). RR is exempt. If age 100+, exempt from state income tax but only if centenarian cannot be claimed as a dependent by someone else. New York: State and federal pensions exempt completely. An additional pension and annuity income exclusion of up to $20,000 is available to persons age 59-1/2+ as of January 1, 2012. SS and RR are exempt. North Carolina: Pursuant to the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision in Bailey v. State of North Carolina, the state may not tax certain retirement benefits received by federal civil service and military retirees or retirees of the state of North Carolina and its local governments, if the retiree has five or more years of creditable service as of August 12, 1989. If retirees in those categories did not have five years of service as of August 12, 1989,


Tax Year

they may deduct the amount included in federal taxable income or $4,000, whichever is less. This deduction also applies to retirement benefits paid to former teachers and state employees of other states and their political subdivisions regardless of the five-year service date. If MFJ and both spouses received federal, state or local government retirement benefits, each may deduct up to a maximum of $4,000. If an individual’s federal taxable income includes retirement benefits from a private retirement plan, a deduction of up to $2,000 may be available. If an individual received both government and private retirement benefits, the maximum deduction is the total amount included in federal taxable income or $4,000, whichever is less. North Dakota: RR is exempt. May exclude 30% of net long-term capital gains and qualified dividends. Ohio: SS and RR are exempt. General retirement income credit available in an amount starting at $25, if qualifying retirement income is at least $500, and maxing out at $200, if qualifying retirement income is $8,000 or more. Residents age 65+ are entitled to a $50 tax credit per return. Military pension income is exempt. Taxpayers who served in the military and receive a federal civil service retirement pension are eligible for a limited deduction if any portion of their federal retirement pay is based on credit for their military service. These retirees can deduct the percentage (in terms of years of service) of the amount of their federal retirement pay that is attributable to their military service. Oklahoma: Each individual may exclude 100% of retirement benefits received from federal CSRS, including survivor benefits, paid in lieu of Social Security to the extent that these benefits are included in the federal AGI. Note: Retirement benefits paid under FERS do not qualify for this

exclusion. However, for retirement benefits containing both a FERS and a CSRS component, the CSRS component will qualify for the exclusion. Individuals may exclude their FERS retirement benefits or Oklahoma state employment retirement benefits up to $10,000. Individuals may exclude the greater of 75% of their military retirement benefits or $10,000. SS is exempt. Oregon: Taxpayers age 62+ may qualify for retirement income credit (see worksheet regarding line 34) or elderly tax credit (40% of federal credit), but may not claim both. SS and RR benefits are exempt. Additional standard deduction if age 65+ of $1,200 (single, HH), $1,000 each spouse age 65+ (MFJ, MFS and QW). Pennsylvania: Retirement income is not taxed after age 59-1/2. Rhode Island: RR is exempt. South Carolina: If below age 65, may deduct $3,000 of qualified retirement income. If age 65+, may deduct $10,000 of qualified retirement income. All individuals age 65+ are entitled to a $15,000 deduction from income, reduced by any deduction claimed for qualified retirement income. SS and RR are exempt. Tennessee: Tax applies only to certain interest and dividend income, not wages and salary or pension income. Any person age 65+ is taxexempt if total annual income, from any and all sources, is $26,200 or less, or $37,000 or less for joint filers. Utah: Taxpayers age 65+ may be entitled to a retirement credit of up to $450 ($900 MFJ), which is phased out at income levels of $16,000 (MFS), $25,000 (single) and $32,000 (MFJ). Taxpayers under age 65, born before January 1, 1953, and with eligible retirement income may qualify for a credit up to 6% of eligible retirement income with a cap of $288, which

is phased out starting at income levels of $16,000 (MFS), $25,000 (single) and $32,000 (MFJ). Vermont: RR is exempt. Virginia: Taxpayers age 65+ whose birthdate is on or before January 1, 1939, may claim an age deduction of $12,000 (available for each person or spouse if MFJ). If birthdate is on or between January 2, 1939, and January 1, 1948, the $12,000 age deduction is reduced by $1 for every $1 that adjusted federal AGI exceeds $50,000 (single) or $75,000 (MFJ, MFS). SS and Tier I RR benefits are exempt. Additional personal exemption of $800 if age 65+ or blind. Long-term care premiums are eligible for deduction. West Virginia: $2,000 of military, federal civil service and state pensions are exempt. Taxpayers age 65+ or surviving spouses may exclude the first $8,000 each of any income. Additional modification for military pension income for the first $20,000. RR is exempt. Wisconsin: Federal civil service retirement payments are exempt from state income tax if: 1) individual retired from the system before January 1, 1964; 2) individual was a member of the system as of December 31, 1963, retiring at a later date and the payments received are from an account established before 1964; or 3) individual is receiving payments from the system as a beneficiary (survivor) of an individual who met condition 1 or 2. If age 65+, may exempt up to $5,000 of retirement income if federal AGI is less than $15,000 or $30,000 (MFJ). Additional personal exemption of $250 if age 65+. SS and RR benefits are exempt. Military retirement pay and retirement pay related to service with the Coast Guard, the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service are exempt. w w w. n ar f e . o r g

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HEAR TH THE SO A GREAT COST EX AMPLE : PHONAK S SMART III ( RETAIL PRICE $4,050 PER PAIR )

2,190

$

MemberPlus Price/Pair

Benefit Plan hearing 2,190 Service benefit(up to $2,500 )

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Appointments Must Be Scheduled Through TruHearing. MemberPlus Membership fee waived * Savings compared to national average retail price. Survey completed January 2012. Price shown does not include cost of comprehensive hearing exam. Examination and testing for fitting of hearing aids is covered under the Service Benefit Plan. The Insured may need to submit for reimbursement. Service Benefit Plan members get the TruHearing MemberPlus membership fee waived through December 15, 2013. $108 is the regular yearly cost for the TruHearing MemberPlus membership. Must be a Service Benefit Plan member to access TruHearing MemberPlus discounted pricing. State and Local taxes and/or fees may apply.

§ The Service Benefit Plan will pay a hearing aid benefit up to $2,500 total every 3 calendar years for adults age 22 and over. Hearing aid benefits for Service Benefit Plan members up to age 22 is $2,500 every calendar year. (2013 benefit.) Do not rely on this communication piece alone for complete benefit information. All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations, and exclusions in the Service Benefit Plan brochure. The Blue365® Discount Program offers access to savings on items that you may purchase directly from independent vendors, which may be different from items that

40 | m a r 2 0 1 3 The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.


AT? IT’S UND OF DEAL. 0

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First, become a Service Benefit Plan member. Then, to take advantage of these savings enroll in TruHearing’s MemberPlus program for free online at TruHearing.com/enroll and use group number HP2R-A365. Then call (877) 360-2432 M-F, 8am - 8pm Central to schedule your hearing appointment. TruHearing is an independent company providing discounts on hearing aids. (a $108 value) through 12/31/2013. are covered under your Service Benefit Plan policy or any other applicable federal healthcare program. For hearing aids, acupuncture, chiropractic and vision services, you must exhaust your Service Benefit Plan benefits first. To find out what is covered under your policy, contact the Service Benefit Plan. The products and services described herein are neither offered nor guaranteed under any local Blue company’s contract with the Medicare program. In addition, they are not subject to the Medicare appeal process. Any disputes regarding these products and services are not subject to the Service Benefit Plan’s Disputed Claims process. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

(BCBSA) may receive payments from Blue365 vendors. Neither the Service Benefit Plan, BCBSA, nor any local Blue company recommends, endorses, warrants or guarantees any specific Blue365 vendor or item. The Service Benefit Plan reserves the right to change, modify, or terminate any items and vendors made available through Blue365, at any time.

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

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Managing Money

think of Taxes when Deciding Ss timing

C

onventional wisdom has held that it’s better to start Social Security benefits early and delay for as long as possible taking distributions from tax-

deferred accounts, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), the Thrift Savings Plan and employer-sponsored retirement plans. But many retirees are unaware, or choose to ignore, the consequences that this strategy will have on their after-tax, spendable income. By choosing to claim Social Security benefits early, retirees elect smaller lifetime payments and will, therefore, have to take larger IRA withdrawals to meet their desired income needs. From a tax perspective, this may not be the best choice because Social Security income is not taxed the same as income from tax-deferred retirement plans. In fact, Social Security benefits are tax-free until certain income thresholds are exceeded. Under current law, no more than 85 percent of Social Security benefits may be subject to taxes. Compare this to tax-deferred retirement plan distributions where every dollar distributed is subject to income taxes right out of the gate. For many retirees, consideration should be given to reversing conventional wisdom and, instead, taking distributions from their retirement plan early in order to delay claiming Social Security. By doing so, their after-tax, spendable income can be increased. To understand how this is

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possible, let’s take a look at how the combined income formula is used to determine how much of a retiree’s Social Security benefits are taxed. The formula starts by adding 50 percent of a retiree’s Social Security benefit to his or her other income, such as wages, pensions, investment income and even nontaxable interest. The combined income is then compared to two thresholds to determine how much of a retiree’s Social Security benefit will be taxable. The first threshold is $25,000 for single filers and $34,000 for joint filers. With a combined income below these thresholds, Social Security benefits are completely tax-free. However, once the combined income exceeds the first threshold, up to 50 percent of the Social Security benefits are subject to taxation.

By Mark A. Keen,

CFP®

The second threshold is $32,000 for single filers and $44,000 for joint filers. Up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits are subject to taxation when the combined income exceeds these thresholds. Let’s take a look at how delaying Social Security can produce a higher after-tax income. To do so, we’ll compare the strategy of Retiree A, who claims Social Security at age 62, and Retiree B, who claims it at age 70. We’ll assume that both retirees have a Social Security benefit of $2,000 per month payable at their full retirement age of 66, and both want a gross income of $60,000. Because Retiree A claims his Social Security at age 62, his or her benefit will be reduced by 25 percent, which means that Retiree A will receive $18,000 per year. In order to produce his or her desired $60,000 in income, Retiree A will have to pull $42,000 per year from his or her tax-deferred retirement account. On the other hand, Retiree B delays receipt of his or her Social Security until age 70, so Retiree B’s benefit will increase to $31,680 per year after receiving Delayed Retirement Credits of 8 percent per year from age 66 to 70. With the higher Social Security benefit, Retiree B will have to pull out only $28,320 from his or her IRA each year.


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

By applying the combined income formula, we can calculate that $11,950 of Retiree A’s Social Security will be subject to taxes, whereas only $6,136 of Retiree B’s Social Security will be subject to taxes. When combined with their IRA income, Retiree A’s taxable income will be $53,950 ($42,000 + $11,950), and Retiree B’s taxable income will be $34,456 ($28,320 + $6,136) – a difference of

$19,494. Assuming a federal tax rate of 25 percent, this means that Retiree B will pay $4,874 less in taxes each year. Note that this example ignores any potential cost-of-living adjustments; including them would make delaying more attractive. Furthermore, the example doesn’t factor in that more than half of the states don’t tax Social Security benefits, so the tax savings could be even greater if you live in a state that doesn’t tax Social Security (see Special Report on state taxes on p. 36). Sometimes it pays to think unconventionally. Mark A. Keen, CFP®, is president and owner of Bennett Financial Advisors, 10300 Eaton place, STe. 470, Fairfax, VA, and an investment adviser representative and registered principal of The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. (SFA). Securities and advisory services are offered through SFA. Email: mkeen@tributaryadvisors.com.

Experience the Relaxed Pace of River Cruising with other NARFE Members!

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Don’t Delay!

Elegant Danube River Cruise Alpine Beauty & Bohemian Highlights

14 Days

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Departs: September 2 or 16, 2013 Start in Munich, Germany for one-night. Then travel to Schwangau and a guided tour of the famous Neuschwanstein (Disneyland) Castle and Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, an enchanting, fully preserved medieval town for an overnight stay. The following day you will leave for the Czech Republic stopping in Plzen, where Pilsner beer was created; followed by Bohemia and Prague, where you will see Charles Bridge. The next day travel to Passau and spend the day sightseeing before you embark on the 4-star TUI Melodia. Your cruise includes the Danube’s highlights including Melk and Vienna, Austria (the classical city of music); Esztergom and Budapest Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Linz, Austria; before returning to Passau. Travel back to Munich with additional sightseeing and included traditional Bavarian dinner, before flying home. Your “brand new” ship the TUI Melodia, constructed in 2011, offers a state-of-the-art, experience! On the September 16th departure date, enjoy a guided tour of Oktoberfest and dinner at a local brewery. *Per person, based on double occupancy. Price includes French Balcony, upgrades available. Add $300 for September 16th departure date. Airfare is extra.

For reservations & details call 7 days a week:

1-800-736-7300

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

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The Informed Citizen

Organizing for power

By Christopher Farrell, Legislative Representative

N

ARFE has 1,337 chapters. All share their advocacy mission with other chapters. Where congressional jurisdiction is shared among chapters, we must organize and coordinate our activism in order for NARFE to maximize its influence on the legislative process. With several contentious issues looming, including pay-freeze extensions, sequestration, an expiring Continuing Resolution and debt-ceiling brinksmanship, NARFE urgently needs effective organizing and coordinating. The challenge and opportunity of decennial redistricting makes now the best time to organize around new maps and congressional boundaries. OAM Enables Organizing NARFE’s Online Activities Module (OAM), a recent and popular feature on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org, enables certain officers in each chapter to take a snapshot of its membership and save it as an Excel spreadsheet. As a spreadsheet, the data can be sorted by congressional district for legislative action or by ZIP code to form carpools for meeting attendance, among other things. At the federation level, certain officers accessing the OAM can organize the entire federation membership by congressional district, as was done recently in Maryland (see table at right). Working together, chapter and federation leaders who harness the power of the OAM can coordinate their advocacy using existing district vice presidents

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or area officers. Several states have gone a step further and designated one person in each congressional district to serve as the chief organizer and coordinator. These activists are called Congressional District Liaisons (CDLs). The NARFE legislative staff is committed to empowering CDLs. Our mutual goal is to empower all members in a specific congressional district to be their own best advocates. Advocacy Goals Updated NARFE’s earliest advocacy goal was to be certain that each NARFE member knew his or her representative and two sena-

tors. Whether members sent the personal letters they were urged to write was usually unknown. Certainly, many did. Activists then persuaded hundreds of representatives and dozens of senators to cosponsor NARFEsupported legislation. More organized districts had regular meetings with their members of Congress. In rare cases, which we must make commonplace, specific members of Congress came to know a specific NARFE member as the “face of NARFE.” With support from both activists and NARFE staff, CDLs can become this “face of NARFE” in every congressional district. Pushing the Levers of Power Maps showing congressional districts are available on the Internet, and reports showing congressional district assignments can be found using the OAM. These maps and reports are the levers of power. We must use them to maximize our legislative clout.

Maryland Chapter Members Listed by Congressional District Chapter

CD 1

CD 2

CD 3

CD 4

0126 0251

CD 6

CD 7

CD 8

231 63

214

384

0258

15

0264

153

0306 0357

CD 5

11

TOTAL 231

52

713 60

775

850

15

238

189

10

199

260

330

325

798

70

59

0409

460

0410

87

13

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SPECIAL COLLECTOR OPPORTUNITY Your Expert Guide to the World’s Finest Coins

Nicholas J. Bruyer, Chairman & Founder, First Federal Coin ANA Life Member Since 1974

$5,630 for an Ounce of Silver Bullion? Impossible! 10 years ago I’d have called you crazy to make such a prediction. Yet today it’s a fact. Now our deal with a $4 billion precious metals wholesaler nets you a great deal for America’s hottest ounce of silver! It wasn’t more than 13 years ago that we met with former U.S. Mint Director Donna Pope. She spoke with pride about what she considered to be her greatest achievement as Director under President Reagan: Creation of the American Eagle silver and gold bullion coin programs, the first of their kind in our nation’s history. The purpose of these coins was to give people the opportunity to own physical silver and gold in a form certified for weight and purity by the U.S. Mint. While the bullion coin program was a signal success, nobody took into account the profound effect it would have on the collector market. Silver Eagles = Today’s Morgan Dollars In the 1800s and early 1900s, the U.S. Morgan Silver Dollar was struck year upon year at various mints and circulated at face value. Their core value was in their precious metal content. However, in top grades, Morgan Silver Dollars can sell today for tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars each! For the same reason, many collectors today see the Silver Eagle series as a literal “ground floor” opportunity to acquire the top-grade coins as they are released. They started submitting Silver Eagles to the leading independent coin grading services, such as Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), praying that the coins would come back with the highest possible grade: MS70 (all Uncirculated coins are graded on a point system from a low of 60 to a high of 70, with 70 representing flawless perfection). Of all the Silver Eagles produced by the U.S. Mint in 2012, less than one out of every 482 earned the NGC MS70 grade! MS70 = $$$$$! In the rarified atmosphere of MS70, Silver Eagles have soared to market prices that I can only characterize as surreal. Consider this: MS70 Silver Eagles have been selling for truly stratospheric prices. Here are just a few eye-popping examples: 1996 MS70 Silver Eagle 1988 MS70 Silver Eagle 1994 MS70 Silver Eagle 2000 MS70 Silver Eagle

$4,560 (NGC population:128) $2,630 (NGC population:193) $1,660 (NGC population:175) $5,630 (NGC population:189)

coins. But better yet, because these coins were among the very first released, they all have the value-enhancing “First Releases” designation. What Does “First Releases” Mean? NGC designates only those coins it certifies as having been released during the first 30 days of issue as First Releases. Collectors place a premium on these coins because they are struck from freshly made dies, which is thought to impart superior Actual size is 40.6 mm quality. Only a miniscule number of the mintage gets the First Releases pedigree—so it can turbo charge the value of an already valuable MS70 coin. BUY RISK FREE—AND SAVE $30 OR MORE No one can predict the future value of any coin, of course. Markets and prices go up and down. But because of our industry-leading status, you can take advantage of our “bolt of lightning” deal on these Perfect Gem MS70 2013 Silver Eagles. These same coins are selling elsewhere for $119.95 each, but you can order yours here at an incredible price of only $89.95 each. Or buy more and save even more: buy FIVE for $84.95 each or buy TEN for only $79.95 each. To avoid disappointment I urge you to call immediately. Hurry! This is a first-come-first-served offer. Call 1-800-973-3078 to find out how to qualify for free shipping. Mention offer code: FES140-01

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Prices and availability subject to change without notice. Past performance is not a predictor of future performance. NOTE: First Federal® is a private distributor of worldwide government coin and currency issues and privately issued licensed collectibles and is not affiliated with the United States government. Facts and figures deemed accurate as of January 2013. ©2013 First Federal Coin.

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For the Record

Thrift Savings Plan Monthly Returns

With Reinvesting, C Fund Already has new high mark

2012

2013

2012

by Tracey Ray

AUGUST

0.11%

0.07%

2.25%

3.57%

3.29%

In February, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 (C Fund) were up for the fourth month in a row, and investors are buzzing about how close they are to surpassing the all-time highs reached on October 7, 2007. But did you know that the C Fund has already surpassed its price of that day? Because the C Fund reinvests its dividends, it surpassed the October 7 high back on November 23, 2012, and it is actually 9.3 percent higher than it was before the crisis.

SEPTEMBER

0.10%

0.15%

2.57%

2.51%

2.96%

—TRACEY RAY is chief investment officer of the Thrift Savings Plan

OCTOBER

0.12%

0.20%

(1.86%)

(1.31%)

0.85%

NOVEMBER

0.11%

0.16%

0.57%

1.53%

2.41%

DECEMBER

0.12%

(0.13%)

0.91%

2.69%

4.02%

JANUARY

0.13%

(0.56%)

5.18%

6.96%

4.45%

G FUND

F FUND

C FUND

S FUND

I FUND

MARCH

0.14%

(0.61%)

3.30%

2.30%

0.13%

APRIL

0.15%

1.12%

(0.62%)

(0.71%)

(1.87%)

MAY

0.14%

0.91%

(5.99%)

(6.91%)

(11.40%)

JUNE

0.11%

0.05%

4.13%

3.25%

7.08%

JULY

0.12%

1.38%

1.40%

(0.62%)

0.56%

FEBRUARY

0.13%

0.51%

1.36%

1.00%

(0.99%)

YTD

0.25%

(0.05%)

6.61%

8.02%

3.42%

LAST 12 MO

1.47%

3.27%

13.50%

14.48%

10.75%

L INCOME

L 2020

L 2040

L 2050

MARCH

0.54%

1.23%

1.49%

1.68%

1.86%

APRIL

0.01%

(0.38%)

(0.52%)

(0.63%)

(0.78%)

MAY

(1.38%)

(4.20%)

(5.23%)

(6.00%)

(6.85%)

JUNE

1.04%

2.72%

3.32%

3.77%

4.27%

JULY

0.37%

0.63%

0.71%

0.75%

0.78%

AUGUST

0.63%

1.57%

1.94%

2.23%

2.51%

SEPTEMBER

0.62%

1.52%

1.87%

2.12%

2.38%

OCTOBER

2013

L 2030

Countdown to COLA

T

he Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 0.3 percent in January. To calculate the amount of the 2014 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), the indices of July, August and September 2013 will be averaged and compared with the 2012 third-quarter average of 226.936. That percentage increase, if any, determines the COLA. The January index of 226.520 is down 0.18 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. January’s index is 0.3 percent higher than the December 2012 base index of 225.889. The CPI represents purchases of food and beverages, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, education and communication, and other goods and services. Included are various government fees, such as water charges, auto registration fees, and sales and excise taxes.

(0.11%)

(0.45%)

(0.60%)

(0.71%)

(0.80%)

NOVEMBER

0.34%

0.77%

0.93%

1.06%

1.19%

DECEMBER

O.47%

1.19%

1.48%

1.69%

1.93%

JANUARY

1.10%

2.83%

3.56%

4.11%

4.63%

FEBRUARY

0.27%

0.41%

0.49%

0.54%

0.56%

YTD

1.38%

3.25%

4.07%

4.68%

5.22%

October 2012

LAST 12 MO

3.96%

7.94%

9.54%

10.72%

11.78%

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.

Monthly % Change

% Change from 226.936

227.974

-0.1

+0.45

November

226.595

-0.6

-0.15

December

225.889

-0.3

-0.46

January 2013

226.520

+0.3

-0.18

Month

February March April

G Fund: Government securities (specially issued to the TSP) F Fund: Government, corporate and mortgage-backed bonds C Fund: Stocks of large- and medium-size U.S. companies S Fund: Stocks of small- to medium-size U.S. companies (not included in the C Fund) I Fund: International stocks of 21 developed countries L Fund: Invested in the G, F, C, S and I Funds (The proportion of L Fund balance invested in each of the individual TSP funds depends on the L Fund chosen.) 46

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May June July August September

CPI-W


Donate to NARFE Programs Support Alzheimer’s Research

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

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

Enclosed is my NARFE-Alzheimer’s contribution: $ Every cent that is contributed is used for research. Please circle: Mr. Mrs. Miss Ms. and mail to: Name: Alzheimer’s Association Address: 225 N. Michigan Ave., 17th Floor City: State: ZIP: Chicago, IL 60601-7633 Chapter Number: Credit Card Information: MasterCard Visa NARFE members contributed for If you have any questions, write to: Discover AMEX Alzheimer’s research: $10 Million Fund National Committee Chair Card Number: Jane Rodgers, P.O. Box 234 Expiration Date: (mm)/ (yy) Wadesville, IN 47638-0234 *Total as of January 31, 2013 3-Digit Security Code: 100% of all contributed funds go to Name: (please print) Email: ajrodgers@tds.net

$10,174,465* Alzheimer’s research.

Signature

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

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

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

/

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

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

Installment Plan Wall of Fame 12-month installment plan

Give to the Scholarship and Disaster Funds

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

/

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

State:

ZIP:

My check is enclosed

(Please make check payable to NARFE Silver Circle.)

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

Signature

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

Date

YES!

Date

/

/

I would like to help with my contribution.

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

Amount: $

NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund

Amount: $

Name: Address: City:

State:

ZIP:


NARFE News

for sale in the NARFE Bookstore

Apply! NARFE Has dollars for scholars

T

he deadline to apply for a grant in the NARFE 2013 Scholarship Program is April 26. The program offers a total of 60 scholarships of $1,000 each. Six scholarships are awarded in each of NARFE’s 10 regions. The competition is open to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of current NARFE members. The application appears on the opposite page (p. 49). It also is available on the NARFE website, www. narfe.org. Log in as a member, click on “Special Programs” at the left of the next screen and select “Scholarship Program.”

NARFE Launches state edivisions With NARFE’s electronic membership option, eNARFE, exceeding 10,000 members, NARFE has revamped the website serving eNARFE members. And NARFE’s state federations have begun creating eDivisions to provide the electronic-only members with state and local NARFE information. eNARFE is an online membership option launched in 2011 to accom48

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2 013

IN THE PHOTO ABOVE: 2012 NARFE Scholarship winner Chris Orr (center), grandson of Huntsville (AL) Chapter 443 member Robert Orr, is congratulated by Alabama Federation Past President Shelton Halsey and Federation FEEA Chair Virginia Halsey, at left. Orr’s parents are shown at right.

Scholarships are made possible by donations to the NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund. To make a taxdeductible gift, see p. 47.

Scan the QR code for brochure.

modate active and retired employees’ busy schedules. It differs from a traditional NARFE membership in that there are no chapter meetings, and most contact with members is done electronically. eNARFE members can talk with one another using a blog, accessible through the eNARFE website. The eNARFE website recently relaunched with enhanced access to NARFE online information. eNARFE members now can reach many of the most popular features of the NARFE member website via the eNARFE

NARFE is currently offering three books for sale. Hot off the press is the Congressional Directory for the 113th Congress. The reference volume is customized with NARFE information. To order, see form on p. 35 of this issue. Also for sale: • Questions & Answers from the pages of narfe magazine. The fourth edition of this popular compendium is available for $10, which includes shipping and handling. To order online or to obtain an order form, go to www.narfe. org and click on the “We’ve Got the Answers” slide in the graphic carousel at the top of the NARFE Main Home Page. • Celebrating 90 Years of Service, 1921-2011. A limited number of copies of this award-winning book, tracing the history of NARFE, are available for $6, which includes shipping and handling. To obtain an order form, contact the NARFE Communications Department via email at communications@narfe. org or by phone at 703-838-7760.

For chapter photos, see our Out and About Photo Gallery at www.narfe.org/narfemagazine.

site without clicking back to the main NARFE website. The eDivisions are designed to provide eNARFE members residing in a state with some of the news, information and state legislative updates that they would receive had they opted for membership in a local chapter. To access the state divisions, go to www.narfe.org, click on eNARFE at the top of the Main Home Page and log in as a member. Then click on “eDivision by State” on the left side of the eNARFE Home Page.


National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association

✄ Cut Along Dotted Line ✄

2013 Scholarship Application Applicants: • Must be high school seniors planning to attend an accredited college full-time in the fall/winter of 2013. • 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. (Stepparents, 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 “confirmation@feea.org” to your address book. • Must provide the following materials in your application packet: ❏ Official 2013 NARFE scholarship application. Photocopies are acceptable. ❏ Full transcript, including fall/winter 2012 grades. Report cards and photocopies are acceptable. If mailed separately by the school, must arrive by program deadline. ❏ Copies of American College Testing (ACT) or Scholastic Aptitude Testing (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: Why is federal civil service important to America? 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 26, 2013, to: NARFE Scholarship Awards, 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 natvp@narfe.org; download it from the NARFE website, www.narfe.org; or call Headquarters and ask for the Office of the National Vice President.

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: _____________________________________ 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 2013)

❏ No

NARFE Member No.: __________________________________ 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 26, 2013, to: NARFE Scholarship Awards, 3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300, Lakewood, CO 80227. NO STAPLES OR PAPER CLIPS, AND DO NOT FOLD


The Invention of the Year is Great News for your Ears Perfect Choice HD™ is easy to use, hard to see and doesn't cost a fortune… it’s like reading glasses for your ears™!

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New Personal Sound Amplification Product is an affordable way to “turn up the volume!” doctor who leads a renowned hearing institute, there is Perfect Choice HD. It’s a PSAP 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 ear… only you’ll know you have it on.

Perfect Choice HD is NOT a hearing aid. Hearing aids can only be sold by an audiologist or a licensed hearing instrument Now we’ve made Perfect Choice HD better than ever! specialist following hearing tests and Original Design New Perfect Choice HD fitting appointments. Better – It Reduces Sound Quality Good Once they have you Feedback tested and fitted, you up to 30dB 35dB – 15% Louder could pay as much as Volume $5000 for the product. 3 to choose from for Hearing Tubes

One

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Reading glasses for One your ears. While some Ear Buds people need hearing One-on-One No Yes – if needed aids, many just need set up instructions the extra boost in It’s comfortable and won’t make volume that a PSAP gives them. you feel like you have something Now, thanks to the efforts of the stuck in your ear. It provides high Are you or quality audio so sounds and conversations will be easier a loved one frustrated to hear and understand. in these situations? • Restaurants • Dinner parties • Outdoor conversations • Lectures • Sermons • Meetings …and other times where you need to turn up the volume

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Even the best inventions can get better. Cordless phones have gotten smaller and feature better sound… televisions have gotten sharper and more affordable. Now, the Personal Sound Amplification Product (PSAP) that has enabled countless people to “turn up the volume” is better than ever.


Active and Retired Federal Employees ...

JOIN NARFE TODAY!

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

Who Should Join?

Three Easy Ways To Join 1. 2. 3.

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

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

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

Apt./Unit ________________________________________

■ Please enroll my spouse

City _______________________ State _____ ZIP ________

Spouse’s Full Name ________________________________

Phone (__________) _______________________________

Spouse’s Email ____________________________________

Email____________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ /_________ / _______________ dd

mm

yyyy

Choose Your Membership Type  Local Chapter Close-to-Home Membership — $45 Affiliation with the NARFE chapter closest to your home. Receive narfe magazine each month; attend meetings, often with invited speakers; network; and get involved in grassroots lobbying efforts. $45 first-year dues X __________ = __________ Per Person # Enrolling Total Dues (First-year dues include national and chapter dues.)

Spouse’s Date of Birth ______/______/_____________ dd

mm

yyyy

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

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

yyyy

Chapter Affiliation (if known, otherwise enroll me in the chapter closest to my ZIP code). Chapter #___ ___ ___ ___

Name on Card _________________________________

OR

Signature _____________________________________

 eNARFE Chapter Online Membership — $40

Date _________________________________________

NARFE’s electronic chapter. Receive narfe magazine by mail each month, and all other communications by email and on eNARFE.org. Get important updates and legislative action alerts, and have access to the eNARFE blog. $40 first-year dues X __________ = __________ Per Person # Enrolling Total Dues

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

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


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

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

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

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

Civil Service Annuity Number

C S

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

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

NARFE MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION

Street Address ___________________________________

NARFE Membership ID ____________________________________

Apt./Unit________________________________________ City _________________________ State _____ ZIP _____ Phone (__________) ______________________________ Email ___________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ /_________ / ____________________ dd

mm

yyyy

NARFE Chapter Number____________________________________

■ YES. I Also Authorize My (NARFE Member) Spouse’s Dues To Be Withheld From My Annuity. (Additional annual dues of $34 plus Chapter dues of record to be withheld annually.) If YES, enter spouse’s information below. Spouse’s Name ___________________________________________ Spouse’s Membership ID ___________________________________

AUTHORIZATION (Withholding will begin in 60-90 days). No payment should be forwarded with application. I authorize the United States Office of Personnel Management to make appropriate deductions from my annuity payments, not to exceed the amount certified by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association as the amount of dues for which I am annually obligated, in accordance with elections I make below, and to pay the deducted sum to the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE). This authorization shall also apply to any and all dues changes certified by NARFE membership in accordance with elections I make below: Please allow 60-90 days for processing. I understand that this authorization shall be valid until NARFE receives and processes my written notice of cancellation in accordance with its agreement with the Office of Personnel Management and that any disputes regarding this authorization shall be a matter between NARFE and myself. I hold the Office of Personnel Management harmless for any erroneous allotment deduction made pursuant to this authorization. ___________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________

Signature of Annuitant or Survivor-Annuitant

Date

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

DW-2 (08/12)


“I saved thousands on my hearing aids. Then he did, too.” Now it’s your turn to save *. NARFE members can save hundreds to thousands on hearing aids purchased through TruHearing.

Call TruHearing today: (877) 379- 4522 ALL APPOINTMENTS MUST BE SCHEDULED THROUGH TRUHEARING. FOR A FULL LIST OF PRICING VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT TRUHEARING.COM. *Members can save hundred's to thousands. Savings depend on model(s) chosen. Visit our website at www.truhearing.com for full pricing and product comparisons. THIS IS NOT INSURANCE. TruHearing provides discounts through contracted health plans and enrolled employer groups for hearing aid sales and professional services at selected hearing care providers. Professional services for fitting, programming and three

adjustment visits, are included in the price of the aids. The customer is obligated to pay for testing, and all other post-fitting hearing care services, but will receive a discount from those health care providers who have contracted with TruHearing. FOR FLORIDA, OKLAHOMA, AND NEVADA RESIDENTS: The Member may cancel membership within 30 days, and receive a full refund of fees. The Member must return hearing aids within 30 days

of purchase to receive a full refund of the purchase price. In Florida and Nevada, the DMPO does not make payments directly to providers. As with all Members nationwide, fitting fees, programming fees and first three adjustment visits are included in the price of the aids. The MemberPlus program is a non-fee program to all Washington State residents. or There is no fee for MemberPlus membership for Washington State residents.

Meet Harold & Corolyn online: www.truhearing.com/learn/stories NARFENB0213R1

ALL CONTENT ©2012 TRUHEARING, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Member Perks

NARFE Member Perks

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

Credit Union

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

Insurance, Pet Insurance, Accidental Death &  Dismemberment, Cancer Care, Enhanced Dental Insurance and Long Term Care. Go to the website for more information on these programs.

GEICO 800-368-2734 NARFE members with good driving records may be eligible for quality automobile insurance from GEICO. Ask about the NARFE discount available to members in many states. Call today for your free, no-obligation rate quote. Be sure to mention that you’re a NARFE member! • Discount amount varies in some states • Discount not available in all states or in all GEICO companies • One group discount applicable per policy.

Bank of America 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. When calling, use NARFE’s full name, not NARFE.

insurance

NARFE Insurance Services 800-233-5764 www.narfeinsurance.com Designed and administered by Marsh U.S. Consumer, a service of Seabury & Smith, Inc., exclusively for NARFE members: Senior Whole Life, Term Life, Medicare Supplements, Hospital Income Plan, Short Term Recovery 54

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

Vacation rentals

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

Credit Card

Bank of America 866-438-6262

Wyndham Hotel Group 877-670-7088

hotels

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

car rentals

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

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


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

narfe merchandise

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

emergency services

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

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

hearing benefits Moving services

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

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

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

education

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

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

NOT A MEMBER? health screening

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

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

TURN TO PAGE 51: Fill out the Membership Application and mail it to NARFE to receive all the perks of being a NARFE member.

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

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

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

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The Way We Worked

the Climate is right for record Keeping In this 1942 photo, National Archives employee Adelaide Minogue, of the Division of Repair and Preservation (now the Conservation Branch), checks the humidity levels in National Archives stacks. Today, National Archives conservation staff members still monitor the temperature and humidity of stack areas using the latest technology. Photo courtesy of the National Archives; Jessie Kratz, archives specialist, Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives; in collaboration with the Society for History in the Federal Government (SHFG), http://shfg.org/shfg/. Bringing together government professionals, academics, consultants, students and citizens interested in understanding federal history work and the historical development of the federal government.

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2 013

Are you a National Archives employee or retiree? Tell us about your service, and we will post it on the NARFE website. To tell your story, send an email message to communications@narfe.org. Stories may be viewed at www.narfe.org/ narfemagazine.


ct

o N tra on C

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

Lo

ng Sou Bett er nd er Ba a tte nd ry Li fe

Introducing the all-new Jitterbug® Plus. We’ve made it even better… without making it harder to use. All my friends have new cell phones. They carry them around with them all day, like mini computers, with little tiny keyboards and hundreds of programs which are supposed to make their life easier. Trouble is… my friends can’t use them. The keypads are too small, the displays are hard to see and the phones are so complicated that my friends end up borrowing my Jitterbug when they need to make a call. I don’t mind… I just got a new phone too… the new Jitterbug Plus. Now I have all the things I loved about my Jitterbug phone along with some great new features that make it even better!

100

DoubleTime 200

$19.99

Operator Assistance

24/7

24/7

911 Access

FREE

FREE

No add’l charge

No add’l charge

FREE

FREE

YES

YES

30 days

30 days

Long Distance Calls Voice Dial Nationwide Coverage Friendly Return Policy1

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

the problem with prepaid phones. Since there is no contract to sign, you are not locked in for years at a time and won’t be subject to early termination fees. Now, when you sign up for our Basic 19 plan, you’ll double your monthly minutes for the same price. The U.S.-based customer service is knowledgeable and helpful and the phone gets service virtually anywhere in the continental U.S. Above all, you’ll get one-touch access to a friendly, and helpful GreatCall operator. They can look up numbers, and even dial them for you! They are always there to help you when you need them.

Introducing

DoubleTime! Double your monthly minutes for life with activation by 03/31/13

Call now and get a FREE Car Charger – a $24.99 value. Try the Jitterbug Plus for yourself for 30 days and if you don’t love it, just return it for a refund1 of the product purchase price. Call now – helpful Jitterbug experts are ready to answer your questions.

Available in Silver and Red.

The rate plans are simple too. Why pay for minutes you’ll never use? There are a variety of affordable plans. Plus, you don’t have to worry about finding yourself stuck with no minutes– that’s

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

50 $14.99

Monthly Rate

GreatCall® created the Jitterbug with one thing in mind – to offer people a cell phone that’s easy to see and hear, simple to use and affordable. Now, they’ve made the cell phone experience even better with the Jitterbug Plus. It features a lightweight, comfortable design with a backlit keypad and big, legible numbers. There is even a dial tone so you know the phone is ready to use. You can also increase the volume with one touch and the speaker’s been improved so you get great audio quality and can hear every word. The battery has been improved too– it’s one of the longest lasting

on the market– so you won’t have to charge it as often. The phone comes to you with your account already set up and is easy to activate.

Basic 19

Basic 14 Monthly Minutes

Jitterbug Plus Cell Phone Ask how you can get DoubleTime for Life! Please mention promotional code 46456.

1-866-752-5227

We proudly accept the following credit cards.

47567

www.jitterbugdirect.com

IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: DoubleTime offer valid on Basic 19 Plan and applies to new GreatCall customers only. Offer ends 3/31/13. Offer valid until plan is changed or cancelled. All GreatCall phones require a one-time set up fee of $35. Coverage and service are not available everywhere. You will not be able to make 9-1-1 calls when cellular service is not available. Rate plans do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges and are subject to change. No roaming or long distance charges for domestic calls within the U.S. There are no additional fees to call GreatCall’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. 1 We will refund the full price of the GreatCall 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 and GreatCall are registered trademarks of GreatCall, Inc. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2013 Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC. Copyright ©2013 GreatCall, Inc. Copyright ©2013 by firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc. All rights reserved.


Only per pair

Indigo

Light Taupe

Red

White

Twin elastic gores make ’em easy to slip on!

#1 Bargain Place Jessup, PA 18434-1834

Hand-Stitched “Star” Leather Loafers are Loaded with Stellar Comfort! Genuine Leather uppers are meticulously hand-stitched with a striking star design. Perfs and side vents add style and cooling ventilation too. Complete with easy-on twin elastic gores at instep, padded ankle collar, and soft foam-backed tricot lining. Flexible treaded outsole, perfect 1" heel. Available only from Haband! Order now!

Now Shipped

FREE! 2 pairs 46.97 3 pairs 67.95

®

Haband #1 Bargain Place, Jessup, PA 18434-1834 Card # _______________________________________ Exp.: _____/_____ Mr. Mrs. Ms. __________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________ Apt. # ______ Visa City & State ___________________________________ Zip ___________ MC ® Phone/Email__________________________________________________ Discover Network I enclose $________ purchase price, plus $5.99 shipping and handling. 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.

In GA add tax.

On-Line Quick Order Imported

7F5– E6195

INDIGO 15 WHITE RH RED 25 DA LIGHT TAUPE Ø1 BLACK (Not Shown)

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WHAT WHAT HOW SIZE? WIDTH? MANY?

MEDIUM: 5 51⁄ 2 6 61⁄ 2 7 71⁄ 2 8 81⁄ 2 9 10 11 *WIDE $4 more per pair: 6 61⁄ 2 7 71⁄ 2 8 81⁄ 2 9 10 11 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed or Full Refund of merchandise purchase price.

Dr. Schollʼs is a registered trademark of MSD Consumer Care, Inc. © 2013 MSD Consumer Care, Inc. All rights reserved.

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


April 2013 NARFE Magazine