there’s a lot to like about fedvip
NArfe officer candidate statements
retirement countdown Make the Last 5 Years Count!
Volume 92 • Number 5
If you are a federal employee or retiree with Blue Cross Blue Shield Service Beneﬁt Plan insurance coverage you may be eligible for:
A pair of Beltone True 3 hearing aids for ZERO* out-of-pocket! TM
Your savings on two Beltone True 3 Hearing aid Beltone True 3 ITE/BTE/RIE
digital hearing aids
Your Special Price
Here’s how it works:
Call Beltone at 1-888-418-6763 for a complimentary hearing screening.
Present your BCBS Service Beneﬁt Plan Member ID card when you arrive.
If you need hearing aids, you’ll receive a special price of $2,500 per pair of True 3 hearing aids.
Next, your unused $2,500 hearing aid beneﬁt will be applied.
Your net out-of-pocket on two Beltone True 3 hearing aids— TM
Beltone True 3 hearing aids offer six channels, two programs and wireless connectivity. Choose from In-the-Ear (ITE), Behind-the-Ear (BTE) or Receiver-In-Ear (RIE) styles.
In addition to Beltone hearing aids, many extra features are included: • • • •
Three-year product warranty, with three-year Loss & Damage coverage Three-year supply of batteries (48 cells per aid per year) 45-day money back guarantee period (restocking fee may apply) Unlimited ofﬁce visits and no membership fees – ever!
Beltone is an independent company providing discounts on hearing aids.
Plus, you also enjoy the BelCare™ aftercare plan for ongoing care and service at over 1,500 locations nationwide.
Call Beltone at 1-888-418-6763 to schedule your complimentary hearing screening, today! *The insured may need to submit for reimbursement. State and/or local taxes may apply. Prices and products subject to change. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Beneﬁt Plan will pay a hearing aid beneﬁt up to $2,500 every 3 calendar years for adults age 22 and over, and up to a $2,500 total per calendar year for members up to age 22. Do not rely on this communication piece alone for complete beneﬁt information. All beneﬁts are subject to the deﬁnitions, limitations, and exclusions in your 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 covered under your Service Beneﬁt Plan 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 not guaranteed under any local Blue company’s contract with the Medicare program. In addition, these items are not subject to the Medicare appeals 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 item and vendors made available through Blue365, at any time. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies. State and local taxes and/or fees may apply. Available at participating locations until December 31, 2016.
House Panel Holds WEP Reform Hearing
House Budget Would Mean Cuts for Feds
New Law Should Speed Federal Hiring
The Difference Between a COLA and a Pay Raise
Decrease in Postal Rates Puts More Pressure on USPS Finances
10 NARFE Bill Tracker
Retirement Countdown. If you have a five-year window until retirement, it’s time to look at how the pieces of your retirement package fit together. Make the five-year countdown count!
From the President
36 Managing Money 38 The Informed Citizen DEPARTMENTS
30 There’s a Lot to Like about FEDVIP. The 10-year-old dental and vision program is growing in scope and participation.
16 Questions & Answers 40 For the Record: TSP
Returns, Retirement Claims Status, Countdown to COLA
42 NARFE News
60 The Way We Worked special sections
On the Web
44 National Convention:
visit us online at:
46 Candidates for NARFE
National, Regional Office
like us on facebook:
NARFE National Headquarters follow us on twitter:
ON THE COVER
Illustration by Bill Pragluski, Critical Stages, LLC
w w w. n a r f e . o r g
may 2016 | Volume 92 | Number 5
Editor Margaret M. Carter Assistant Editor Ken Fanelli Editorial Administrator Toni Vallario
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association NATIONAL OFFICERS RICHARD G. THISSEN, President; firstname.lastname@example.org JON DOWIE, Secretary/Treasurer; email@example.com
Graphic Design Charlene Gridley Editorial Board Richard G. Thissen, Jon Dowie
Editorial Office: narfe magazine 606 North Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 Phone: 703-838-7760 Fax: 703-838-7781 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Sales: Warren Berger Media People Inc. 122 East 42nd St., Suite 1622 New York, NY 10168 Phone: 212-779-7172, ext. 223 Email: email@example.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 digital audio: Issues of narfe magazine are also available in audio format through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). For availability, call 202-727-2142 or your local NLS service provider. 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.
REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS
REGION I James P. Crawford (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) Tel: 603-630-5191 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org REGION II Evelyn Kirby (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) Tel: 410-604-1141 Email: email@example.com REGION III Jerry Janci (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Virgin Islands) Tel: 662-412-2029 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org REGION IV Edward J. Konys (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) Tel: 937-470-0566 Email: email@example.com REGION V Carol R. Ek (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) Tel: 620-241-1131, CELL: 620-504-2202 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s How to Contact Us… to join NARFE:
Call (toll-free) 800-627-3394 OR GO TO www.narfe.org To change your mailing address, phone number or email address:
CALL (TOLL-FREE) 800-456-8410, EMAIL email@example.com OR LOG ON TO www.narfe.org and go to “My Account”
REGION VI Marshall L. Richards (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Republic of Panama and Texas) Tel: 903-660-2784 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org REGION VII Rodney L. Adelman (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) Tel: 623-505-4719 Email: email@example.com REGION VIII Helen L. Zajac (California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Republic of Philippines) Tel: 707-644-7565 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org REGION IX Lanny G. Ross (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) Tel: 360-692-9741 Email: email@example.com REGION X William Shackelford (Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia) Tel: 703-830-6590, CELL: 703-201-6304 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TO REACH A FEDERAL BENEFITS Specialist:
Email email@example.com NARFE HEADQUARTERS
606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314 703-838-7760
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 © 2016, 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.
| m a y
From the President
Honoring public service
ay is here and with it Public Service Recognition Week, during which we honor the people who
serve our country as government employees at all levels. NARFE and the other members of the Public Employees Roundtable have organized this nationwide observance since 1985. This year, we celebrate it May 1-7. Sadly, despite the inspiring proclamations by community leaders, award ceremonies and events during this special week, many public officials and the public at large still fail to comprehend fully the impact of the work performed by the federal community — labors that touch the lives of every American and much of the world. Every day, federal employees reliably perform vital functions related to our nation’s defense, homeland security and law enforcement, Social Security and Medicare benefits, health services,
education services, food inspection, air safety, mail processing and delivery, and many others. Federal retirees continue to be involved in activities related to public service, volunteering in their communities to improve the lives of their fellow citizens and having a beneficial effect on the quality of life in America. The month of May also brings announcement of the nominees for the “Sammies,” the federal community’s version of the Oscars. Formally known as the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, the Sammies are announced by the Partnership for Public Service during Public Service Recognition Week. Past awardees have included doctors, scientists, management experts, law enforcement personnel and others within the federal community who have improved and saved the lives of many around the world. Some also have saved substantial taxpayer dollars in the performance of their jobs. I want to thank each and every one of you and your families for your dedication to our great country. Be proud of your government work and achievements. NARFE will continue to do everything it can to dispel the damaging myths surrounding federal service and retirement, and we will continue to tell uplifting stories about how your work and that of your colleagues make a positive difference to others.
Richard G. Thissen NARFE national President firstname.lastname@example.org
| m a y
HOME EQUITY LOANS Our home equity options can help reduce your monthly expenses.
New name, same credit union.
APPLY FOR A LOW RATE HOME EQUITY LOAN OR HOME EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT.
infirstfcu.org / 703.914.8700 / 540.644.9515
Federally Insured by NCUA.
Call or Visit infirstfcu.org for details.
potential wep reform examined at hearing by house subcommittee
he House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee held a hearing March 22 to evaluate proposed reforms of the Windfall Elimination
Provision (WEP), notably H.R. 711, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2015. Both Republican and Democratic subcommittee members expressed support for the bill, which would provide a rebate to those currently affected by the WEP and create a new formula for future beneficiaries. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-TX, who introduced the bill, attended the hearing in his role as chairman of the full House Ways and Means Committee. He explained the rationale behind the proposed “Public Service Fairness” formula, which would apply to individuals turning age 62 in or after 2017. “Under our approach, two workers with the same lifetime earnings – one who has spent an entire career in Social Security-covered employment and another who has worked in both covered and noncovered work – will receive a Social Security benefit that is calculated the same way,” Brady said. 6
| m a y
“No more unfair formula …. Instead, we use the same benefit formula for everyone, looking at all earnings. And if some of those earnings aren’t from Social Security-covered employment, we adjust benefits to reflect the proportion that are.” Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-MA, the original cosponsor of the legislation, also attended the hearing to express his support for the bill. While the hearing focused on WEP reform, testimony and members of the subcommittee also discussed the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and an Obama administration proposal to reform that provision, starting in 2027,
Speaking at the hearing,
Rep. Kevin Brady, D-TX, left, author of H.R. 711, and Rep.
Richard E. Neal, D-MA, a cosponsor of the bill, illustrate the bill’s bipartisan support. Hearing photos from House video stream.
for future beneficiaries. NARFE President Richard G. Thissen’s testimony, entered into the record by Brady, called for repeal of both GPO and WEP. “These unfair provisions cost more than two million retirees thousands of dollars each year in Social Security benefits, solely as a result of their government employment,” Thissen said. “They serve as a thankless reminder that our nation continues to undervalue public service. They should both be repealed.” But NARFE also expressed support for H.R. 711. “NARFE is encouraged by the ongoing various reform efforts, particularly with regard to H.R. 711,” Thissen said. “This bill would help mitigate the WEP penalty by providing some relief for both current beneficiaries through a rebate and future Social Security recipients by improving the formula going forward. This relief is long past due but would be very much appreciated by individuals who are being penalized for their public service.”
The Social Security Administration’s actuary, Stephen C. Goss, testified before the subcommittee. He provided an updated estimate on the rebate that current beneficiaries could expect to receive under H.R. 711. “The maximum permissible rebate percentage of 50 percent [of the current WEP penalty] would be applicable,” he said. For more information on this legislation, visit NARFE’s dedicated Web page on the issue, available at www.narfe.org. (Click on “WEP Reform” under Latest from NARFE.) —By John Hatton, Deputy Legislative Director
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.
House budget would mean cuts for feds
he fiscal year 2017 budget resolution approved by the House Budget Committee in March includes a directive to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to reduce spending under its jurisdiction, which includes federal retirement and health benefits. Specifically, the budget proposes: • An increase in retirement contributions for all current federal employees; • A 10-percent reduction in the federal civilian workforce through attrition; • A decrease in the rate of return on the Thrift Savings Plan’s G Fund; • Increasing postal employees’ share of Federal Employees Health Benefits Program premiums.
The fate of the budget resolution was in doubt at press time. The conservative House Freedom Caucus announced that it will vote against a budget that conforms to the spending levels agreed upon in the two-year budget deal reached in 2015. Without the approximately 40 members of the Caucus, Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-WI, would not have the 218 votes he needs to pass the budget. Before the House Budget Committee’s action, NARFE sent a letter to the committee urging it to keep cuts to the federal community out of the budget and reminding committee leaders that federal employees and retirees have done “more than their fair share” in reducing the federal deficit. —By John Hatton, Deputy Legislative Director
New Law should speed hiring
nder a bill signed into law by President Obama on March 18, federal agencies will be able to review and select job candidates from other federal agencies’ lists of “best qualified” applicants. The Competitive Service Act should help speed up the federal hiring process and allow agencies that have similar hiring needs to share information, which they previously could not do. The House passed the bill on February 29. It had originally
passed the Senate September 17, 2015. The legislation, which had bipartisan support, was introduced by Sens. Jon Tester, D-MT, and Rob Portman, R-OH. A House companion bill, H.R. 2827, was introduced by Reps. Gerald E. Connolly, D-VA, and Rob Wittman, R-VA. NARFE joined several other federal employee and good-government organizations in endorsing the bills. —By Carolyn Dorf, Legislative Staff Assistant w w w. n a r f e . o r g
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLA AND A PAY RAISE
t’s a common misconception in the federal community that cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for federal retirees and pay raises for federal employees are determined in the same manner. In fact, by law, they are determined differently. They also are meant to compensate retirees and employees for different reasons. Determining COLAs. COLAs for federal retirees and Social Security are provided under an automatic calculation using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The CPI-W analyzes several hundred items in these categories: food and beverages, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, education and communication, and other goods and services. To calculate the COLA, the indices of July, August and September are averaged and compared with the previous year’s third-quarter average. The percentage increase, if any, determines the COLA. Because there was no COLA in 2016, Retiree COLA vs. Employee Pay Raise HISTORY Year 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
| m a y
COLA raise 0% 1.3% 1.7% 1% 1.5% 1% 1.7% 0% 3.6% 0% 0% 0% 0% 2% 5.8% 3.9% 2.3% 3.5% 3.3% 2.2% 4.1% 3.1%
the 2017 third-quarter average will be compared with the 2014 third-quarter average. NARFE keeps track of the CPI-W each month in the For the Record section of the magazine (see p. 40). Congress and the president do not authorize the COLA, nor do they have the power to change it. The goal of a COLA is to help retirees’ annuities keep pace with inflation. NARFE contends that the population the CPI-W analyzes (urban wage earners under the age of 62) is not appropriate to determine seniors’ cost of living. For example, health care spending accounts for 13 percent of expenditures by Americans over age 65, compared to 5 percent for all other age groups. NARFE supports switching from the CPI-W to the experimental Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which would result in a more accurate reflection of seniors’ spending. NARFE also continues to strongly oppose efforts to adopt the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (Chained CPI-U), which would slow the growth of future increases. This proposal has received congressional support in the past. Determining Pay Raises. Pay raises for federal employees are provided to ensure employees’ pay remains competitive with private-sector pay. Historically, employee raises have been based on the Employment Cost Index (ECI), which is determined by the BLS and its analysis of privatesector wage movement. However,
MYTH vs. REALITY Myth: The federal workforce is larger than ever and growing, with hiring outpacing that in the private sector and in state and local governments. Reality: The size of the federal civilian workforce relative to the country’s population has declined dramatically over the past several decades. Government data show that since the 1960s, the U.S. population increased by 67 percent, the private-sector workforce increased by 136 percent, and state and local government workforces (excluding education workers) increased by 127 percent, while the size of the federal workforce rose only about 10 percent. Today, the federal government employs approximately 2.1 million civilian workers.
federal employee raises must be authorized and determined yearly by Congress or the president, and thus have been lower than the ECI in recent years. Raises also are subject to a “locality pay adjustment,” which seeks to reflect regional differences in salaries and wages. This component was introduced in 1990, when federal civil service salaries were viewed as increasingly uncompetitive with privatesector salaries in urban locations. The employee pay raise is not meant to be a COLA, but rather a way for the public sector to compete with the private. —By Jason Freeman, political and legislative specialist
Decrease in Postal Rates puts More pressure on USPS Finances
he financial condition of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is expected to worsen following a forced rate decrease in April. The rate cut could result in losses of $2 billion per year, which will put added pressure on USPS to engage in cost-cutting strategies that degrade services and decrease employment. The rate cut was ordered by the Postal Rate Commission (PRC), which put a cap on the additional revenue USPS could receive from a 2015 “exigent surcharge” the
PRC approved in response to steep recession-related revenue declines. Without an exigent rate surcharge, rates are capped by law at the rate of inflation. The surcharge’s $4.6 billion cap was expected to be reached on April 10, resulting in a postal rate decrease. The price of a first-class stamp, for instance, was set to drop 2 cents, from 49 to 47 cents. USPS did not agree with the order to reduce rates. “The exigent surcharge granted to the Postal Service last year only partially alleviated our extreme multi-year
revenue declines resulting from the Great Recession, which exceeded $7 billion in 2009 alone,” said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. “Removing the surcharge and reducing our prices is an irrational outcome, considering the Postal Service’s precarious financial condition,” Brennan said. The PRC will review its entire rate-setting structure next year, which could lead to a substantial increase in postal rates not long after they were lowered. —By John Hatton, Deputy Legislative Director
NARFE-PAC CONTRIBUTION FORM I would like to be a SUSTAINER and make a monthly credit card contribution to NARFE-PAC of: q $25/month q $10/month
Monthly contributors of $10 or more will receive the NARFE-PAC Sustainer lapel pin and a NARFE duffle bag.
q Other: ______/month (minimum of $10) OR
q Please charge to my credit card (required for monthly contribution) Credit Card Information Type:
q MasterCard q VISA q Discover q American Express
Card No.: _____________________________________ Expiration Date: _____ /_________ mm
I would like to make a one-time contribution of:
Name on Card: ________________________________
q $250 GOLD – Gold lapel pin and duffle bag
q $100 SILVER – Silver lapel pin
q $50 BRONZE – Bronze lapel pin q $25 BASIC – Basic lapel pin q Other: _______________
q Please do not send any gifts for my contribution.
Or make check payable to NARFE-PAC. Mail to: National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association Attn: Budget & Finance 606 North Washington St. | Alexandria, VA 22314
NARFE Member #: __________________________________________ Name: ___________________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ City: __________________________________________________________________
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.
w w w. n a r f e . o r g
narfe bill tracker The NARFE bill TRACKER is your monthly guide to the congressional legislation that NARFE is following. Check back each issue for updates. ISSUE
Bill Number / Name / Sponsor H.R. 2175: FEHBP Prescription Drug Oversight and Cost Savings Act / Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, D-MA Cosponsors: 2 (D)
H.R. 3351: CPI-E Act of 2015 / Rep. Mike Honda, D-CA COLA
Cosponsors: 32 (D)
What Bill Would Do
Provides the Office of Personnel Management greater oversight authority over the prescription drug contracting and pricing methods of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Requires Social Security and many federal retirement programs to use the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) to calculate cost-ofliving adjustments in retirement benefits.
Referred to the House committees on Ways and Means, Veterans’ Affairs, Oversight and Government Reform, and Armed Services narfe, October 2015
H.R. 4461: Federal Employee Rights Act / Rep. Tom Price, R-GA Cosponsors: 40 (R)
Would limit the rights of federal employee unions by barring them from automatically deducting dues from workers’ paychecks, alter the way union elections are conducted and prohibit unions from using dues to conduct political activity.
Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
H.R. 485: Wage Grade Employee Parity Act / Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-PA
Gives the president the authority to provide Wage Grade, or hourly, employees a pay raise.
Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Provides for a 3.9 percent pay raise for federal employees and a 1.4 percent increase in locality pay in 2017.
Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Expresses the sense of the House that the U.S. Postal Service should maintain six-day mail delivery. As a resolution, it will not be sent to the president and, therefore, cannot become law.
Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Repeals the service standards implemented by the Postal Service on 1/5/15 and directs the Postal Service to reinstate 12/31/2011 service standards.
Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
narfe, April 2016
Cosponsors: 9 (D), 3 (R) Federal Compensation
H.R. 4585: The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act / Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-VA Cosponsors: 43 (D) H.Res. 12: Expresses the sense of the House that the Postal Service should take measures to ensure continuation of six-day delivery / Rep. Sam Graves, R-MO
Postal Reform Cosponsors: 176 (D), 56 (R) H.R. 784: Protect Overnight Delivery Act / Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT Cosponsors: 99 (D), 3 (R)
NARFE’s Position: 10
| m a y
Editorâ€™s Note: Several items have been removed from the NARFE Bill Tracker. Those bills are all listed online at cqrcengage.com/narfe/home.
Bill Number / Name / Sponsor
What Bill Would Do
S. 1742: Rural Postal Act of Returns to service standards 2015 / Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, of July 2012, preserves six-day delivery and puts a two-year D-ND moratorium on plant closures. Cosponsors: 7 (D)
Referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
S. 2051: The Improving Postal Operations, Service and Transparency Act (iPost) of 2015 / Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-DE
Referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Cosponsors: 1 (D), 3 (R)
Requires postal employees and retirees to enroll in Medicare in order to continue receiving their current federal health insurance coverage and cuts workersâ€™ compensation benefits for injured federal employees.
H.Res. 54: Expresses the sense of the House that the Postal Service should take all measures to restore service standards in effect on July 1, 2012 / Rep. Dave McKinley, R-WI
Expresses the sense of the House that the U.S. Postal Service should restore service standards as of July 1, 2012. As a resolution, it will not be sent to the president and, therefore, cannot become law.
Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
narfe, March 2016
Cosponsors: 184 (D), 47 (R)
H.R. 20: The Government By the People Act / Rep. John Sarbanes, D-MD Cosponsors: 156 (D), 1 (R) H.R. 973: Social Security Fairness Act of 2015 / Rep. Rodney Davis, R-IL Cosponsors: 104 (D), 34 (R)
Reforms campaign finance laws Referred to three to put small donors on par with House committees wealthier donors. Provides a tax credit for contributions and government matching contributions. Repeals the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).
Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means
S. 1651: Social Security Fairness Act of 2015 / Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH
Referred to the Senate Finance Committee
Cosponsors: 15 (D), 5 (R), 2 (I)
narfe, September 2015
H.R. 711: Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2015 / Rep. Kevin Brady, R-TX Cosponsors: 25 (D), 39 (R)
Reforms the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). For individuals who turn 62 in 2017 or later, it provides a new formula that would decrease the WEP penalty, on average, for those affected. For those who turn(ed) 62 before 2017, it would reduce the WEP penalty by up to 50 percent, based on savings derived from improved enforcement of WEP, as determined by the Social Security actuary.
Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means See story, p. 6
(Continued on p. 12) w w w. n a r f e . o r g
narfe bill tracker
(Continued from p. 11) ISSUE
Bill Number / Name / Sponsor
H.R. 3029: RECOVER Act / Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC Cosponsors: 31 (D), 1 (R) OPM Security breach
S. 1746: RECOVER Act / Sen.
What Bill Would Do
Expands lifetime coverage of credit monitoring and identity theft protection of no less than $5 million to all individuals affected by the security breaches at the Office of Personnel Management.
Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Allows federal agencies to review and select job candidates from other federal agencies’ “best qualified list” of applicants.
Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Benjamin J. Cardin, D-MD
Cosponsors: 5 (D), 1 (I) H.R. 2827: Competitive Service Act / Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-VA Cosponsors: 1 (D), 1 (R) federal hiring
S. 1580: Competitive Service Act / Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT
Signed into law 3/18/16 See story, p. 7
H.R. 532: Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act / Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY
Allows federal employees six weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child.
Cosponsors: 59 (D), 1 (R)
Pension Scam Protection
| m a y
Referred to the House committees on Administration, and Oversight and Government Reform narfe, May 2015
S. 2033: Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act / Sen. Brian Schatz, D-HI
Referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Cosponsors: 2 (D)
Passed the House 2/29/16 Passed the Senate 9/17/15
Cosponsors: 2 (D), 4 (R)
Paid parental leave
Referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
narfe, November 2015
Sets forth procedures that H.R. 317: New Columbia Admission Act / Del. Eleanor would allow the District of Columbia to become a Holmes Norton, D-DC state known as New Columbia. Cosponsors: 130 (D)
Referred to the House committees on Oversight and Government Reform, and Administration
H.R. 3850: Annuity Safety and Security Under Reasonable Enforcement (ASSURE) Act / Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-PA
Referred to four House committees
Cosponsors: 24 (D), 1 (R)
Requires appropriate disclosures regarding “pension advance” schemes and caps the interest rates on these advances. Also creates a private right-ofaction to allow individuals to enforce these laws in court.
narfe, January 2016
Guaranteed the most comfortable pillow you’ll ever own!
How Well Did You Sleep Last Night? Did you toss and turn all night? Did you wake up with a sore neck, head ache, or was your arm asleep? Do you feel like you need a nap even though you slept for eight hours? Just like you, I would wake up in the morning with all of those problems and I couldn’t figure out why. Like many people who have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, my lack of sleep was affecting the quality of my life. I wanted to do something about my sleep problems, but nothing that I tried worked.
Mike Lindell Inventor & CEO of MyPillow®
The Pillow Was the Problem I bought every pillow on the market that promised to give me a better night’s sleep. After trying them all, with no success, I finally decided to invent one myself. I began asking everyone I knew what qualities they’d like to see in their “perfect pillow.” Their responses included: “I’d like a pillow that never goes flat”, “I’d like my pillow to stay cool” and “I’d like a pillow that adjusts to me regardless of my sleep position.” After hearing everyone had the same problems that I did, I spent the next two years of my life inventing MyPillow.
Mike Lindell Inventor & CEO of MyPillow®
In the early days, Mike and his family spent countless hours hand-making each MyPillow. This hard work and dedication to “doing it right” helped MyPillow become a classic American success story.
MyPillow® to the Rescue Flash forward eleven years and MyPillow, Mike Lindell’s revolutionary pillow design, has helped 12 million people improve the quality of their sleep. MyPillow has received thousands of testimonials from customers about how MyPillow has changed their lives. “Until I was diagnosed with various sleep issues, I had no idea why my sleep was so interrupted throughout the night. I watch Imus each morning and heard endless testimonials about MyPillow. I took his advice and ordered a MyPillow. Now I wake up rested and ready to conquer the day ahead. Thank you for helping me remember what it’s like to sleep like a baby!” - Jacqueline H.
Lindell has been featured on numerous talk shows, including Fox Business News and Imus in the Morning. Lindell and MyPillow have also appeared in feature stories in major magazines and newspapers across the country. MyPillow has received the coveted “Q Star Award” for Product Concept of the Year from QVC, and has been selected as the Official Pillow of the National Sleep Foundation. MyPillow’s patented interlocking fill allows you to adjust the pillow to your individual needs regardless of sleep position.
Unprecedented Guarantee and Warranty I do all of my own manufacturing in my home state of Minnesota and all materials are 100% made in the U.S.A. I’m so confident MyPillow will help you, I’m offering an unprecedented 60-day money back guarantee and a 10-year warranty not to go flat! I truly believe MyPillow is the best pillow in the world and that if everyone had one, they would get better sleep and the world would be a much happier place. God Bless.
Don’t wait—Order MyPillow and get sleep you’ve been dreaming about! Save 50% when you use promo code “NARFE9” BUY NOW AT:
mypillow.com OR call 800.873.3067
Save * thousands on hearing aids through TruHearing
Get this exclusive offer now! Call (877) 360-2432 or go to blue365deals.com/truhearing/FEP.
TruHearing is an independent company providing discounts on hearing aids. * Savings calculated based on a nationwide survey of hearing aid prices from independent audiology clinics compared to TruHearing pricing (2014).
TruHearing savings on hearing aids made available to Service Benefit Plan Members through Blue365. Price shown does not include cost of comprehensive hearing exam. Examination and testing for prescribing of hearing aids is covered under the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan. The Insured may need to submit for reimbursement. Must be a Service Benefit Plan member to access TruHearing pricing. State and local taxes and/or fees may apply. Prices and products subject to change. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan will pay a hearing aid benefit up to $2,500 total every 3 calendar years for adults age 22 and over, and up to $2,500 total per calendar year for members up to age 22. Do not rely on this communication piece alone for complete benefit information. All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations, and exclusions in your Service Benefit Plan brochure. The Blue365速 Discount Program offers access to savings on items that you may purchase directly from independent vendors, which may be different from items covered under your Service Benefit Plan or
Examples of Savings (per pair) Sample Product
(up to $2,500)
Service Benefit Plan hearing benefit
(up to $2,500)
Z Series i90
Verso 7 W
Over 100 Hearing Aids to Choose From Most Popular Styles
Invisible-in-the-canal Virtually undetectable
Receiver-in-the-canal Discrete, powerful, comfortable
Behind-the-ear More power and features
Prices and products subject to change. TruHearing is off ered through Blue365® which provides exclusive health and wellness deals and is a program of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
All appointments must be scheduled through TruHearing. 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, these items 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 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 item and vendors made available through Blue365, at any time. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies.
Questions & Answers
The following Questions & Answers were compiled by NARFE’s Federal Benefits Service Department staff. NARFE does not provide advice or assistance on legal, financial planning or tax matters.
employees Am I eligible for A FERS-RAE exemption?
I was hired in October 2013 as a FERS-RAE employee. Do I qualify to have my retirement contributions reduced from 3.1 percent of pay to 0.8 percent if my military service was credited toward my retirement? I bought back my military service (Navy active duty) and was credited with five years, seven months and 17 days. There is an exemption from the FERS-RAE category for new employees who previously had performed “at least five years of civilian service creditable or potentially creditable under FERS.” All the information I have received to date is that I am not eligible to change to the FERS contribution rate (0.8 percent) versus FERS-RAE (3.1 percent), but I would like your opinion as to whether this exemption applies to my situation.
No, it does not. Public Law 112-96 created a new category of federal employee: Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)Revised Annuity Employee (RAE). FERS-RAE employees – those 16
| M A Y
hired between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013 – have 3.1 percent of their pay deducted for their retirement, not 0.8 percent as earlier FERS employees do. (There is a second new category, FERS-FRAE, for new
employees hired after December 31, 2013. They pay 4.4 percent of their pay toward retirement.) The fact that you paid a deposit for military service performed before 2013 to obtain additional service credit in your retirement calculation is not relevant. The law specifies civilian service.
No time limit to take Social security
I am still an active federal employee and will reach age 70 in the near future. I have received letters from Social Security asking me when I want to start receiving my Social Security benefits. Must I apply for Social Security at age 70?
You can apply for Social Security any time after you are eligible. Social Security benefits are increased by a certain percentage (depend-
ing on your date of birth) if you delay receiving benefits until past your full retirement age. If you do so, your benefit amount will be increased until you start taking benefits or you reach age 70. That doesn’t mean you have to apply for benefits at age 70, but there no longer is any financial advantage to delaying.
Cannot use military time as LEO service
I am a law enforcement officer and nearing the time when I can retire if I have 20 years of creditable service as a federal law enforcement officer (LEO). I’m also in the Army Reserves and have had periods of active duty while serving in my law enforcement position. I think those periods of active duty should count toward the 20 years I need to retire. My human resources office says I can’t use military service as part of my 20 years of law enforcement service. Are they correct?
It appears that your periods of active duty while you were working as a law enforcement officer cannot be credited toward the 20 years of LEO service needed to retire at age 50. The following is what the Office of Personnel Management says in its Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Handbook for Personnel and Payroll Offices: “An employee must be at least age 50 at the time of separation and
have at least 20 years of service as a law enforcement officer and/ or firefighter (but does not have to be in a law enforcement officer or firefighter position at separation) to be eligible for retirement under the special provisions.” “NOTE 1: Accrued and unused sick and/or annual leave cannot be used to meet the minimum service requirement.” “NOTE 2: Military service, even if creditable under CSRS generally, cannot be credited under the special provisions for law enforcement officers and firefighters. Thus, military service cannot be used to meet the minimum service requirement.” (The CSRS rules regarding noncreditability of unused leave and military service apply equally under FERS.) However, under certain circumstances, an individual entering military service directly from a civilian position is entitled to have that period of service treated as if it were civilian. (See Chapter 22, Section 22A6, below.) If the individual is in a law enforcement or firefighter position at the time of entry into the military, the period creditable as civilian service may be used toward satisfying the minimum service requirement. “Section 22A6.1-2 Concurrent Military and Civilian Service (Military Furlough) “A. NOTE 3: If the military service is not creditable for retirement purposes because the person did not receive discharge under honorable conditions or the service was performed as a member of the National Guard under title 32
of the U.S. Code and ended prior to August 1, 1990, the employee receives 6 months service credit for each calendar year he or she was on military furlough. “B. Crediting Furlough Time Before and After Military Service. For any portion of a military furlough period during which the employee was not on active duty military service, the employee receives civilian service credit. “EXAMPLE: LWOP [Leave Without Pay] to enter military service: 7-2-68; Entered on active duty: 9-3-68; Discharged from military service: 9-1-70; Returned to duty with same agency: 10-9-70. The employee receives military service credit for the period 9-3-68 through 9-1-70. The employee receives LWOP civilian service credit for the periods 7-2-68 through 9-2-68 and 9-2-70 through 10-8-70.”
retirees Post-Retirement Marriage questions
I did not elect to provide a survivor annuity within two years after my marriage because I did not understand the program or the formulas used to reduce my pension. I have a Self Plus One enrollment in Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BC/BS), Standard option, through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. I also have Medicare Part A. If I die, can my wife stay with BC/BS health insurance? Will her premium w w w. n a r f e . o r g
Questions & Answers
be higher or lower? The most recent Verification of Life Insurance for my Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance plan provides an amount that says “Amount of Insurance after Final Reduction.” Is that the amount available to my widow for funeral/ cremation expenses? Does my wife keep the difference between that amount and the actual burial/ cremation expense? My Chinese-born wife has her Social Security number and a green card. If she becomes a widow, can she receive a higher Social Security benefit than I do? If I am alive when she turns 62, can she begin to receive Social Security benefits?
As a retiree, if you did not elect a survivor benefit for your wife within two years of your marriage, you cannot do so now. Without a monthly survivor annuity payable, your wife will not be able to continue health insurance coverage under your enrollment should you predecease her. After your death, the Office of Personnel Management will advise your wife that her coverage under your enrollment has ended and that she has a 30-day opportunity to convert to private insurance through the plan she was covered by at your death. In this case, she would pay the entire premium with no government contribution. Medicare is a separate federal
health program, and individuals must apply for their own Medicare benefits on or after age 65. The Verification of Life Insurance form you received shows what is payable upon your death under that policy. The beneficiary to whom it is payable can use the proceeds in any way she wishes. Beneficiaries are not required to use the proceeds to help pay for funeral or cremation expenses. Regarding your wife’s eligibility for benefits as a spouse or widow from your Social Security earnings, it would be best for you to visit your local Social Security office to discuss this.
Provide Answers for the Federal Community New Webinars Upcoming NARFE Federal Beneﬁts Institute Webinars Presented by Tammy Flanagan:
EXPLORING TSP WITHDRAWAL OPTIONS Thursday, May 26 2 p.m. ET
Tammy Flanagan, nationally recognized federal beneﬁts expert and NARFE member, helps you take control of your future with straightforward guidance on complex federal beneﬁts.
View Now On-Demand View archived webinars at www.NARFE.org/Institute Claiming Social Security Survivor Beneﬁts: Key Decisions for Feds of All Ages
5-YEAR COUNTDOWN TO RETIREMENT Thursday, June 30 2 p.m. ET
NARFE Federal Benefits Institute
| M A Y
What’s Your Best Retirement Date? From Federal Employee to Annuitant: Master the Process FEHBP and Medicare: Make the BEST Choice Will You Be Ready for Retirement?
NARFE members always view FREE! Not a member? Join NARFE today at
www.narfe.org/join to access all NARFE Federal Beneﬁts Institute recorded and upcoming live webinars.
This Necklace is NOT for Sale…
Lim FR ite EE d t Am ot he eth to fir yst “This necklace is thi st s a 250 Nec beautiful. I could d o 0 kla not believe my nly res ce ! pon eyes...GREAT!” de rs —Bonnie
It’s yours for FREE*
No kidding. Only Stauer can give you 200 carats of genuine amethyst for NOTHING.
Longs, S. C.
ou may think you understood the concept of “priceless” jewelry. For years, “priceless” meant “astronomically expensive.” Owning “priceless” treasures was a rare privilege reserved for celebrities, billionaires, and royalty. The best most of us could do was dream. Until now... Stauer smashes the luxury status quo with the release of our FREE* 200-Carat Lusso Amethyst Necklace. That’s right, we said FREE... as in “priceless.” No charge.* ZERO dollars.* Call now and we’ll send you this impressive helping of genuine amethyst (independently appraised at $295) for FREE. We cut the price 100% and you pay only $24.95, our regular charge for shipping, processing and insurance...we’ll even pay you back with a $25 Discount Certificate––that’s Better Than Free shipping! There are no tricks or gimmicks. You
aren’t obligated to spend another dime or dollar with us... although we make it VERY hard to resist. Why give away jewelry? We want your attention. Once you get a closer look at our rare gemstone treasures and vintage-inspired watches, and once you discover the guilt-free fun of getting luxury for less, we’re betting that you’ll fall in love with Stauer. If not? Keep your FREE Lusso Amethyst Necklace anyway. No hard feelings.
Buy NOW pay NEV , ER.
A collection of purple perfection. Your Lusso Amethyst Necklace is a 200-carat symphony of smooth purple genuine gemstones. Each gemstone’s shape and translucence ignites the velvety, violet hues. The polished amethysts are hand-strung on double-knotted jeweler’s thread, and the stunning 18" necklace (with 2" extender) secures with a gold-finished lobster clasp. Once you wear it, you’ll see that it hangs with the same weight and elegance as similar strands that sell for hundreds more.
An Exclusi ve FREE Jewelry O ffer from Stau ® er
Too good to pass up. Too good to last long. Amethyst is one of the world’s most coveted gemstones and our supply is extremely limited. We can only offer such an outrageous deal for a short time every few years. Over 30,000 thrilled customers were lucky enough to get this promotion last time. We only have about 2500 left in stock. Call to reserve your FREE Lusso Amethyst Necklace today and treat yourself (or someone you love) to a brilliant new definition of priceless luxury!
Lusso Amethyst Necklace (200 ctw) $249** Your Cost With Offer Code— FREE*
*pay only shipping & processing of $24.95. You must use the offer code below to receive this special free necklace.
1-800-333-2045 Offer Code LAN281-02
Mention this code for the free necklace.
Rating of A+
® 14101 Southcross Drive W., Dept. LAN281-02,
Burnsville, Minnesota 55337 www.stauer.com
Necklace enlarged to show luxurious detail.
200 carats of pure luxury independently appraised at $295†...yours FREE!* 200 ctw of genuine amethyst • Gold-finished spacers • 18"+2" length necklace * This offer is valid in the United States (and Puerto Rico) except in TX, FL, CO, OK, RI, NH, WV, OR, SC, VA and ID. These state residents will be charged one cent ($.01)to Necklace enlarged + shipping & processing for the item. Void where prohibited or restricted law. Offer show by luxurious detail. subject to state and local regulations. Not valid with any other offers and only while supplies last. This offer is limited to one item per shipping address. ** Free is only for customers using the offer code versus the price on Stauer.com without your offer code. † For more information concerning the appraisal, visit http://www.stauer.com/appraisedvalues.asp.
Smar t Luxuries—Surprising Prices™
Questions & Answers
publication can help you “be prepared”
A few months ago, there was a letter in your Q&A section from a daughter whose mother was a federal retiree and had died. She wanted to know whom to notify. I saved the Q&A for use, but now I have lost it. Can you send me the information for my daughter? I no longer have the use of my computer.
We are mailing to you “Be Prepared for Life’s Events,” form F-100, one of NARFE’s most popular publications, which will provide you and your daughter with the informa-
tion needed in the event of your death. The publication also is available for downloading on the NARFE website, www.narfe.org. Log in, then click on “Be Prepared” on the left side of the page under “Resource Library.”
retired LEOS qualify for tax exclusion
I retired from the Bureau of Prisons as a federal law enforcement officer (LEO). Are federal LEOs included in the definition of a “Public Safety Officer” for the purpose of excluding Federal Employees Health Benefits Program premiums from taxable pension income?
Yes. Under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, your retirement from the Bureau of Prisons as a law enforcement officer qualifies you for the federal tax exclusion. Here is what the IRS says in its Publication 721: “If you are an eligible retired public safety officer (law enforcement officer, firefighter, chaplain, or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew), you can elect to exclude from income distributions made from an eligible retirement plan that are used to pay the premiums for accident or health insurance or long-term care insurance. The premiums can be for coverage for you, your spouse, or dependents.
Do you or a loved one STRUGGLE on the stairs? We have the AFFORDABLE solution!
The only stairlift to earn the Ease of Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation.
The WORLD LEADER in stairlifts
BUY DIRECT from the manufacturer and SAVE
The MOST TRUSTED name in the industry
A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau
CALL NOW FOR YOUR FREE INFORMATION KIT AND DVD!
1-877-397-5903 MENTION THIS AD FOR
AcornStairlifts.com *Not valid on previous purchases. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Not valid on refurbished models. Only valid towards purchase of a NEW Acorn Stairlift directly from the manufacturer. $250 discount will be applied to new orders. Please mention this ad when calling.
| M A Y
THE PURCHASE OF A NEW ACORN STAIRLIFT!
BE TOUGH. BE SAFE. Get round the clock personal monitoring with Medical Alert “I fell out of bed at 4am and couldn’t get up. I had excellent response. They notified my daughter immediately. Don’t know why we waited so long to sign up with Medical Alert.” – James, Muskego, WI
✓ Free Equipment ✓ No Long Term Contract ✓ Sleek Personal Button You Can Wear Anywhere
✓ Stay Safe Anywhere With Mobile Solution
✓ Monitoring Agents Based in the USA Did you know that men are more likely to have a fatal fall than women. Our push-button alert system is easy to use and it saves lives. Don’t wait another day to activate your Medical Alert system.
Call Today 1-800-983-7855
ACT NOW TO SECURE YOUR SAFETY AND INDEPENDENCE Get Peace of Mind and Independence with Medical Alert Monitoring!
Get One Month FREE, FREE 2nd Button, FREE Lockbox AND FREE Shipping!* Call: 1-800-983-7855 or Visit: MedicalAlert.com *With annual rate plan. Promotional Period applies. Rates subject to change.
NO HOME PHONE, NO PROBLEM!
ASK ABOUT OUR MOBILE SOLUTION!
Questions & Answers
NARFE at Your Service The distribution must be made directly from the plan to the insurance provider. You can exclude from income the smaller of the amount of the insurance premiums or $3,000. You can only make this election for amounts that would otherwise be included in your income. The amount excluded from your income cannot be used to claim a medical expense deduction.”
Enroll in Self plus one?
Was there a new Open Season to change health benefits from Self and Family to Self Plus One? I didn’t hear anything about it.
A special enrollment period, February 1-29, was offered to federal employees who wished to change from Self and Family to Self Plus One. There was no special enrollment period offered for retirees because, by law, retirees can change from a higher level of coverage, such as Self and Family, to a lower level, such as Self Plus One or Self Only, at any time.
To obtain an answer to a federal benefits question, NARFE members should call 703-838-7760 and ask for the Federal Benefits Service Department; send the question by postal mail to NARFE Headquarters, ATTN: Federal Benefits; or submit it by email to email@example.com.
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 also are available in some areas. Use the Service Center listings on the NARFE website,
The 5th Edition of NARFE’s
Questions & Answers Book is Available Now!
NARFE’s retirement experts answer questions most frequently asked by federal annuitants and employees. Order your copy of the new Questions & Answers today!
Clip and mail to: NARFE Q&A Book, 606 N. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Name___________________________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________________________________
Number of Books
City _______________________________________ State ______ ZIP ____________
_____ x $9.95 = ________
Member ID# (As it appears on narfe magazine label) _____________________________
(includes shipping & handling)
Tax (if applicable) = _____ Virginia residents must add 6% tax (60 cents per copy)
Total cost = ___________
o Charge to my credit card
o MasterCard o Visa o Discover o AMEX
Card # __________________________________________________________________ Exp. Date ___________ / ____________ (mm)
Name on card (print) ______________________________________________________ Signature ________________________________________ Date _________________
Make checks payable to NARFE (No phone orders) 22
| M A Y
NARFE Hospital Income and Short-Term Recovery Insurance Plan: Available to NARFE Members and spouses age 65 and older with guaranteed acceptance.*
The costly expense of a Hospital stay and home recovery due to an unexpected injury or illness can take you far off course. And with Hospitals discharging patients sooner these days, even after complex surgeries and treatments, being financially impacted by the high costs of at home recovery has become a much more common occurrence. The NARFE Hospital Income and Short Term Recovery Insurance Plan can help you protect the savings you’ve worked so hard for and reach the future you’ve planned for, as well as help you take control of your health care choices — allowing you to maintain your self reliance, and receive the level of care you deserve after leaving the Hospital. This plan pays you, or anyone you choose, cash benefits for Hospital stays and home recovery expenses you often need after leaving the Hospital. And, you can you use the cash as you see fit. No questions asked.
Plan features include: • In-Hospital cash benefits, starting the first day you’re Hospitalized for a covered Injury or Sickness. • At-Home cash benefits, paid to you directly as soon as Medicare approves any post-Hospital home recovery treatments your doctor recommends. • Cash benefits paid in addition to any other coverage you may already have, and you can use the money however you choose. • Coverage that cannot be canceled because of your health or your age. • Economical group rates specifically negotiated by NARFE for our members.
To learn more or enroll in the NARFE Hospital Income and Short Term Recovery Insurance Plan, Call 1-800-233-5764 or visit us at www.narfeinsurance.com Request Number 073763-1-1-1 Hearing-impaired or voice-impaired members may call the Relay Line at 1-800-855-2881.
*This policy is guaranteed acceptance, but it does contain a Pre-Existing Conditions Limitation. All benefits are subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. Policies underwritten by Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company detail exclusions, limitations, reduction of benefits and terms under which the policies may be continued in full or discontinued. Plans may vary by state. AR Ins. Lic. #100102691, CA Insurance License #OG39709 The Hartford® is The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., and its subsidiaries, In CA d/b/a Mercer Health & Benefits Insurance Services LLC including issuing company Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company. ( ) ( ) 73763 (5/16) Copyright 2016 Mercer LLC. All rights reserved. SRP-1151 A HLA 5384
Cover Story 24
| m a y
Illustration by Bill Pragluski, Critical Stages, LLC
R A E Y E V I F E MAKING TH
N W O D COUNT T N E M E R I T TO R E
T N U CO
By Tammy Flanagan
If you are thinking about retirement, you might be
wondering, “Where do I begin?” The word “retirement” is a noun. But when you “retire,” the root word becomes an action-laden verb that should encompass several carefully considered steps. For federal employees, the act of retiring involves the process of transitioning from employee to annuitant – a point in time when you will begin receiving your earned retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, the Social Security Administration and the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. Allow yourself a five-year window prior to your anticipated date of retirement, and consider how the following parts of your retirement planning puzzle will fit together: 1. Defined-Benefit Plans: Make sure you know how much you can count on from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and Social Security. 2. Insurance Benefits: Consider your needs, and make sure that you are eligible to maintain adequate coverage. 3. Defined-Contribution Plans: Calculate how much income you can generate from your retirement savings to last the life of your retirement.
STEP ONE: DEFINED-BENEFIT PLANS
The CSRS or FERS retirement benefit is generally the cornerstone of retirement planning for federal employees. Entitlement to an immediate retirement benefit provides for the continuation of insurance coverage, which may include the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the Federal Employees’ Group Life
w w w. n a r f e . o r g
T N E M E R I T RE TDOWN N U O C
Insurance (FEGLI) Program, and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Five years ahead of your planned retirement date, you may want to: u Request retirement counseling: Take advantage of retirement counseling from your agency’s human resources office. Ask questions and seek assistance to clarify any issues or discrepancies in your service history. u Attend pre-retirement seminars: Offered at most federal departments and agencies, this is a convenient way to learn about your benefits, as well as the financial planning and tax issues related to retirement. Seminars also may cover estate planning, second careers and life after retirement. u Obtain a retirement estimate: Estimates are prepared by retirement specialists in your human resources office or through an automated online system. Retirement estimates can identify service credit issues, which can have an impact on your eligibility for retirement, the calculation of your retirement annuity and the timely processing of your retirement paperwork. Remember that your final retirement calculation is done by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – after you retire! Review the following information for accuracy: w Service History. Includes information on the beginning and ending dates of each period of service, along with the agency where you were employed; the type of retirement coverage to which you are entitled; and your work schedule. w Salary Information. Generally, the highthree average on which your annuity will be based is your last three consecutive years of basic pay, which includes locality pay. In some cases, however, your highest three years of salary may have occurred earlier in your career, particularly if you have had a downgrade or a demotion, or if you moved to an area with lower locality pay. w Deposit Information. You may have to pay a service credit deposit in order to receive an unreduced retirement or to receive credit for certain types of federal service. Such a scenario may be prompted by one or more of the following: • Periods of service covered by refunded CSRS or FERS contributions. This may have occurred after a break in service,
| m a y
during which you may have requested a refund of your CSRS or FERS retirement contributions; • Federal service that was not covered by retirement contributions, such as summer jobs, seasonal employment and temporary (not to exceed one year) appointments that are considered “nondeduction” service; or • Military service for post-1956 active duty personnel. Find out how much you owe and what happens if you don’t make the payment to determine whether making the service credit deposit will be cost-effective. Deposits for military service must be completed prior to retirement, and civilian service credit deposits may be paid during your career up to the time that OPM finalizes your retirement claim. u Check Survivor election: Your current spouse is entitled by law to a survivor annuity benefit, which will cause your retirement to be reduced. A survivor benefit can provide your spouse with income upon your death and is necessary for him/her to be able to continue federal health insurance if you predecease your spouse. u Consider impact of former Spouse: If you have a former spouse, you may have a court order or a divorce decree that specifies a portion of your retirement and/or survivor benefit be paid to your former wife or husband. Even though this entitlement may not appear on your retirement estimate, it could have an impact on the value of a survivor benefit for your current spouse if you have remarried. u Verify FERS Supplement: If you are entitled to a FERS Supplement, make sure it is computed on your estimate. This provides an additional source of income that will bridge the time between your retirement from federal service and when you qualify for Social Security retirement. The supplement is paid only until age 62 on an immediate, unreduced FERS retirement, and it is subject to an earnings limit. u Discuss CSRS Offset system: Some federal employees are covered by CSRS that is offset by Social Security. CSRS Offset generally covers employees who had at least five years of federal service before a break in service of at least one year and then were rehired after 1983 and required to contribute to Social Security. If this applies to you, discuss the amount of
reduction (offset) to your retirement income with your specialist at work. Also, consider the impact that such an offset will have to the surviving spouseâ€™s benefit when making a survivor benefit election. u examine work history: Part-time, intermittent, WAE (when actually employed) and leave without pay are examples of work schedules that can impact retirement eligibility and/or the calculation of a CSRS or FERS benefit.
Social Security Retirement
The Social Security Administration offers a retirement planning tool (www.ssa.gov/planners/retire) that provides detailed information about your Social Security retirement benefits and offers helpful suggestions for those approaching retirement age. If you are within the five-year window of age 62, it is time to contemplate the best time to claim your Social Security retirement benefit. Social Security retirement benefits may be claimed as early as age 62. Remember, though, that there is an earnings limitation if you are under the full retirement age (ages 65 to 67, depending on your year of birth) for Social Security. If you have other sources of income, such as your government pension and/ or retirement savings, that will provide adequate replacement of your wages, you may be able to delay filing for Social Security retirement to earn delayed retirement credits. Unfortunately, your life expectancy can have the biggest impact on the optimum time to claim your benefit. Other factors impacting Social Security include the effect that the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) may have on your Social Security benefits if you also receive a pension from work not covered by Social Security (such as CSRS). Remember, too, that your spouse and/or eligible former spouse may be able to claim benefits on your Social Security work record.
Other Retirement Benefits
Some retirees will have additional sources of retirement income from military careers, retirement savings and pensions earned from time worked in the private sector or from self-employment. Be sure to find out when you are entitled to start collecting any other retirement benefits and the value of these benefits so you can figure this into your financial plan.
STEP TWO: INSURANCE
It would be very difficult to retire comfortably without planning for insurance needs. With proper
planning, federal employees may continue their coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the Federal Employeesâ€™ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) Program, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), and the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) into their retirement. FEHBP and FEGLI have a five-year test that must be met in order to continue these benefits into retirement. FEHBP, FEGLI and FEDVIP also have a requirement that includes being eligible for an immediate retirement. Annuitants filing for an immediate retirement are eligible to receive their annuities within 30 days of their separation from federal service. An immediate retirement may include a postponed retirement for an employee who separated under FERS at the minimum retirement age (age 55-57, depending on year of birth) with at least 10 years of creditable service, including five years of civilian service. By postponing retirement, the fed can avoid some or all of the age reduction penalties associated with immediate retirement. FLTCIP is a completely portable insurance benefit for federal employees and eligible family members and also allows enrollment during retirement, provided enrollees pass the medical underwriting questions. Eligible family members include spouses and children over age 18. (Parents and in-laws, however, may enroll only while the applicant is a current federal employee.) Flexible spending accounts, which provide tax-saving benefits for health and dependent-care expenses, are employee-only benefits and do not continue into retirement.
Five-year test for FEHBP
To continue your FEHBP coverage into retirement, you must have been continuously enrolled in any FEHBP plan (though not necessarily the same plan) for at least the five years of service immediately preceding retirement (or if less than five years, for all service since your first opportunity to enroll). The five-year requirement period can include the following: the time you are covered as a family member under another personâ€™s FEHBP enrollment; or the time you are covered under the Uniformed Services Health Benefits Program (also known as TRICARE), provided you were covered under an FEHBP enrollment at the w w w. n a r f e . o r g
T N E M E R I T RE TDOWN N U O C
time of your retirement. This coverage must be documented in your official personnel records and will be transferred to OPM upon your retirement.
Five-year test for FEGLI
To continue FEGLI into retirement, you also must have been insured for the five years of service immediately before the starting date of your CSRS or FERS retirement. The amount of your Basic insurance in retirement is your Basic insurance amount (equal to your annual rate of basic pay, including locality, rounded up to the next even $1,000 plus $2,000) at the time you separate as an employee. This amount continues until you reach age 65, after which it may reduce, based on the election options available at the time you retire. If you are eligible and want to carry Option A ($10,000); Option B (multiples of your final pay rate, up to five times your basic pay rounded to the next higher $1,000); or Option C (family coverage for your spouse, multiples of $5,000 for your spouse up to $25,000; and multiples of $2,500 up to $12,500 on each of your eligible children) into retirement, you must have been insured for each option or multiple of Option B or C for the five years of service immediately prior to the starting date of your CSRS or FERS retirement.
FEGLI Open Season
A FEGLI life insurance open season is scheduled for the month of September 2016 for current federal employees. Coverage elected at that time will be effective the first pay period beginning on or after October 1, 2017. Outside of an open season, eligible employees can enroll or increase their coverage by taking a physical exam or with a “qualifying life event” (marriage, divorce, death of a spouse or acquisition of an eligible child). To continue life insurance added during the 2016 open season, your retirement would have to begin five years after the effective date of coverage or after October 2022.
STEP THREE: DEFINED-CONTRIBUTION PLANS
The majority of federal employees participate in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and are accumulating valuable retirement savings. However, have you begun to evaluate the ways that you can use your retirement savings to supplement your other sources of income? Your retirement savings may be the key to creating enough income to cover the outgoing expenses of your retirement years.
You may make a one-time partial withdrawal from the TSP after you separate from active service. This option may allow you to pay off debt, make a one-time purchase or reinvest some of your TSP into an individual retirement account (IRA). Be aware of the risks involved in withdrawing your TSP funds prematurely and forfeiting the funds’ extremely low administrative costs and other advantages of the TSP. Monthly income can be produced from the TSP in three different ways: 1. You can elect to receive monthly payments of specific dollar amounts, which you may adjust annually; 2. You can receive monthly payments that are computed based on your life expectancy. The TSP will calculate the payments annually based on the IRS life expectancy tables. This option complies with the required minimum distributions that must be taken after you separate from active service and are over age 70½. 3. You can withdraw all or part of your TSP account as a life annuity, which is a monthly benefit paid to you for life. The TSP will purchase your annuity(ies) on your behalf from its provider. The five-year period prior to your retirement is an ideal time for a financial planning check-up to be sure that you are on track for a financially secure retirement. Explore the taxation of all of your retirement benefits so that you understand your “net” retirement income and the ability of this income to sustain you through a long retirement. Although this article has focused on the five years leading up to your projected retirement date, retirement planning should be considered an activity that starts as soon as you begin your career. Employees at every age should find ways to save for their retirement years and take the time to understand how the various parts of a retirement plan fit together. Be sure to stay flexible to allow for the forks in the road of life. Although I don’t recommend waking up every morning to monitor your retirement savings or to count down your retirement clock, I do think that preparing early and adequately for your retirement will allow for a smoother transition from being an active to being a retired fed — and will help you to better enjoy your retirement years! —Tammy Flanagan IS NARFE Federal Benefits Institute Webinar presenter; SENIOR BENEFITS DIRECTOR at THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TRANSITION PLANNING, INC.; and manager of Tammy Flanagan, LLC. she conducts retirement training at federal agencies, writes a weekly column called “Retirement Planning” for www. govexec.com and is a frequent guest on federal news radio.
Pay 0 $
For Digital Hearing Aids Federal Employees may be eligible for a $2,500 benefit*
National Brand (IIC, CIC, BTE)
Suggested Retail Price
Your Final Cost
Your Special Price (per pair)
Your Benefit Plan (per pair)
Experience the latest digital technology. Several brands and discreet models to choose from! Call YourHearing Network today at 877-696-5335 to schedule your complimentary hearing screening with a provider near you! IIC
Actual Size IIC (Invisible-in-the-Canal) and designRITE (Receiver-in-the-Ear)
YourHearing Network gives you easy access to a network of carefully screened hearing care professionals and a wide selection of digital hearing aids.
Your out-of-pocket costs may vary depending on plan benefits, eligibility, deductible, co-insurance and model of device chosen. This is not a guarantee of coverage or payment. Please consult your plan for coverage details.
FE Dental and vision coverage is winning over new members 10 years after launch
The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, observing a decade of steadily increasing enrollments and offerings. “More than 4.25 million federal employees, annuitants and their eligible family members now have comprehensive dental and vision coverage under FEDVIP,” says John O’Brien, director of Healthcare
| M A Y
By Everett A. Chasen
AN ENROLLEE-PAY-ALL PROGRAM WHOSE TIME HAS COME
and Insurance at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). â€œThis means employees and annuitants who were seeking this type of coverage have taken advantage of the opportunity to enroll for coverage and have the premiums deducted from their pay or annuity.â€? The program, authorized in the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Benefits Enhancement Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-496), began enrolling eligible employees and retirees in 2006, at the same time as the Open Season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and the Federal
w w w. n a r f e . o r g
FEDVIP Flexible Spending Account Program. FEDVIP benefits are still offered only during Open Season, except for employees who have undergone “qualifying life events,” such as marriage, divorce and changes in employment status. New federal employees can enroll in FEDVIP within the first 60 days of their employment.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FEDVIP and FEHBP
FEDVIP and FEHBP are separate programs, although the two often are confused with one another. Some FEHBP plans offer coverage of some dental and vision services, and several insurance carriers participate in both programs. Those who are eligible to enroll in both programs can choose to enroll in FEHBP only, FEDVIP only, both or neither. They also can choose different enrollment types for each program. For example, they can enroll in Self and Family coverage under FEHBP, but Self Only coverage under FEDVIP. While enrollment in FEHBP usually is done through agency human resources offices or the OPM retirement system, there is only one way to enroll in FEDVIP – through the BENEFEDS website at www.BENEFEDS.com. BENEFEDS also can be reached by phone at 877-888-3337. The most important difference between the two systems, however, is that while the government makes a significant contribution toward the cost of FEHBP premiums, there is no government contribution toward FEDVIP. Those electing to participate in the program pay 100 percent of the premiums charged by participating health care providers. What enrollees pay in FEDVIP is based on where they live and the plan and option they choose. Employees’ premiums are paid with pretax dollars – a valuable tax advantage. An FEHBP plan that has some coverage for dental or vision services is the first payer to health care providers. In this case, the employee’s or annuitant’s FEDVIP plan will coordinate the payment process with his or her FEHBP plan. Vision and dental benefit costs, however, are not reduced if an enrollee has similar coverage under an FEHBP plan. 32
| M A Y
All federal and U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employees and annuitants who are eligible to enroll in either FEHBP or the Health Insurance Marketplace – and whose position is not excluded by law or regulation – also are eligible to enroll in either or both FEDVIP insurance programs. OPM suggests those who are uncertain about their eligibility contact their agency’s human resources office or the OPM Retirement Operations Center (888-767-6738 or retirement@ opm.gov).
STATUS OF THE PROGRAM
According to OPM, as of the 2015 Open Season, the vision program has approximately 1.2 million enrollments (about 40 percent of the total FEDVIP enrollment), and the dental program has approximately 1.7 million enrollments. FEDVIP’s vision program provides a choice of four nationwide vision plans, each of which covers routine eye examinations and glasses, including both frames and lenses, or contact lenses in lieu of glasses. The plans vary in the other types of vision services they cover. These services might include discounts on Lasik (laser vision correction) surgery, therapy for low vision, and prosthetic eyes. The dental program allows employees and annuitants to choose from six nationwide and four regional dental plans that cover basic services, such as exams, x-rays and cleanings; intermediate services, such as fillings and extractions; major services, such as crowns and root canals; and orthodontics services for dependents under age 19. Some dental plans require that the insured use an in-network provider to receive benefits. “In the past 10 years, the program has increased in both the number of plans and the offerings for both dental and vision,” O’Brien says. “FEDVIP started with seven dental and three vision plans. The benefits available have also increased. For example, most dental plans now include implants and adult orthodontia.”
PLAN COMPARISON TOOL
OPM’s Dental and Vision plan comparison tool is a useful guide to any employee or annuitant con-
sidering either obtaining a new plan or changing plans. The site, which can be found at www. opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/dental-vision/ plan-information/compare-plans/ requires inputting a ZIP code to find a list of plans in the area. Respondents can choose lists for dental plans, vision plans or both. The resulting list includes both standard- and high-option plans, phone numbers for the plans and a link to the plans’ websites. Site visitors are given the option to check up to four plans for side-by-side comparisons. The comparison provides rates at the Self, Self Plus One, and Self and Family coverage level for each plan selected. The dental care comparison includes the percentage of payments the plan will make for preventive, intermediate, major and orthodontic care for both in-network and out-of-network providers. The tool also compares the deductibles of the selected plans, if any; the annual maximum benefit available per person, if any; and the orthodontic lifetime maximum contribution the plan will make, if any. On this page, too, OPM offers each plan’s phone number, a link to the plan’s website and a feature not available in the initial search results – a link to the plan brochure. Vision plans tell you how frequently the provider will pay for exams, lenses and frames; the co-pay amount for in-network providers; and any of the plan’s additional features, which may include discounts for Lasik surgery, breakage warranties for glasses, and retinal imaging. Generally, both standard-option and highoption vision plans offer eye exams and lenses every 12 months. Some standard-option plans allow you to change frames every year, while others require two years to elapse before you can get a new pair.
Employees’ FEDVIP premiums are paid with pretax dollars – a valuable tax advantage.
LINK TO A POPULAR WATCHDOG Organization
The OPM site also offers a link to an additional tool provided by a consumer watchdog organization. Consumers’ Checkbook offers an annual guide to health plans for federal employees and retirees, and ranks and rates plans by estimated out-of-pocket costs, and more. Chapter seven of this guide provides information on both FEHBP and FEDVIP dental and vision options. On its website, Consumers’ Checkbook suggests that before selecting a dental plan, be sure to check with your family dentist on the plan or plans with which he or she participates. “These plans are good buys only when you use network providers,” it says. “The primary advantages of joining a vision plan,” according to the Checkbook website, “are that it enables you to lock in a provider discount as well as a tax saving, while budgeting for your eyewear.” The Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees is available in both book and online form; a version for 2017 will be available in time for the 2016 Open Season. Some federal agencies make either the book, or online access to it, available to all their employees. The Consumers’ Checkbook website is www.checkbook.org. NARFE also includes information about FEDVIP plans in its annual Open Season coverage in the December issue of narfe magazine.
DIFFERING OPINIONS ON FEDVIP’S VALUE
While there is little doubt that the FEDVIP program, in its decade of existence, has filled an important need for many federal employees and retirees, there is some question about the value it provides. “We really need both the vision and the dental plans,” says Bob Pirie, a federal retiree who lives in Alexandria, VA. “My wife has had a significant number of dental problems – and they’re not the normal stuff; they’re very expensive.” “We get regular checkups virtually for free,” he continues. The Piries also like the vision insurance. “If I didn’t have the insurance, I’d probably get a cheap frame for my glasses, just what I needed to get by. With the insurance, I get a better w w w. n a r f e . o r g
FEDVIP frame. With my last prescription, I also got the kind of lenses that change and become sunglasses when you’re out in the sun, and inside they are regular glasses. You can upgrade and not pay exorbitant amounts of money.” “I would recommend the supplement to other retirees. I don’t see how you can beat the insurance. For people like us, who have known dental and vision problems, I wouldn’t be without it!” Some who do not have the program, however, are less enthusiastic. “I don’t have either plan,” says Nhi Nguyen, a current federal employee. “I had Lasik done eight years ago, and other than an eye exam every 18 months with my ophthalmologist, I don’t need anything else. As for dental, I love my dental hygienist. I’ve followed her to two practices, neither of which submit claims or take insurance.” In the 2013 Federal Employee Benefits Survey – the most recent such survey for which OPM has published results – 11.5 percent of respondents rated FEDVIP Vision as “poor value for the money,” compared to 12.5 percent of those who rated it as “excellent.” Moreover, 16 percent of respondents rated FEDVIP Dental as “poor value for the money,” compared to just 11.8 percent rating it as an “excellent value.” The report accompanying the survey results noted that “respondents rated these programs the most negatively” of all the programs offered as benefits to employees. OPM, not surprisingly, has a different opinion. “We believe FEDVIP has very high value,” O’Brien asserts. Eligible individuals, he explains, can enroll in a vision Self Only plan for under $3 per pay period, and a dental Self Only plan for as little as $9 per pay period, depending on their home ZIP code. The agency cites the expansion of available plans since 2006 as an example of how it has promoted consumer choice in the administration of the program. O’Brien also believes that enrollees may be more “price sensitive” in evaluating FEDVIP compared to other benefits programs “since FEDVIP, by statute, is an enrollee-pay-all program with no government contribution.” “We encourage eligible individuals to examine their FEHBP coverage before enrolling in 34
| M A Y
FEDVIP,” he continues, “since some may have limited dental or vision coverage already.” According to the 2013 survey report, only 48.5 percent of eligible employees and annuitants were enrolled in the dental plan and only 37.5 percent were enrolled in the vision plan — fewer than half, in both cases, of the total eligible population and a far lower percentage than are enrolled in either FEHBP or the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Program (FEGLI). OPM believes this is a result of the program’s relative newness, not because employees and annuitants don’t like what they see. “FEDVIP turns 10 this year,” says O’Brien. “FEDVIP’s enrollment cannot be compared to FEHBP or FEGLI, since these programs have been offered to the federal community for decades.”
THE FUTURE OF FEDVIP
When asked why he did not participate in FEDVIP, one federal retiree simply said he “didn’t even know” about the program. Another retiree, who left federal service in 2000, was confused about eligibility requirements. When asked why she did not choose to participate in FEDVIP, she said, “I was gone before this was offered,” which actually does not affect her eligibility. OPM says that it is trying to get the word out. “We seek to broaden awareness of FEDVIP in several ways,” says O’Brien. “We post informational videos and webinars, and hold ‘benefits awareness’ sessions, going directly to federal offices with OPM experts to explain the OPM employee benefit programs.” When asked about the future of the FEDVIP program, O’Brien explains: “Each year, OPM negotiates with FEDVIP plans on benefits and rates. Eligible individuals can enroll or make a change in their plan during Open Season. We encourage employees and annuitants to review their choices every year to ensure they have coverage that is the best fit for them and their eligible family members.” — Everett A. (Ev) Chasen is a writer and communications
consultant in the washington, DC, area. He retired from the federal government After 35 years of service.
N THE U.S.A EI .
SPECIAL OFFER for NARFE READERS!
H P RID
Financing available with approved credit
A Safe Step Walk-In Tub will offer independence to those seeking a safe and easy way to bathe right in the convenience and comfort of their own home. Constructed and built right here in America for safety and durability from the ground up, and with more standard features than any other tub.
✓ Carefully engineered hydro-massage jets strategically placed to target sore muscles and joints ✓ New! MicroSoothe Air Therapy System – which oxygenates, softens and exfoliates skin while offering life-changing therapeutic benefits
✓ A NEW heated seat providing warmth from beginning to end
✓ The highest quality tub complete with the most
comprehensive lifetime warranty on the entire tub
✓ Top-of-the-line installation and service, all included at one low, affordable price You’ll agree – there just isn’t a better walk-in tub on the market. So take your first step towards feeling great and stay in the home you love. Give us a call today!
For your FREE information kit and DVD, and our Senior Discounts, Call Today Toll-Free
Call today and receive exclusive savings of
$1500 OFF for a limited time only
Call Toll-Free 1-888-514-3822
Mind the Details: age 55 exemption and ROTH TSP
n the March issue’s Managing Money column, we learned that the “age 55 exception” allows retirees to tap a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account prior to age
59½ without incurring the 10 percent early distribution penalty. You may recall that the age 55 exemption applies to distributions taken when you separate from service in or after the year you reach age 55 (or age 50 for certain public safety employees). If you plan on taking advantage of the age 55 exception and you have money in the Roth
TSP, there are a few details of which you need to be aware. For starters, if you have both a traditional and a Roth balance in your TSP account, any withdrawals you make will be paid proportionally from each balance. Furthermore, a withdrawal from the Roth TSP made payable to you will consist of both contributions and earnings. This is quite different from withdrawals from Roth IRAs, which, according to the Internal Revenue Service ordering rules, are deemed to come first from contributions, then from earnings. Why does this matter? For a Roth distribution to be completely tax-free (the whole point of Roth accounts), the distribution must be “qualified”; otherwise, any earnings distributed are taxable and subject to the early distribution penalty. And for a Roth distribution to be qualified, you must clear two hurdles. First, your Roth account must have been open for 36
| m a y
at least five years; and second, you have to be over age 59½ at the time of distribution. This, obviously, will pose a problem if you plan on retiring before 59½ and want to take withdrawals from your TSP account. Even if you qualify for the age 55 exception, any withdrawal from a Roth TSP balance still will be considered nonqualified. Sure, you’ll avoid the 10 percent early distribution penalty, but you’ll still have to pay taxes on the earnings distributed from the Roth TSP balance. It’s possible, however, to transfer all or part of an eligible rollover distribution from a TSP account to a traditional or Roth IRA. You also can direct the TSP to transfer your traditional TSP portion of the withdrawal to a traditional IRA and the Roth TSP portion to a Roth IRA. One option, then, would be
By Mark A. Keen,
to take a partial or full withdrawal, transfer the traditional and Roth TSP balances to the appropriate IRA, and then take withdrawals from the IRA of choice. Bear in mind, though, the age 55 exception does not apply to IRAs, so you’re not out of the woods yet. Once the money is in the traditional IRA, you could tap that account by taking substantially equal periodic payments (SEPP), another exception to the early distribution penalty outlined in the March column. You also could take distributions from the Roth IRA, but don’t forget about the two hurdles you’ll need to clear for those distributions to be qualified. Interestingly, your holding period doesn’t transfer from the Roth TSP to the Roth IRA, so unless you already have a Roth IRA established, your holding period will start over. All hope is not lost! Recall that Roth IRA withdrawals come from contributions first, then earnings. And since you have already paid taxes on those contributions, you won’t have to pay taxes or withdrawal penalties on them again. As long as you have an open TSP account, you can always transfer the money from your traditional IRA back to the TSP. So, after you have satisfied the rules for the SEPP, which require you to continue the
BENEFITS RESOURCES NARFE offers members a wide range of information on federal benefits. Visit www. narfe.org/federalbenefits and www.narfe.org/ FederalBenefitsInstitute.
payments for five years or until you reach 59½, whichever is longer, you can transfer the traditional IRA back. One way to keep your TSP open is to elect a partial withdrawal. Although you’ll never be able to completely pull out your Roth TSP without withdrawing 100 percent of your TSP, a large partial withdrawal can get most of the Roth TSP out, while still preserving the option of transferring the
traditional IRA back to the TSP later. You also can get creative by splitting monthly withdrawals (as long as they are an eligible rollover distribution) and transferring some money to a Roth IRA, a portion to a traditional IRA, and directing a portion of the traditional money to be paid to you directly. This last part of the split would provide you with income while satisfying the age 55 exception rules. Check out the TSP publications “Important Tax Information About Payments From Your TSP Account” and “Withdrawing Your TSP Account After Leaving Federal Service” for more details. They can be found on the TSP website, www.tsp.gov. Mark A. Keen, CFP®, is partner, Keen & Pocock, 10300 Eaton place, Fairfax, VA, and an investment adviser representative and registered principal of The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. (SFA). Securities and advisory services are offered through SFA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
4/15/14 1:28 PM w w w. n a r f e . o r g 37
The Informed Citizen
all for one, one for all
n at least nine states – Alabama, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia – NARFE federations are lobbying their state legislatures to protect the interests of present and future federal retirees.
In Alabama, NARFE is part of a retiree coalition defending current law, while in other states, we seek tax parity with the treatment of Social Security beneficiaries or retirees in nearby states. As with our past successes in Indiana, Missouri and Oklahoma, these efforts are led by a single individual or committee but require much wider enlistments at critical stages in the legislative process. If you have just finished filing federal and state income taxes, now is the time to contact your chapter or federation officers to join their campaign to enact state income tax parity for federal retirees. To be connected with the appropriate federation leader, email email@example.com or call 571-483-1265.
federal family realizes “we must hang together, or surely we will hang separately.” One concrete way to show solidarity with our present and future members in the Postal Service is to actively support the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive. This annual event is the largest single-day food drive in the country. The 2016 goal is to surpass the 77.1 million pound food collection reached in 2011. Postal patrons are urged to leave a bag of nonperishable food, avoiding glass containers, by their city or rural mailbox on Saturday, May 14. To enhance your act of solidarity, staple a membership application (page 56) and this article to your generous food contribution.
Postal Solidarity NARFE is a proud member of A Grand Alliance (www. agrandalliance.org). In fact, NARFE was present at the creation of this coalition to support the fight to protect and enhance public postal services. The Grand Alliance is one of the many coalitions in which NARFE is an active partner. Like Benjamin Franklin, the
Public Service Recognition Week An even longer running annual event in May is Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). Celebrated this year on May 1-7,
| m a y
By Christopher Farrell, senior analyst
PSRW was begun in 1985 by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER). NARFE is one of the 23 member organizations of PER, whose mission is to promote government employment and careers, educate Americans about the value of public servants and the services they provide, and recognize excellence in public service and promote the spirit of public service. The PSRW website (www. PublicServiceRecognitionWeek. org) has a Toolkit filled with ways to honor the men and women who serve as federal, state, county and local government employees. Contact the nearest Federal Executive Board (www.feb.gov/locations.asp) to celebrate public servants in your community, using PSRW as the news peg. NARFE chapters often have an excellent standing with both local elected officials and local newspapers. PSRW is an occasion to use those relationships and show solidarity with fellow public servants. A template letter to the editor that can be personalized is available in the NARFE Legislative Action Center at www.narfe.org. If you live in the greater Washington, DC, area and are interested in participating in, or volunteering at, the Public Service 5K run/walk in Anacostia Park on May 1, contact leg@ narfe.org.
Int S ro ho du ck cto in ry g Pr ice !
6 95 ea ch
Actual size is 40.6 mm
Millions Demand America’s Purest Silver Dollar. Shouldn’t You? Secure Your New 2016 Eagle Silver Dollars Now!
illions of people collect the American Eagle Silver Dollar. In fact it’s been the country’s most popular Silver Dollar for thirty years. Try as they might, that makes it a very hard “secret” to keep quiet. And right now, many of those same people are lining up to secure the brand new 2016 U.S. Eagle Silver Dollars —placing their orders now to ensure that they get America’s newest Silver Dollar, in stunning Brilliant Uncirculated condition, before millions of others beat you to it.
America’s Brand New Silver Dollar
This is a strictly limited release on the 30th anniversary of one of the most beautiful silver coins in the world. Today you have the opportunity to secure these massive, hefty one full Troy ounce U.S. Silver Dollars in Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) condition. The 100-year-old design features a walking Lady Liberty draped in a U.S. flag on one side and a majestic U.S. Eagle and shield on the other. But the clock is ticking...
The Most Affordable Precious Metal— GOVERNMENT GUARANTEED
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
A Coin Flip You Can’t Afford to Lose
2016 American Eagle Silver Dollar BU Shocking Low Price $16.95 ea. (plus s/h) LIMIT 10. Additional 2016 Silver Eagle BU Dollars may be purchased for $17.95 each. Limited to 50 total coins per household.
Silver is by far the most affordable of all precious metals — and each full Troy ounce American Eagle Silver Dollar is governmentguaranteed for its 99.9% purity, authenticity, and legal tender status.
Why are we releasing the most popular Silver Dollar in America for a remarkably affordable price? We’re doing it to introduce you to what hundreds of thousands of smart collectors and satisfied customers have known since 1984—GovMint.com is the best source for coins worldwide.
Timing is Everything
Our advice? Keep this to yourself. The more people who know about this offer, the worse for you. Demand for Silver Eagles in recent years has shattered records. Experts predict that the 30th anniversary 2016 Silver Eagles may break them once again.
You must be 100% satisfied with your 2016 American Eagle Silver Dollars or return them within 30 days of receipt for a prompt refund (less s/h). Don’t miss out on this exciting new release. Call immediately to secure these American Eagle Silver Dollars NOW!
FREE SHIPPING on 9 or More! Limited time only. Product total over $150 before taxes (if any). Standard domestic shipping only. Not valid on previous purchases.
For fastest service, call today toll-free
1-800-969-0686 Offer Code ESB310-06
Please mention this code when you call.
GovMint.com • 14101 Southcross Dr. W. Dept. ESB310-06 • Burnsville, Minnesota 55337 Prices and availability subject to change without notice. Facts and figures deemed accurate as of Januaty 2016. NOTE: GovMint.com® is a private distributor of worldwide government coin and currency issues and privately issued and licensed collectibles, and is not affiliated with the United States government. GovMint.com is not an investment company and does not offer financial advice or sell items as an investment. The collectible coin market is speculative, and coin values may rise or fall over time. All rights reserved. © 2016 GovMint.com.
THE BEST SOURCE FOR COINS WORLDWIDE™
RETURNS are net of the effect of accrued administrative expenses and investment expenses/costs. Source: TSP (For additional monthly returns, go to www.tsp.gov.) 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: (Lifecycle) 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.)
OPM Retirement Claims Processing status
Central banks across the world signaled their readiness to boost economic growth in March, resulting in strong gains for the C, S and I Funds. The I Fund also was helped by weakness in the U.S. dollar. Interest rates fell again, as expectations of the Federal Reserve raising rates this year diminished further, causing the F Fund to climb. The L Funds performed as expected, with strong returns for the month and positive returns across the board for the quarter. —BY Ravindra Deo, Chief Investment Officer, Thrift Savings Plan
Countdown to COLA
he Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) decreased 0.04 percent in February. To calculate the 2017 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), the indices of July, August and September 2016 will be averaged and compared with the 2014 third-quarter average of 234.242. The percentage increase, if any, determines the COLA. February’s index, 230.972, is down 1.40 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. February’s index is 0.08 percent higher than the December 2015 base index of 230.791. The CPI represents purchases of food and beverages, housing, apparel, transportation, medical care, recreation, education and communication, and other goods and services. Included are various government fees, such as water charges, auto registration fees, and sales and excise taxes. Month
For the Record
Stock funds post strong March gains, f fund also climbs
Thrift savings Plan fund returns
Claims Received Inventory
MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST September OctOBER November December JanUARY FEBRUARY
5,478 6,292 7,845 6,920 9,862 7,341 6,300 8,374 6,019 4,753 15,423 11,293
20,594 18,226 15,374 14,511 16,455 16,350 14,706 12,642 12,562 11,399 19,761 22,692
Avg # of Days % Processed in to Process Case in 60 Days or Less More Than 90 Days
82% 73% 68% 69% 69% 70% 70% 74% 76% 78% 79% 80%
99 74 79 99 97 98 94 86 98 104 94 96
FOR THE NUMBER of new retirement cases the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) receives each month by agency and the percent with errors that it returns to those agencies, go to www.opm.gov/retirement-services/. Source: OPM 40
| m a y
Monthly % Change
% Change from 234.242
March April May June July August September
Donate to NARFE Programs Support Alzheimer’s Research
Your charitable contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Write your chapter number on check; make it payable to: NARFE-Alzheimer’s Research
Enclosed is my NARFE-Alzheimer’s contribution: $ Every cent that is contributed is used for research. Please circle: Mr. Mrs. Miss Ms. and mail to: Name: Alzheimer’s Association Address: 225 N. Michigan Ave., 17th Floor City: State: ZIP: Chicago, IL 60601-7633 Chapter Number: Credit Card Information: MasterCard VISA NARFE members contributed for If you have any questions, write to: Discover AMEX Alzheimer’s research: $12 Million Fund National Committee Chair Card Number: Merv Stuckey, 2272 E. Buster Mountain Dr. Expiration Date: (mm)/ (yy) Oro Valley, AZ 85755-4709 *Total as of February 29, 2016 3-Digit Security Code: 100% of all contributed funds go to Name: (please print) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: State: ZIP: 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.
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)
Make check payable to: NARFE-FEEA Disaster Fund or NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund.
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
NARFE-FEEA Scholarship Fund
Name: Address: City: State: ZIP:
Did you know thaT...
s t r at e g i c P l a n
What has been done, and what is to c ome
ARFE, like any organization of its type, is constantly fighting to remain strong so that it can achieve its mission. Declining membership and declining revenues threaten the future of the organization. At the 2014 National Convention, NARFE took a decisive step when members called for a program to create a strategic plan and a strategic planning process that will enable our organization to stabilize membership, grow its finances and secure its future. At its March 2015 meeting, the National Executive Board (NEB) agreed on priorities to be addressed. This phase of the process is nearing completion. The next step will be the adoption of several new bylaws consistent with the plan that will enable the organization to grow. It is important that all members are aware of how the process has been conducted. So, for any members who have not been keeping up with the process and for anyone who has been following the process but wants a summary review, the key milestones that have been achieved to date are highlighted below. Strategic Planning Committee • Convened first meeting March 2015, chaired by Jon Dowie,
National Secretary/Treasurer, with members from NARFE’s 10 regions; • Met monthly April through August to identify critical issues to be addressed in the strategic plan and make recommendations for what was to be included in the plan; • Conducted internal and external assessments of NARFE; • Analyzed Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT); • Used an open and inclusive process, including: • Free discussion among committee members; • Review of comments from members who wrote to the dedicated email box stratplan@narfe. org; and • Publicizing of meeting notes via Web page, narfe magazine and NARFE Insider. • Determined that the strategic planning process should be continued with a new plan created every two years; • Created a set of recommendations for the initial two-year plan; • Adopted not-for-profit industry standard outline for the NARFE plan; and • Handed off the recommendations and outline to the Strategic
NARFE’s popular webinars are available online within 48 hours of the original broadcast? Access the recorded versions at www.narfe. org/member/FederalBenefits Institute (login required). You also can download the transcripts of the Q&A sessions and view the slides from the programs. NARFE’s Federal Benefits Institute helps you take charge of your benefits!
Planning Team to write the plan for presentation to the National Executive Board. Federation Presidents • Held one-day work session at Federation Presidents Meeting; and • Shared ideas and feedback with Strategic Planning Committee. Strategic Planning Team • Composed of National Secretary/ Treasurer, two Regional Vice Presidents and Marketing Director; • Helped committee as information providers; • Wrote the plan, based on committee recommendations; • Took recommendations and plan outline from the committee; • Held to the standard of writing a plan that is consistent with committee recommendations; • Wrote successive drafts of the plan before the final draft; and • Confirmed that the draft was consistent with committee recommendations. National Executive Board A completed Draft Plan, responsive to the recommendations of the committee and following the outline approved by the committee, was submitted to the NEB prior to its November 2015 meeting. At the meeting, the Board:
CORRECTION: In the state tax roundup on p. 37 of the April issue, the District of Columbia entry was incorrect. The $3,000 exclusion of military, DC or federal retirement payments for retirees age 62+ was repealed, beginning in tax year 2015. NARFE regrets the error. 42
| m a y
• NARFE has seen 300+ chapters • Recognized the severity of close in the past five years, with NARFE’s situation; more than 50 closures in 2015. • Discussed the plan over the span • Baby boomers, ages 51-69, are of two days; NARFE’s prospective future • Approved resolutions to change members. They are more reluctant bylaws and took other actions con“joiners.” sistent with the plan; and • The financial impact of declining • Stated that securing the future of membership has resulted in six NARFE and its ability to continue out of 10 prior years in the red at to achieve its mission is the overyear-end. riding goal of the plan and the • The next two to four years could National Executive Board. see NARFE become financially inFrom the NARFE Strategic solvent if trends are not reversed. Plan: Situation Analysis • Action is needed to stabilize memMembership and Revenue bership revenue and grow nondues Decline revenue. • NARFE faces a historical decline • The Strategic Plan offers strategies in membership – down more than to achieve vision. 50 percent over 30 years. NEB’s response: • Membership dues account for Proposed Bylaw Amend63 percent of NARFE’s revenue. ments and Board Actions • Continued revenue declines from Bylaw Amendments declining membership will lead • Support of optional chapter memto forced changes in NARFE that bership will limit its ability to perform on Life Membership Apl_New Design 3/26/13 3:49 PM Page 1 of one member, one vote • Support mission.
• Support of dues to be set by the National Executive Board. • No more than one increase every two years and not to exceed a 10 percent increase each time. Board Actions • Support plan to hire an executive director • Remain at 10 Regions To read the NARFE Strategic Plan and to learn about the proposed bylaw amendments in a Strategic Plan slide presentation, members should visit the NARFE website, www.narfe.org, log in as a member, then click on the Strategic Planning banner. The Strategic Plan and a video shot at NARFE Headquarters, addressing questions about how the plan was developed, were distributed to federation presidents. Hopefully, the video is now and will continue to be shown at federation meetings as the National Convention (August 28-September 1 in Reno, NV) approaches.
NARFE NATIONAL LIFE MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION Life Membership Fee Schedule Ages
Contact Information n Mr. n Mrs. n Miss n Ms. Full Name _____________________________________________ Street Address _________________________________________ Apt./Unit______________________________________________ City _______________________ State _____ ZIP _____________ Phone (__________) ____________________________________ Email_________________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ /_________ /___________________ dd
Recruiter ID # (if applicable) _________________________________ Chapter Number _______________________________________ (call 800-456-8410 for chapter information) Membership Information Member Number: ______________________________________ (New members) Membership is open to civilians in any agency of the federal or D.C. (before Oct. 1, 1987) governments eligible for a federal annuity.
Thank you for becoming a National Member for Life. You will receive a membership card, certificate and special lapel pin. Please allow six weeks for processing. Dues payments & gift contributions to NARFE are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes.
Single or Quarterly Payment Installments 30-39 $1,796 $450.25 40-50 1,408 353.25 51-55 1,127 283.00 56-60 960 241.25 61-65 801 201.50 66-70 653 164.50 71-75 514 129.75 76-80 392 99.25 81-90 251 64.00 91-100+ 127 33.00
I am a (check all that apply) n Active Federal Employee n Active Federal Employee Spouse n Annuitant n Annuitant Spouse n Survivor Annuitant
PAYMENT INFORMATION n Single Payment or n Quarterly Installments (4 payments) Life Membership fee amount: $ ______________________ PAYMENT OPTIONS n Check or Money Order (Payable to NARFE) n Charge my: n MasterCard n VISA n Discover n American Express Card No. __________________________________________ Expiration Date _________ /_________ mm
Name on Card ______________________________________ Signature ____________________________ Date ________ MAIL THIS APPLICATION TO NARFE Member Records 606 N. Washington St. / Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 w w w. n a r f e . o r g
Convention Alzheimer’s Speaker
lzheimer’s Association President and Chief Executive Officer Harry Johns will be among the speakers on the opening day of the NARFE National Convention, Sunday, August 28. Johns has led the Alzheimer’s Association since 2005, and under his leadership the Association has driven a significant increase in media attention to the cause. He also has built significant momentum for the cause through a number of innovaHarry Johns tive tactics such as the first nationwide campaign to increase understanding and awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and an emphasis on accelerated progress through the promotion of clinical studies. NARFE recently partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association in urging members to participate in Alzheimer’s and dementia research through the TrialMatch Program.
Register online! Convention registration is now open online at www.narfe.org/convention 2016. Using the online registration form, members also can purchase banquet tickets and sign up for Casino Night. Alternatively, members can register for the convention and purchase banquet tickets by using the paper registration form, found on the facing page (p. 45), and paying by check or credit card. Registration deadline is August 1. In addition, chapter officers now can visit the convention website to designate a delegate or proxy. Candidate statements also appear on the convention website as they are submitted to the NARFE Communications Department. 44
| m a y
TrialMatch, operated by the Alzheimer’s Association, is a free, easy-to-use clinical study matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer’s, caregivers and healthy volunteers with studies. Traditionally, Alzheimer’s Association speakers address convention delegates following opening ceremonies. Since 1986, NARFE members have contributed more than $11 million to Alzheimer’s research. Registration is open! Registration is available on the convention website at www.narfe.org/ convention2016. Members can purchase banquet tickets and sign
up for Casino Night. As a reminder, the Convention Host Committee’s California/Nevada Night will offer two concurrent events on Tuesday night. A country-western band will keep everyone entertained for three hours of music and line dancing, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar. The second event will be Casino Night, where attendees will learn the strategies of gambling. Two groups will play for 90 minutes each. Members must register online for Casino Night and pay a registration fee of $5 (which includes two complimentary cocktails). Because Casino Night is limited to 120 attendees, registration is first-come, first-served. Members who sign up for Casino Night also can enjoy the country-western event when they are not at Casino Night.
• Resolutions: No later than May 13 • Delegate Forms: June 1 • Registration: August 1 • Proxy Forms: August 1
HOTEL Arrangements Grand Sierra Resort and Casino 2500 E. Second St., Reno, NV 89595 800-648-5080 NARFE Rate: Single/Double Tier 1: $79 + tax; Luxury Summit Single/Double: $129 + tax. Additional person, more than two per room: $20 each For the NARFE Rate when calling, use Group Code: NRF16 Visit convention website for link to book hotel online. Cutoff date: July 24
AIRLINE DISCOUNTS Delta Airlines: www.delta.com/meetings. When booking online, select “Book Your Flight” and enter meeting ID NMMM5. A $25 charge will apply if booking by phone (800-328-1111). United Airlines: www.united.com. When booking online, select “All Search Options” and enter Offer code ZVVB272256. A $25 per ticket charge will apply if booking by phone through United Meeting Reservations, 800-426-1122.
$99 if postmarked by Aug. 1; $125 after Aug. 1 and onsite. Each attendee must complete a separate form. Includes lunch on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. BANQUET PRICING
$70 per ticket.
The convention registration fee is nonrefundable. Banquet refunds are available only if reservations are cancelled 72 hours prior to Banquet. PAYMENT BY CHECK
Make checks payable to NARFE and send to: NARFE Secretary/Treasurer’s Office 606 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314-1914 BANQUET SEATING
Tables will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Tables will seat 10 people. Groups wishing to sit together should submit only one request, specifying number of seats desired and attach list of names. Banquet tickets will be included in your registration packet. Groups may pick up tickets at the NARFE Information Desk.
REGISTRATION FORM FOR CONVENTION AND BANQUET We encourage you to register online at www.narfe.org/convention2016. If you would like to participate in Casino Night, you must complete your entire convention registration online. This event is limited to the first 120 who sign up and pay.
CONVENTION REGISTRATION ATTENDEE TYPE Please check: o Member
o Nonmember Guest
NARFE ID # _____________________________________________________ Name ___________________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________________________ Name for Badge __________________________________________________ Chapter # ______________ Location of Chapter________________________ NOTIFY IN CASE OF EMERGENCY: Name __________________________________________________________ Phone number ____________________________________________________ SUBTOTAL – FOR CONVENTION (if postmarked by August 1): $
BANQUET TICKETS PLEASE RESERVE ___ TICKET(S) AT $70 EACH SUBTOTAL – FOR BANQUET: TOTAL (CONVENTION + BANQUET)
CHARGE MY CREDIT CARD o MasterCard o VISA o Discover o AMEX Credit Card # ____________________________________________________ Expiration Date ____/____ (mm/yy) Name on card (print) ______________________________________________ Signature ________________________________________________________ DIETARY RESTRICTIONS/ ALLERGIES ____________________________
candidate Delegates at the 34th Biennial narfe national convention august regional vice presidents for two-year terms. NARFE members who announced their candidacy as of the deadline of this edition by the magazineâ€™s long-standing policy, the statements may be no longer than 400 the NARFE National Convention website, www.narfe.org/convention2016.
National President Richard G. Thissen I am Richard Thissen, and I am announcing my candidacy for reelection to the position of NARFE National President. My commitment to NARFE is to ensure the continuance of the efficient, fiscally sound financial business model I have worked to achieve since April 2011. This was my mission when I began my service as your National Treasurer, and continues since being elected your President. I am steadfastly working to secure the future viability of our Association. My in-depth experience and knowledge of NARFE have equipped me to lead our Association through these times of uncertainty. I have worked to enhance NARFEâ€™s visibility to ensure we continue our primary mission of legislative advocacy in order to fight against threats to our earned benefits, to enhance membership marketing programs that are stemming the tide of years of decline, and continue the excellent federal benefits services we provide to our members. NARFEâ€™s successes during my term as President include: 1. Secured significant legislative victory in 2015 that ensured proposed cuts of $318 billion to our benefits were not signed into law. 2. Led the fight to reduce the impact of proposed Medicare B Premium increases. 3. Increased NARFE media exposure in both numbers and significance including appearances on national and local television. 46
| m a y
4. Established the NARFE Marketing Department, which has produced improved results in membership growth and retention. Membership losses in 2015 were more than 30% lower compared to 2013/2014, and the last quarter of 2015 saw a net gain of 1,059 members. Over 50% of non-renewals were reinstated in 2015 (unprecedented). 5. Achieved fundraising success with over $2.8 million in 2015 and increased activity in affinity partners and sponsorships, which has provided non-dues revenue. 6. Established the Federal Benefits Institute, which is providing live webinars and archiving important information for the federal community. This effort also attracts significant numbers of new members. 7. Established a State Legislative Office to support local advocacy. 8. Financial books are fiscally sound with stable assets. Past outside studies, and now the Strategic Planning effort, have confirmed my belief that NARFE must change to survive for another 95 years and beyond. While our current financial position is sound, our revenue streams may not be sustainable; therefore, I believe in the need for smart strategic implementation action plans. I ask for your support for re-election based on my record of proven leadership, commitment and success.
statements 28-September 1 in Reno, NV, will elect national officers and have submitted the following statements for publication in narfe magazine. As required words and may not be edited by magazine staff. The statements also are available on
National secretary/treasurer Jon Dowie Serving as NARFE National Secretary/Treasurer has been a privilege filled with opportunity and challenge. While absorbing responsibilities of two positions, I became Chairperson of the Strategic Planning Team and Strategic Planning Committee. I also represent NARFE on the Employee Advisory Board for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). NARFE continues to evolve into a viable organization that is relevant to our membership, in part, through my contributions. While reducing the size of our staff, we have been able to enhance the quality of the workforce through reorganization of duties that better use existing experience and new additions that bring new skills to our arsenal. During my time in office, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many of the most experienced leaders in NARFE, through interaction with the members of the Strategic Planning Team, Strategic Planning Committee, the National Executive Board, Federation Officers, Chapter Officers and the staff at Headquarters. That has immensely enhanced my ability to contribute to the organization. As an organization, we continue to experience transformation at an accelerated rate; my experience will help address the new way forward through technological and cultural change. Standing still is not an option for the organization.
In my 2014 statement, I pledged to support the Future of NARFE and enhance the ability of the organization to attract an executive director; that has been accomplished. In addition to being a current Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), I am a member of the new Not for Profit section of the American Institute of CPAs. I serve on the InFirst FCU Board of Directors. My background includes positions at Arthur Andersen & Company and The National CPA Group (Technical Director), both in New York City. Later, in Washington, I was the Chief Financial Officer of Federal Information Technologies, Inc. (subsidiary of Cincinnati Bell), and Eurotech, Ltd., which was listed and traded on the American Stock Exchange. After twenty-one years of service, I retired from Navy Special Operations. My academic career includes being an Assistant Professor on the faculty of Clemson University and other institutions. My degrees include bachelorâ€™s and masterâ€™s degrees, and I am All But Dissertation (ABD) on a Doctor of Business Administration Degree in Finance, Marketing, and Accounting Information Systems. I feel I have the capabilities and knowledge to move NARFE into the future.
w w w. n a r f e . o r g
Region I James p. crawford This is both an exciting and daunting time. The choices we make over the next two years will determine whether NARFE will continue to be the preeminent voice of Federal employees and retirees. I see a Regional Vice President’s job as having three major components: What I’ll call the Big Picture, as well as Communication and Motivation. “The Big Picture” is in essence the RVP’s role as a member of the National Executive Board, guiding NARFE’s overall operations. My work in that capacity has gone beyond the RVP’s traditional national role. I was asked and agreed to serve as one of two RVPs on the four-person Strategic Planning Team. With outstanding contributions from Strategic Planning Committee members from across the country, and your submitted ideas, we’ve worked very hard to give NARFE a strong platform for change. We’re also now implementing a communications plan to assure everyone fully understands the recommendations and their rationale. In the area of communication, I’ve made keeping Region I members informed a priority. Through our seven Federation Presidents and Executive Boards, I’ve provided summaries of NEB meetings and the status of strategic planning, shared good ideas developed in other Federations, and convened meetings of all Region I Federation Presi-
dents. I’ve also made sure I responded to every concern or suggestion promptly. Motivating others is a challenge in our volunteerdriven organization. There are many demands on your time, and part of connecticut, maine, my job is to show why massachusetts, new hampshire, NARFE deserves high pri- New York, rhode island, vermont ority. We now have a Federation website in all seven states within Region I. Thanks in part to our members’ advocacy, the vast majority of Members of Congress in our Region vote with the NARFE position nearly all the time. In two states, our members are actively working with legislators and others to enact changes that will increase tax exemptions for Federal pensions. Still more work needs to be done. Foremost, as I’ve stressed to all, is giving our two primary missions of advocacy and recruiting much more attention than the five minutes they typically receive at meetings in Region I and elsewhere. I’m eager to help with that. My B.S. in engineering, Master’s in public administration, 34 years of responsible government service, and experience at all NARFE field levels have helped me immeasurably in this position. I hope to continue to play a key role in strengthening NARFE and serving Region I as your RVP.
Region II Evelyn Kirby
It is an honor to be Region II Vice President since November 2012. I like working hard for NARFE. I applaud Region II and all members’ dedication and service to this Association and its vital mission. If reelected, I will represent member views and walk with them as we all help secure NARFE’s future and excellent ongoing operations. Together we must have the courage to act decisively, and quickly, to realize 48
| m a y
our vision of the best NARFE – one for the long haul. The 2014 National Convention delegates began us on a path of ongoing strategic planning. This delaware, District of very significant move serves Columbia, maryland, our members’ best interests and new jersey, strengthens NARFE. It gives us pennsylvania the basis to evolve with the times, as we must. It gives us background, context, and
other information to consider based on factual assessments, trends, and situation analyses. It helps us clearly see crises before us as well as helpful, doable changes we have the power to choose. The December 2015 Strategic Plan offers timely ideas for growing membership, transforming governance to be more agile and efficient, enhancing our brand name, promoting effective advocacy and achieving financial stability. Past studies also presented similar proposals. Kudos to everyone who gave so much well thought out input to the 2015 and prior efforts. Our time to act is now. I welcome constructive viewpoints on the Plan and will diligently support any needed changes we agree upon. Our Association should be appealing, recognized, relevant, efficient, effective, financially sound, and open for business. My RVP performance shows I share information quickly and transparently, seek input, value facts and perceptions, listen to and address concerns,
and act responsibly based on needs. I advocate for training, cross-lines communications, team play and user-friendly tools. I foster increased legislative advocacy, and urge understanding the consequences of acting, or not acting, in all matters affecting NARFE. I believe in being aware of Big Picture issues while giving due attention to concerns about change. Qualifications: B.A., University of MD; 40-year Government tenure in field and HQ jobs with several agencies, including at management and senior executive levels doing both operational and policy work; service as Life Member in multiple chapter and federation positions and on NARFE National Committees; chaired Chesapeake College Institute for Adult Learning plus Trustees and Staff Relations Committees for a 1000-member organization during a multi-million dollar building project, financial regrouping and organization restructuring.
Region III jerry janci The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) Region III Vice President represents and is responsible for and to the NARFE members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands. Since November 2014 I have been privileged to serve as Your NARFE Region III Vice President. Today I ask you to support my reelection as your Region Vice President (RVP). I have kept informed about the policies, procedures, and goals of our organization. As your RVP I have received many inquiries and requests for help with problems relating to a large variety of items, including, but not limited to, annuities, life insurance, Membership, Legislation, and survivor benefits. In cases that I did not have all of the expertise necessary, I quickly and accurately referred the member to the proper office at NARFE Headquarters. As you all know, I am a fan of Face to Face (F2F) meetings and support and encourage, and will continue to attend such gatherings, when requested, limited only by budget constraints and my NARFE schedule.
The Region III Leadership Training Meeting will be held in Columbia, SC on May 2, 3, 4. With the help of the South Carolina Federation, I have ensured this meeting alabama, florida, will be informative and enjoyable. GEorgia, mississippi, It will include a report and trainPuerto Rico, South ing concerning Membership and Carolina, Virgin Legislation. The OAM, a discussion Islands of Best Practices, and a lengthy discussion of NARFE’s “Strategic Plan,” including a NARFE video explaining the plan, will complete the meeting. There will also be several surprises that should not be missed. A perfect organization is not one that is problem free, it is one that manages and solves problems wisely. Your National Officers have, and will continue to discuss with NARFE members, right through to the Reno National Convention, the proposals contained in NARFE’s “Strategic Plan.” This plan takes several small deliberate steps to right the ship of NARFE in the storm of membership loss. The correct steps are necessary. Large and drastic changes to NARFE will not help but will injure our association. w w w. n a r f e . o r g
As I close in on thirty-three (33) years of NARFE membership, I am proud to be a member of NARFE and proud of what NARFE has and continues to accomplish. I will continue to work
I am Clarence Robinson and I am announcing my Candidacy for the Region III Vice President position. I am currently serving as the Georgia Federation President for a second two (2) year term. My goals as Region III Vice President are: 1. Always keep in mind that I work for the NARFE members in Region III. 2. I will work for the best interests of NARFE as an NEB member to ensure its success. 3. I will promote NARFE Membership – the key to NARFE being successful. 4. Work to ensure that the communication lines are open between the National Office, the Federations, and the Chapters and keep all parties informed. NARFE Experience: Chapter Level: I have served as Vice President/Membership Chair, Treasurer, and Chapter President (3 terms). Federation Level:
for and represent our membership to the best of my ability. At the Reno National Convention, Please Vote for Jerry Janci, NARFE Region III Vice President.
I have served as District Vice President, Vice President, and Georgia Federation President. I also served on the Future of NARFE (FON) Committee. Other Experience: I have served as the State Vice President and President of the National Association of Postmasters of the US ( NAPUS). I also served as the National Committee Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee for NAPUS. Education: I have a Bachelor’s Degree with additional studies in the Master’s Program at Georgia State University in Atlanta GA. I have completed numerous Advanced Management classes and am a Certified Arbitration Advocate. Other: I served two (2) years in the Military. I am also a Vietnam Veteran. I am respectfully asking for your vote and support to elect me the Region III Vice President 2016-2018. I am ready to serve you.
Region IV Edward J. Konys It is my honor and privilege to be serving as your Region IV VicePresident representing NARFE members residing in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin ... the heartland of America. I am announcing that I am seeking reelection as your regional vice-president. Membership, the only number that counts, continues to be a problem in improving our revenues. I and the other regional vice-presidents have devoted much time and effort to help increase recruitment and strengthen NARFE’s finances. We have completed the strategic plan per the Orlando convention resolution and have presented you with the recommendations. 50
| m a y
CY 2015 membership losses were the lowest in the last five calendar years. It shows that our new marketing ideas for attracting and retaining members are working. However, the need to increase recruiting members has not gone away, far from it. Budget projections for next three years show the illinois, indiana, association facing financial difficulties michigan, ohio, unless there is an increase in memberwisconsin ship. This is at the top of my “to do” list. Where we, as federal and postal workers, did not have marketing knowhow, we have used experts to help guide our efforts to recruit the “boomer”
generation of NARFE members. The results of the NARFE branding study have told us what potential members want from NARFE and chapters. I believe federations and chapters working together can find new and better ways to recruit and reinstate members. The experience that I have gained serving in officer positions at the Chapter and Federation levels; as well as chairing the National Legislative Committee has given me the insight to effectively serve as your Regional Vice President. I will continue to listen to all Region IV NARFE members; resolve your problems; provide timely information and strong representation at the NEB meetings.
While there is not always agreement on how to proceed next, we can find common ground. We all share the common desire to see NARFE prosper for another century. Today’s NARFE is different from our grandparents’, and our children’s NARFE will be different from ours; however, the ongoing NARFE mission of protecting our hardearned benefits never changes. I look forward to meeting with you at your state convention and the Region IV delegates at the National Convention in Reno. I ask that you give me the opportunity to continue to serve NARFE, and Region IV members as your Vice President for the next two years. Your vote is sincerely appreciated.
Region V Carol R. Ek Carol R. Ek was re-elected to NARFE’s National Executive Board as Region V Regional Vice President at the Association’s 33rd Biennial National Convention in Orlando, FL, August 24-28, 2014. She was the Kansas Federation president when she was first named to the position in March 2011. She succeeded Richard G. Thissen, who had been appointed NARFE National Treasurer. Region V encompasses Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. An active member of NARFE since 1995 when she joined Chapter 1794 in McPherson, KS, Ek served as chapter secretary/treasurer, secretary and president of the Kansas Federation. She was
instrumental in building the Kansas Federation’s successful programs in leadership training and chapter revitalization and traveled throughout the state speaking about NARFE and its mission. She has attended the Region V CONK (College of NARFE Knowledge) every year since its start in 2003. Ek’s federal career included nearly 40 years of service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, now the Farm Service Agency.
iowa, kAnsas, minnesota, missouri, nebraska, north dakota, south dakota
Region VI Marshall L. richards It is an honor and a privilege to serve the members of Region VI as your Regional Vice President and I do not take this responsibility lightly. I am using this opportunity to announce that I am a candidate for reelection as your Region VI Vice President. The experience that I have gained in over twenty years of membership in NARFE, serving in officer positions at the Chapter, Federation, and
Regional levels and serving on National Committees has given me the experience to effectively serve you, as your representative, on the National
arkansas, louisiana, oklahoma, republic of panama, texas w w w. n a r f e . o r g
Executive Board. I have listened to your concerns and have taken those concerns to the National Executive Board meetings Serving as your representative on the National Executive Board, I was faced with many tough decisions that had to be made and I feel that these decisions will ensure the future of our Association. The convention delegates at the Orlando convention mandated the NEB to come up with a Strategic Plan. This was accomplished due to the hard work of the individuals that served on the Strategic Planning Committee and the Strategic Planning Team and the ten Regional Vice Presidents. The Strategic Plan is in effect and the NEB has put into motion plans that will begin the changes that will ensure NARFE’s future. The NEB is a team of dedicated members, that are working very well together,
not always agreeing, but making the hard choices that are necessary. As Region VI Vice President I will continue to work with the Federations’ and Chapters’ officers and members. I will continue to be your voice on the National Executive Board and be open and available while serving you, the members of Region VI. I look forward to meeting with the Region VI delegates at the National Convention in Reno at the Regional Caucus and ask that you give me the opportunity to continue to serve NARFE, and the Region VI Members as your Vice President for the next two years. Your vote and your support are sincerely appreciated. Thank you. Marshall L. Richards
Region Vii Rodney L. Adelman Rodney L. Adelman was elected as NARFE’s Region VII Vice President at the National Convention in 2014. He is running for reelection to that position. He previously served as the Arizona Federation President, Federation Executive Vice President, and District Vice President. Rodney has been a member of NARFE since 2001, both as an active Federal employee and as a retiree. He has served his current Chapter (1789 - Sun City West, AZ) as Chapter President, Chapter Secretary, Legislative Officer, and NARFE-PAC Chair. Rodney has served on the National Bylaws Committee (2010 and Vice Chair in 2014), National Legislative Committee (2012), and the Future of NARFE (FON) Committee. He currently serves on the Financial Planning and Investment Committee of the National Executive Board (NEB). Rodney retired (CSRS) in 2005 from the Antitrust Division, US Dept. of Justice, after nearly 36 years of Federal service. Along the way, he held positions at the Postal Service, the US Senate, and the Departments of Labor, Interior, Defense, Energy, and State. Rodney’s Federal career initially focused on budget and financial management, 52
| m a y
then Congressional liaison, and finally administration and management. He graduated from the University of Maryland (College Park), majoring in Finance, and continued Public Administration graduate studies at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Rodney arizona, colorado, new mexico, is an avid “pickleball” utah, wyoming player. Rodney is an active participant during NEB meetings (see NEB minutes), and strives to represent the interests of the five Federations in Region VII, while pushing for the continued evolution of NARFE into the future. He is particularly proud of the outstanding participation of Region VII leaders in the monthly legislative webinars and conference calls. Commenting recently on NARFE’s new Strategic Plan and the proposed Bylaw changes for consideration at the
National Convention: “I remain a supporter of the recommendations of the Future of NARFE (FON) Committee and of the new NARFE Strategic Plan. We must be willing to change and adapt NARFE to the evolving needs and desires of future Federal employees and
retirees. We must strive for an agile and vibrant organization to face the challenges of the future. I look forward to a lively debate on the recommendations in Strategic Plan.” I ask for your support for reelection as NARFE’s Region VII Vice President.
John Swett I am John Swett. I’m running for the Region VII Vice President. In Laramie, Wyoming I belong to Chapter 0833 covering Laramie and Cheyenne cities. I joined NARFE in 2002 as a spouse member. In 2006, I became a federal employee member. The end of May 2016, I will have retired from the Air Force DOD Civil Service. During my career, I provided oversight for several government service contracts and budget financial management of over $68 million. Working at F. E. Warren AFB, I received several performance awards for outstanding professional and community service. I am the Wyoming Federation Vice-President and I serve as a Laramie/Cheyenne Chapter President. Also, I served as the Wyoming Federation Legislative Representative. I enjoyed attending the Legislative Training Conferences and interacting with my Congressional Representatives. From that experience I know that ONE voice can make a difference if one truly speaks from the heart. Lately, serving as the Wyoming Federation NARFE FEEA Chair, I help to gather donations and served as a Scholarship Chair. I am a Navy veteran, completing 30 years of service May 2002. For 6 years, I volunteered on the
City of Laramie Planning Commission and I enjoyed working with government and citizens to protect our quality of life. In 2001, I ran for the single Congressional Representative seat of my state. I have fond memories of the debates I competed, parades I walked and the door to door conversations listening to citizen concerns and opinions while campaigning throughout Wyoming. During the past 43 years of my career, I have been involved in many volunteer community organizations. I have served as the Treasurer, Vice-President, President and Board member of many organizations. As a former Kiwanian, I have served as a Kiwanis District Lt Governor of the Kiwanis Rocky Mountain District. I made lots of friends, learning a great deal while traveling to other clubs to see just what made their organization so successful. I believe the strength of our NARFE membership will be ever more critical as new policies and ideals are introduced into national legislation. We need new members and sustain our current ones. Together we must demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting and preserving federal benefits and opportunities. I have the time, willingness and deep commitment to serve you. Please consider me and get to know me.
Region Viii helen zajac My name is Helen Zajac and I have been privileged to serve as Region VIII Vice President since first being elected at the 2008 Louisville Convention. I have been a dedicated and committed NARFE member for 24 years, serving in many capacities in the Region, Federation and Chapter, holding offices in every year of my membership. Region VIII includes California, Hawaii, Nevada, Philippines and Guam.
Having served as a member of the National Executive Board for nearly eight years, I have gained the knowledge necessary for me to serve the members and explain how many
california, guam, hawaii, nevada, republic of THE philippines
w w w. n a r f e . o r g
of the internal processes work. I have provided the members of Region VIII with very thorough reports of actions taken by the National Executive Board to educate and inform members. I have listened to the concerns of the members, brought those concerns to National Headquarters for resolution, which I believe has resulted in improved communication. This is critical during this time of change as we consider implementing the Strategic Plan. I believe change is necessary, but it must be well orchestrated change that is accepted by the members. Without the support from the members, there can be no effective change. The members must understand the need for change, and what impact it will have on the daily operations of NARFE. I have repeatedly encouraged chapters to discuss the changes proposed by the Strategic Plan, by holding discussions at their chapter and District meetings, so they will better
understand the changes, the need for the change, and the impact each change would have on the chapters. Most importantly the discussion needs to include the consensus of the members on how their delegates will vote at the national convention. The members are NARFE’s most important asset which has been a testament to our Legislative success. We appreciate our members and all that they have done for NARFE over the years. I believe communication with the entire membership is of the highest priority and only through effective and complete communication with our membership will we be able to move our Association forward in a positive direction. I cannot over emphasize the need to work together as a cohesive team in order to strengthen and grow our Association. I would appreciate your support by re-electing me your Region VIII Vice President.
Region iX Richard Wilson I am announcing my intention to seek election to the position of Region IX Vice President at the 2016 National Convention in Reno, Nevada. I joined NARFE in December 2004. In April 2005, I became 2nd Vice President of Chapter 1404. In September 2006, I became President of Chapter 1404. I currently serve in this position. In March 2007, I was elected to the District II Vice President position. In May 2010, I was elected to Federation Vice President. In July 2013, upon the death of the then Federation President, I became Federation President, the position in which I currently serve. In 2011, I served on the National Recruitment and Retention Task Force. I have served NARFE in leadership roles since 2006. This leadership experience along with my knowledge of and commitment to the organization, I believe has prepared me to serve as your Region IX Vice President. Our great association is seeing many changes and will continue to evolve given the effects of the Strategic Plan and the upcoming resolutions at our National Convention from the “Strategic 54
| m a y
Planning Comalaska, mittee.” As idaho, Washington montana, Federation oregon, President, I’ve washington worked very hard within my federation and will continue to do so as your Region IX Vice President to help ensure we receive fair treatment concerning our benefits and tackle the many challenges facing NARFE now and in the future. I am encouraged by the latest reports which show we are making some good progress in recruiting active federal employees. Much more needs to be done in this area. We must develop more strategies for getting our name out to all federal workers and retirees so they know NARFE is the only association devoted exclusively to serving and protecting the earned rights and benefits of all federal retirees, survivor annuitants and active federal employees. In addition to recruiting, my
efforts will be to work on retaining our current members. I pledge to work with Chapters and Federations to find ways to better address how to keep the members we have. The experience of working directly with the current Region IX Vice President these past
three years has afforded me valuable insight into the Region IX Vice President position. I feel confident I am up to the challenge of what lies ahead. I hope you will vote to give me the opportunity to serve you as your Region IX Vice President for the next two years.
Region X William Shackelford
are not wanting to listen. NARFE For the past two years serving NARFE members in our Region from members from Region X require Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessomeone who will see, Virginia, and West Virginia, as listen and address well as the 30,000 plus members of their concerns. E-NARFE Chapter 2363 has been kentucky, north carolina, Tennessee, I have been and a real honor. This is a Region with Virginia, West Virginia will continue to be many members and an equally number of diverse opinions. However, its needs and those across all of assertive in bringing your concerns to the attention of Headquarters staff and the NARFE are identical. National Executive Board. In order to remain a At the time of the 2014 National Convention viable advocacy organization, we have many in Orlando, NARFE was on a course of decline challenges ahead of us but on all levels of the that needed to be curtailed. Since the convenorganization we can exercise appropriate advancetion, recommendations by the Future of NARFE ments to make NARFE stronger. As your Regional Committee and the Strategic Planning CommitVice President, I will continue to listen to all tee/Strategic Planning Team coupled with the endorsement of a portion of these changes by the NARFE members associated with Region X, National Executive Board (NEB), signal the most provide honest answers, solid information, timely guidance and offer strong leadership. As everyone dramatic organizational change in NARFEâ€™s hisis aware, the NEB is proposing several issues of tory. While many believe that NARFE continues extreme importance being brought forward for to be at a very perilous stage in its evolution, the consideration by the delegates during the 2016 actions of these committees and the NEB exhibit National Convention. We must all work together the intent to make changes in order to ensure to address the challenges that OUR organization that NARFE survives for another 95 years and faces. beyond. I am proud of NARFE and believe that our It is almost impossible to lead and serve if you members have the potential to make a difference in the overall growth and success of NARFE. Thank you for your continued membership and your convention note support and belief in NARFE. We are Election results will be published all in this effort together so letâ€™s move in the daily convention bulletins. forward before it is too late. To read all the convention news I respectfully ask for your vote and and for election results, go to support by re-electing me as your www.narfe.org/convention2016. NARFE Region X Vice President. Together, we can move NARFE forward. w w w. n a r f e . o r g
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
If your future security is tied to federal retirement benefits — 1. Complete this application and return by mail with your payment. federal retirees, current employees, spouses, and individual 2. Join online at www.narfe.org. survivors — you should join NARFE. 3. Call 800-627-3394, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
NARFE MEMBERSHIP APPLIC ATION
q YES. I want to join NARFE.
I am a (check all that apply) q Active Federal Employee q Active Federal Employee Spouse q Annuitant q Annuitant Spouse q Survivor Annuitant
Street Address _____________________________________
q Please enroll my spouse
City _______________________ State _____ ZIP __________
Spouse’s Full Name ________________________________
Phone (__________) _________________________________
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.
q Mr. q Mrs. q Miss q Ms.
Full Name _________________________________________
Choose Your Membership Type
All NARFE members receive narfe magazine, access to federal benefits specialists, NARFE’s News Watch, legislative Hotline, and exclusive member discounts, along with professional lobbyists advocating on your behalf. Members choose one of two chapter options.
q Local Chapter
Under the direction of local leadership, chapters offer regular meetings often with invited speakers, as well as networking, volunteer and grass-roots lobbying opportunities. Annual chapter dues, determined by the locality, are charged in subsequent years.
Chapter Affiliation: Chapter # __ __ __ __
PAYMENT OPTIONS q Check, Money Order or Bill Pay (Payable to NARFE) q Bill me (NARFE membership will start when payment is received.) q Charge my: q MasterCard q VISA q Discover q American Express Card No. ____________________________________ Expiration Date _____ /_________ mm yyyy Name on Card ________________________________
The eNARFE Chapter provides a place for members to keep active in and informed about the federal community without the formality of a local chapter. Advocacy is encouraged within the e-community, and members may join with local groups for grass-roots participation. There are no additional dues for the eNARFE Chapter.
TOTAL DUES $40 First-Year Dues X __________ = __________ Per Person # Enrolling Total Dues
Signature ____________________________________ Date ________________________________________ MAY WE THANK SOMEONE? If applicable, please provide the name, membership and chapter number of the member who introduced you to NARFE: Recruiter’s Name_________________________________ Recruiter’s Membership ID _________________________ Recruiter’s Chapter Number ________________________
MAIL THIS APPLICATION TO NARFE Member Records 606 N. Washington St. / Alexandria, VA 22314-1914
NARFE’s Dues Withholding Program What is dues withholding? It is a dues-payment method that gives NARFE members (retirees) the option of having their annual NARFE membership dues deducted from their annuities on a monthly basis. How does it work? One-twelfth of your total dues is automatically deducted from your monthly annuity. Your monthly deduction is determined by the following formula: (National dues ÷ 12) + (Chapter dues ÷ 12) = Total Monthly Deduction
Advantages • Save 15% off your annual membership dues! • Sign up your spouse and double your savings! • You’ll never get another dues reminder from us! • Your monthly payment is affordable and convenient! • You may cancel your dues withholding at any time! Application process It takes 60-90 days to process your application. Once the process is complete, you will receive a special membership card distinguishing you as a NARFE dues-withholding member.
To learn more about dues withholding, call 800-627-3394. Retirees, spouses of retirees and annuitant survivors are eligible for dues withholding.
NARFE Dues Withholding Application for Retirees n YES. I want to enroll in NARFE’s Dues Withholding Program (Annual dues of $34 plus Chapter dues of record to be withheld annually.) Social Security Number (9-digit number)
Civil Service Annuity Number
(Include prefix, CSA or CSF) (Include any applicable suffix)
n Mr. n Mrs. n Miss n Ms. Full Name _______________________________________
NARFE MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION
Street Address ___________________________________
NARFE Membership ID ____________________________________
NARFE Chapter Number____________________________________
City _________________________ State _____ ZIP _____
n YES. I Also Authorize My (NARFE Member) Spouse’s Dues To Be
Phone (__________) ______________________________ Email ___________________________________________ Date of Birth _________ /_________ / ____________________ dd
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
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 email@example.com Do not send money with this form
SAVE MONEY WITH NARFE Perks NARFE appreciates your service, and so do businesses across the country. Whether you are planning your next vacation or planning for retirement, members can save money on everyday purchases, thanks to our Affinity Partners. It’s just one more way we’re able to say “thank you” for being a NARFE member. tensive services at competitive rates to members nationwide at 5,000+ shared branches, 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs and 24/7 phone access. Accounts are insured by NCUA up to $250,000.
finance and Legal
IDShield 571-830-5489 www.legalshield.com/info/narfe LegalShield along with Kroll will monitor your identity from every angle, not just your Social Security number, credit cards and bank accounts. This takes the work required to restore your identity off your shoulders, placing it in the hands of a licensed fraud investigator. NARFE members receive the discounted monthly rate of $8.95 for individuals or $17.95 for families when you sign up through the website above.
ne LegalShield 571-830-5489 www.legalshield.com/info/narfe Whether it’s big, small or somewhere in between, you have affordable legal help when you need it. With your legal plan, you or your family members can contact your law firm anytime you need legal advice or assistance. NARFE members receive the discounted rate of $16.95 for individuals or $18.95 for families of 10 (two adults and up to 8 children) when you sign up through the website above.
InFirst Federal Credit Union 800-328-1500 www.infirstfcu.org As a member of NARFE, you have the privilege of joining InFirst Federal Credit Union, which has been serving active and retired federal employees since 1935. The credit union offers ex58
| m a y
Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program 800-LTC FEDS www.LTCFEDS.com Make long-term care insurance part of your retirement plan. With benefits designed specifically for the federal family, the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program offers a smart way to help protect savings and assets, and remain independent should you need long-term care services someday. Start planning for the future. Visit www. LTCFEDS.com today.
GEICO 800-368-2734 www.geico.com/fed/narfe GEICO offers a special discount opportunity for NARFE members. To find out how much you could save, visit our website or call today and mention that you are a NARFE member. Have your current coverage information available in order to secure a comparable quote. Your completed quote will help benefit NARFE! For complete terms and conditions, visit www.narfe.org/memberperks.
NARFE Insurance Services 800-233-5764 www.narfeinsurance.com Designed and administered by Mercer Consumer, exclusively for NARFE members: senior age whole life, term
life, Medicare supplements, hospital income plan, short-term recovery insurance, pet insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, cancer care, enhanced dental insurance and long-term care.
Bekins Van Lines 800-248-4810 firstname.lastname@example.org All NARFE members will receive contracted pricing for all interstate shipments. This will apply to packing, transportation and full-value coverage against damages. Please mention you are a NARFE member.
Wheaton World Wide Moving 800-248-7960 email@example.com At Wheaton, we know interstate relocating is much more than trucks and boxes. Moving is not simply an address change. It’s a life change. With a network of top-quality agents throughout the United States, Wheaton provides peace of mind with every relocation. We offer you, as a NARFE member, benefits to help you have a positive interstate relocation experience. Call today and mention you are a NARFE member to start the moving process.
NARFE General Store 855-99NARFE (855-996-2733) www.narfegeneralstore.com As the official provider of NARFE merchandise, the NARFE General Store
offers NARFE-approved name badges, business cards, clothing, accessories, cups and mugs, plaques and clocks, and much, much more. Check out our online catalog for our customizable product line.
Sprint 877-746-8249 www.sprint.com/fed NARFE members receive a 15% discount with Sprint! Access www.sprint. com/fed, call 877-746-8249 or visit the Sprint store nearest you to take advantage of this offer. Please bring your member ID card with you to our stores to sign up for the discount, and provide code GNARF_ZMB.
Choice Hotels International 800-258-2847 www.choicehotels.com With 6,200 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, charitable donations 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 through phone number or website above; cannot be redeemed at individual hotels. Choice Hotels brands are: Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, Ascend Collection, Cambria, MainStay Suites, Surburban, EconoLodge, Clarion, Quality and Rodeway Inn.
Verizon FiOS www.narfe.org/memberperks
Local Hospitality www.narfe.org/travel
NARFE members can save up to $10 a month on a new qualifying Triple Play bundle with Verizon FiOS Internet, TV and home phone service – savings of up to $120 per year. The FiOS 100% fiberoptic network delivers award-winning broadband and entertainment to your home. Only FiOS Internet customers get upload speeds as fast as their download speeds. With FiOS TV, 625+ channels are available, including 185+ in HD, and over 130,000 On Demand titles, thousands free. This exclusive online-only savings is only available to new Verizon customers or those upgrading to the Triple Play Package.
NARFE is pleased to offer its members an exclusive travel discount service. Savings may exceed 50% and average 10-20% below market on all hotels and car rental suppliers around the world. Any hotel, any car, anywhere, anytime!
Alamo 800-462-5266 www.alamo.com Drive Happy® with Alamo® where NARFE members receive year-round discounts. Call or visit our website today and reference Contract ID 262544.
NARFE members 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 costeffective, we have the right hotel for you ... and at the right price. Call to reserve your room today at one of these fine hotels: Wyndham Hotels and Resorts®, Days Inn®, Ramada Worldwide®, Baymont Inns and Suites®, Hawthorn Suites® By Wyndham, Microtel Inns and Suites®, Howard Johnson®, Travelodge® and Knights Inn®. Advance reservations required through phone number above; cannot be redeemed at individual hotels.
Wyndham Hotel Group 877-670-7088
National 800-CAR-RENT www.nationalcarrental.com 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. For complete terms and conditions, visit www.narfe.org/ memberperks.
Beltone Hearing Care 888-418-6763 Beltone has been helping the world hear better for 75 years. NARFE members receive 25% off, and those with Blue Cross Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan insurance coverage may be eligible for two Beltone True 3™ hearing aids for ZERO out-of-pocket.
Life Line Screening 800-324-9906 www.lifelinescreening.com/ NARFE Life Line Screening, America’s leading provider of community-based preventive health screenings, will conduct health screenings using state-ofthe-art ultrasound technology in your neighborhood. To schedule an appointment, please call the number above and give the operator code number BKHN075 or visit the website.
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. w w w. n a r f e . o r g
The Way We Worked
not small fry in the fish world In this photo, taken in the late 1950s, an employee of the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF) samples menhaden caught by a commercial purse seiner. Purse seine boats encircle a school of fish, then tighten the line running through the bottom of the net and “purse” the catch into the center of the net. To monitor the health of the menhaden, the BCF systematically tested samples of the fish throughout the fishing season along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The sampling continues today by the BCF’s successor, the National Marine Fisheries Service. The second largest “landing” of all U.S. fish by weight, menhaden are processed into fish meal and oil. Photo courtesy of Joseph W. Smith, retired fishery biologist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Beaufort, NC. 60
| m a y
Did you know? The National Marine Fisheries Service is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It has five regional offices, six science centers and more than 20 laboratories around the United States and U.S. territories. It supports sustainably managed fishing grounds under the mandate of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which turns 40 this year.
Your dream vacation is just a phone call away!
New England and Canadian Maritimes
15 days from
Cruise & Tour
When Paul Revere was watching the Old North Church for the signal, he wanted to know if the British were coming by land OR sea. With this tour, you get the best fall colors of New England PLUS the Canadian Maritimes BOTH by land on a luxury motorcoach and sea aboard the Norwegian Dawn! Four departures only, September 6-26, 2016
OTHER EXCITING TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES 2 FOR 1 SAVINGS
Panama Canal Cruise,
11 days from $1,699* Visit New Orleans in the season of Mardi Gras and let the good times roll! Bourbon Street, beignets at Café du Monde and Antebellum mansions await. Then enjoy a warm, relaxing escape from winter’s icy grip cruising the Western Caribbean on the Carnival Dream. What could make this better? We’ve included FREE airfare from 50 US Cities! Departs September - October 2016
18 days from $3,398* now $1,699* From the glittering lights of Las Vegas, the glamour of Los Angeles to a wonderful stopping in 9 ports in 6 countries in North and Central America. After touring Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Hollywood you’ll board the Norwegian Sun for 14 nights of pure delight. Departs September 27, 2016
11 days from $1,499* This tour highlights both man-made and natural icons of the western United States. “How did you do that?” you might ask. First, we’ve taken our tour of the iconic New Years Parade and included icons of Los Angeles like Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Chinese Theater and the Walk of Fame. Then we have added Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Scottsdale to create our Rose Parade, Grand Canyon Sunrise & Red Rocks Tour. Departs December 30, 2016
Las Vegas & California Sights
& Western Caribbean Cruise
Grand Canyon & Red Rocks Tour
*Prices are per person, double occupancy and do not include taxes & government fees which range from $159 to $299 depending on trip. Prices for trips that involve a cruise are based on the base cabin category. Cabin upgrades are available, as is add-on airfare. 2 for 1 savings on select cruise departures. All special offers apply to new bookings only and subject to availability. Seasonal surcharges and single supplements may apply. Ask your Travel Consultant for details.
Mention promo code M6009
Full Elastic Waist with Front Zipper & Snap Close!
2 Big Side Pockets! 2 Button-Flap Back Pockets!
You’ll love the comfort! Waist gives & takes with your every move! Lightweight, quick-dry cotton & polyester!
MACHINE WASH & WEAR!
• • • •
4 Deep Pockets • Snap Closure Indestructible Nylon Zipper Fly Extra Sturdy Belt Loops Convenient Golfer’s Locker Loop
Belt Loops too, including Center Back!
XS INSEAMS! WAISTS to 60! If you wonder how other men look so good, ask them about Haband®! Or see for yourself! Fast, Reliable Service!
Brown Bone Grey
Match in Shirts g $ 13.99 eac
pairs for only
h wh you bu en y2
3 for 43.47 4 for 56.45 5 for 68.37 Haband® #1 Bargain Place, Jessup, PA 18434-1834 Visa
Teal Khaki Blue
Card # __________________________________________Exp.: ____/____ Mr. Mrs. Ms. ___________________________________________________ Address __________________________________________ Apt. # ______ City & State ____________________________________ Zip ___________ Phone/Email __________________________________________________ I enclose $________ purchase price, and only $9.99 shipping & handling for my entire order. Please add applicable state & local sales tax for the following states: AZ, FL,
GA, MA, MN, NE, NJ, PA, WI, & WV.
SLACKS 2 for $29.99* Ø6 Ø1 5J Ø4 2E
Banded bottom means no tucking, and the two chest pockets button securely. Choose from 4 contrast tonals that make casual look classy. No-wrinkle cotton/polyester is machine care. Hurry! Sizes: S(34-36) M(38-40) L(42-44) XL(46-48) Big Men Sizes (just $4 more each): 2XL(50-52) 3XL(54-56) 4XL(58-60)
GREY BLACK CADET BLUE BROWN KHAKI
$13.99 each when you buy 2
WHAT WHAT HOW WAIST? INSEAM? MANY?
79L–14C1X SIZE? MANY? WHAT HOW
NB AJ 7R RN
GREY TEAL BLUE BONE
FOR MAXIMUM COMFORT, ORDER YOUR USUAL WAIST SIZE! 100% Satisfaction Waists: 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 Guaranteed or *Big Men ($5 more per pair): 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 Full Refund of Inseams: XS(25-26) S(27-28) M(29-30) L(31-32) merchandise XL(33-34) (XL inseam available in 32-44 waists only) purchase price. Imported
When you pay by check, you authorize us to use information from your check to clear it electronically. Funds may be withdrawn from your account as soon as the same day we receive your payment, and you will not receive your check back from your financial institution.
For Faster Service Call: 1-800-543-4810 or visit www.Haband.com/bestdeals