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NEWS FROM NARFE

Unless you speak, Congress assumes consent
NARFE
Since its launch on Dec. 12 of last year, NARFE's message, "Oppose a Change in the COLA Formula," has been viewed by 37,703 members, yet only 13,819 of these acted, generating 88,516 messages to Congress and the president. Launched more recently on May 7, NARFE's "Defend FEHBP" alert has been viewed by 15,994, of whom 6,910 have generated 25,340 messages to Congress. Unless more NARFE members use our advocacy tools, including, but not limited to, our Legislative Action Center, the COLA formula may be changed and FEHBP dismantled. NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin urges every NARFE member to "enlist in the defense of your earned benefits." If you haven't already sent both messages — "Oppose a Change in the COLA Formula" and “Defend FEHBP" — use the Legislative Action Center NOW to send these messages to both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Click here to see a menu of options.
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Emails are good, handshakes are better
NARFE
During July and August, members of Congress will be in their home districts meeting with constituents and attending public events. These "district work periods" provide priceless opportunities to take NARFE's message directly to legislators. In July, members will be home July 1-5. In August, members will be home Aug. 3-Sept. 8. Wear a NARFE shirt, hat or button when attending holiday parades, local festivals, or county and state fairs. When you shake the hand of a legislator, remind him/her of the work federal employees do to protect America's heartbeat and what you do/did during your time of service. Explain that the Chained CPI will hurt Americans like you. Ask your legislator to stop attacking federal employees. Summer community events provide an excellent opportunity to take your NARFE legislative grass-roots activity to the next level. Not sure where to begin? Check out the Protect America's Heartbeat Toolkit at www.narfe.org/toolkit.
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FEDERAL BENEFITS QUESTION OF THE WEEK


FERS annuity and Social Security
NARFE
Question: I will be age 62 in November. I am under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and plan to retire at the end of December. I will draw a FERS annuity as well as Social Security. Will my FERS annuity be considered taxable income by the Social Security Administration, and will my Social Security benefit be taxed for it?
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FEDERAL UPDATE


Fallout from recent controversies hurts federal workers
The Washington Post
Uncle Sam's reputation has taken a beating lately, and it's his staff that will feel the pain. The recent spate of controversies — revelations about the massive collection of electronic data by the National Security Agency, the Internal Revenue Service's political targeting and conference scandals, and the seizure of Associated Press telephone records — undermines confidence in government.
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'Feds Feed Families' nationwide food drive begins
The Exponent Telegram
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack kicked off the fifth annual Feds Feed Families Campaign recently at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. The food drive is an annual event in which federal employees in the Washington metropolitan area and around the country collect food for distribution by food banks and shelters. In the past four years, federal government employees around the country have donated over 15 million pounds of food through the Feds Feed Families campaign.
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Federal workforce dips 20 percent since May 2010 peak
Federal Times
The total federal workforce dropped by 14,000 employees in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said June 7, bringing the government's staffing levels to its lowest point in more than five years. May's decline means federal payrolls — including U.S. Postal Service workers — have now dropped by 45,000 over the last three months.
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DOD assures Congress contractors will share in the pain of sequestration
FederalNewsRadio.com
The Pentagon's top leaders told senators recently that if they're worried civilians are suffering more than contractors under sequestration, they shouldn't be: DOD says the entire nonuniformed workforce will share the pain.
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House oversight chair makes another attempt at postal overhaul
Government Executive
A champion of failed House legislation to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service has released draft language for a new proposal, which moves forward with five-day delivery and eases the much-maligned requirement to prefund retirees' health benefits.
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Bill would help federal firefighters get career jobs
Government Executive
Many temporary federal firefighters would be eligible for permanent government jobs under a bill introduced in the Senate. The legislation (S. 1120) would allow seasonal firefighters to use their experience to compete for career jobs that open up at land management agencies. It would also enable those temporary employees to convert to any "successor permanent positions," or permanent jobs in the same agency with similar duties and qualification requirements.
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  FEATURED COMPANIES
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FINANCES


House votes to limit reverse mortgage initial draw
The Associated Press via Yahoo
The Federal Housing Administration could limit the size of initial lump-sum payments that lenders offer reverse mortgage borrowers and require escrow accounts to cover taxes and insurance, under legislation the House recently passed. The bill, passed on a voice vote, is intended to help the government mortgage insurance agency work its way out of financial difficulty.
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RETIREMENT READINESS NOW TIP


Retirement toolkit
Office of Personnel Management
The Department of Labor has launched an online toolkit to help workers identify key issues related to retirement planning. The Employee Benefits Security Administration developed the toolkit in cooperation with the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to help workers understand important decisions related to employment-based plans, Social Security and Medicare.
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HEALTH


You're eating more calories than you think
CNN
Calorie counting has long been touted as an effective tool for losing pounds or maintaining a healthy weight. But new research published in the British Medical Journal shows many of us are underestimating the calories we're eating, especially when we visit fast food restaurants.
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SECOND CAREERS


Successfully transition to your second career
South County Mail
Many men and women reach their 50s and 60s and decide the adventure of a new challenge is simply too hard to resist. Oftentimes, this new challenge comes in the form of a second career. Though the U.S. Department of Labor notes it's difficult to pinpoint how many career changes the average worker makes during his or her lifetime, career coaches typically say men and women will undergo between three and seven career changes. Of course, such estimates no doubt include career changes at the onset of one's professional life, when many people are not precisely sure what they want to do for a living. For older workers, the uncertainty lies less in what they want to do and more in whether they can pull it off.
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RETIREMENT TRENDS


Game nights a social outlet for baby boomers
The Associated Press via Naples Daily News
When Ron Riedel's kids graduated from high school, he and his wife, Lorita, found they were socializing less. They weren't meeting up with friends at soccer games, school plays and other kid-related events. So Riedel formed a "baby boomer" group through his church that hosts regular game nights and weekly dinners. "When our kids were around, we had reasons to get together," said Riedel, 55, a furniture maker in Auburn, Calif. Now, "we had less excuses to get together, so we invented this."
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TRAVEL


How to pack light
U.S. News & World Report
Packing requires practicality: Not only must you carefully plot what items to bring, but you must also strategically organize them into one compact carry-on. With steep checked-baggage fees increasing already lofty flight costs, experienced globetrotters often suggest stripping down to the absolute essentials in order to hold on to some dough.
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CONSUMER TIPS


Seniors get a warning on medical alert scam
USA Today
Barbara Adams, 70, keeps getting one of those annoying robocalls that she just knows has to be a scam. The voice implies that somebody, her doctor or maybe her children, signed her up for a medical alert system. It's all free, the recording implies. The medical alert system scam is in full swing in Michigan, as well as other states including New York, Texas, Wisconsin and Kentucky.
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NARFE NewsWatch from the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
Disclaimer: The articles that appear in NARFE NewsWatch are chosen from a variety of sources to reflect topics of interest to active and retired federal employees. With the exception of Federal Benefits Question of the Week and News From NARFE, an article's inclusion in NARFE NewsWatch does not imply that the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) endorses, supports or verifies its contents or expressed opinions. Factual errors are the responsibility of the listed publication.

Colby Horton, vice president of publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
Caleb Gremmer, content editor, 469.420.2648   Contribute news
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