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NEWS FROM NARFE

There's still time to act!
Opportunities for advocacy abound during district work periods

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, and the summer congressional recess is 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 relate 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 and retirees in the name of deficit reduction. Summer community events provide ready-made opportunities to step up your NARFE legislative grass-roots activity. NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin urges all members to go where the action is and "seek out your representative and senators during the first week of July, the summer congressional recess or anytime Congress is not in session. Electronic messages to Congress are good; meeting with your members of Congress and putting a face on federal employees and retirees are unparalleled."

Not sure where to begin? Find vital information in the Protect America's Heartbeat Toolkit at http://www.narfe.org/heartbeat/toolkit.cfm. The legislative staff at NARFE is eager to supply locations and maps to district and state offices.
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FEDERAL BENEFITS QUESTION OF THE WEEK


Survivor annuity
NARFE
Question: Both my spouse and I are retired federal employees. If I predecease my husband or he predeceases me, may we receive more than one annuity?
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FEDERAL UPDATE


Furloughs still a reality for thousands
Government Executive
More federal agencies than not have avoided employee furloughs as the government heads into its fifth month of sequestration. The specter of furloughs hanging over the federal workforce for most of 2013 has largely evaporated for several agencies, but thousands of government employees still face unpaid leave through the rest of this summer.
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VA 'surge' closes out 97 percent of oldest disability claims
Federal News Radio
Over the past two months, the Department of Veterans Affairs surge accomplished nearly all that it set out to do — processing all the claims that have been waiting for two years or more. By the time the two-month operation ended this week, the department had processed 97 percent of all disability claims for veterans who've been waiting two years or longer, officials said recently. The department expects to reach decisions on most of the rest of the oldest claims within the next few days before it turns its attention to veterans who have been waiting one year or more.
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19 percent fewer pension claims processed in May
Federal Times
The Office of Personnel Management's processing of pension claims fell 19 percent in May — the first full month since the agency halted all overtime in its retirement services division. In April, OPM processed 13,582 retirement claims, which represented its third-most productive ever. But on April 28, OPM eliminated all retirement services overtime due to the sequester's budget cuts. And in May, OPM processed 10,954 claims — 546 fewer than it expected to process last month.
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More dental, vision insurance choices for feds
Government Executive
Federal employees will have more options starting next year when choosing dental and vision insurance coverage. The Office of Personnel Management recently announced that it will add four carriers in 2014 to its current dental and vision portfolio, for a total of 14 insurance contracts. The agency will award 10 contracts for dental plans and four vision contracts.
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Wave of federal retirees to hit government
CNN
The U.S. government could soon be facing a shortage of workers. Some 30 percent of the federal workforce will be eligible to retire in the next three years, according to a Government Accountability Office report. That means the government could be hit by a wave of retirements at a time when it is already dealing with inadequate staffing, because large numbers of employees are on furlough and hiring freezes are in place to save money and dramatically shrink the federal budget deficit.
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RETIREMENT READINESS NOW TIP


Social Security goes mobile
Office of Personnel Management
You're on the run, between meetings, and you need a quick answer to a Social Security question. Your computer's at the office and your laptop's at home. Where do you turn? To the Social Security Administration's new mobile website!

People visiting www.socialsecurity.gov by smartphone (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows devices) are redirected to the agency's new mobile-friendly site. There, visitors can access a mobile-friendly version of Social Security's frequently asked questions, an interactive guide to help people identify documents needed for a new or replacement Social Security card, and publications that they can easily read or listen to in both English and Spanish.

In addition, visitors to the new mobile site can learn how to create a personal "my Social Security account" to instantly get an online Social Security Statement or a benefit verification letter, learn more about Social Security's award-winning online services, and connect with Social Security on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

Direct your smartphone to www.socialsecurity.gov.

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HEALTH


Are expensive organics worth the price tag?
Yahoo News
You've heard about the benefits of buying organic, but you're not sure if organic fruits, veggies, cereals and other products are worth the higher price tag. Make your decision easier by learning more about the debate surrounding organic products. It's helpful to understand what it means when a particular item carries an "organic" label and why organic food might cost a little more. Once you consider all these factors, you'll be in a better position to decide for yourself.
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SECOND CAREERS


10 ways to launch your dream job in retirement
Business Insider
Years ago, Americans worked for one company or union — and then retired with a plaque, a pension and a pat on the back. Today, though, with longer life spans, Americans are "retiring" and going to work at jobs or enterprises that fulfill new dreams.
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TRAVEL


Cruise 101: Using a travel agent
USA Today
The rise of the Internet has spurred many travelers to book their vacations independently, but booking a cruise can be a complex operation, and here's an important fact to chew on: Most people book their cruises through a travel agent (68 percent of them in 2011, according to the Cruise Lines International Association). The cruise lines actually prefer this arrangement. They have small reservation staffs, rely on agents for the bulk of their sales and even list preferred agents on their websites.
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CONSUMER TIPS


Scams targeting seniors on the rise
Bangor Daily News
The recent call to a woman in eastern Maine sounded legitimate. The caller claimed to be with the Eastern Area Agency on Aging (EAAA) and inquired about the woman's arthritis. As the conversation went on, the caller claimed to have access to a "tool" that could help relieve the woman's pain. All the woman had to do, the caller said, was to provide her Medicare number. When the woman refused (smartly), the caller hung up.
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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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