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NEWS FROM NARFE

Be informed, check NARFE's Scorecard before you vote
NARFE
Before going to the polls next week, take advantage of NARFE's 113th Congress Scorecard, also featured in the October issue of narfe magazine. Use this resource to find out how well lawmakers seeking re-election to Congress have represented the interests of federal employees and retirees. The Scorecard includes descriptions of key Senate and House votes and a state-by-state record of how legislators voted in each instance, and provides a historical figure as well as one for this Congress for comparison.
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NARFE-PAC makes pre-election push for donations
NARFE
With elections just a week away, NARFE-PAC's clout is felt now more than during any other time of the year. Help defend federal employee and retiree interests by giving to NARFE-PAC, "The Federal Employee and Retiree Defense Fund," before it's too late. NARFE members can donate via the NARFE website at www.narfe.org/narfepac/, or by using the coupon on page 15 of the November issue of narfe magazine.
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FEDERAL BENEFITS QUESTION OF THE WEEK


Survivor benefit
NARFE
Question: I have been divorced from my first wife for seven years and have since remarried. My first wife will get part of my retirement as part of our divorce decree. If she remarries before she turns age 55, would she lose her share of my retirement?
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FEDERAL UPDATE


Social Security benefits tick up for 2015
The Hill
Social Security benefits for more than 70 million people in the United States will rise by 1.7 percent next year, the government announced Oct. 22, again well below prerecession averages. This marks the third consecutive year in which the cost-of-living adjustment was less than 2 percent. The increase, however, is slightly higher than last year's bump of 1.5 percent, one of the smallest the government had made since the mid-1970s.
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More federal employees are teleworking more often
Nextgov
The number of federal employees who telework is up slightly this year, according to a major survey. Feds who reported they telework three or more days a week, those teleworking one to two days a week and those who telework only rarely all rose one percentage point, compared with last year, according to the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.
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Can DHS be fixed? Lawmakers divided over agency's future
Federal Times
As the Department of Homeland Security reels from scandals, falling morale and recruiting issues, lawmakers are divided over how to reform the struggling agency — or if it should even exist at all. "It needs to be dismantled," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said about DHS. "We put this together after 9/11 to communicate and coordinate better but instead it's a monument to bureaucracy."
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Survey: Federal employees unhappy with senior leaders, suffer low morale
The Washington Post
Federal employees' satisfaction with their agencies' senior leaders hit a five-year low last year, according to a survey of the workforce that also shows continuing discontent overall. Many employees still think the work they do is important, believe in their agencies' missions and put in extra effort to get the job done, the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey found.
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GOP to agencies: Why do you pay employees not to work?
Federal News Radio
Following a report that the government has spent $3.1 billion in paid administrative leave for employees over a three-year period, some congressional Republicans are demanding explanations from agencies and threatening to introduce legislation to curb the practice. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., recently fired off letters to 17 agencies demanding to know why they had let some employees take a year or more of paid administrative leave.
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FINANCES


3 ways to boost your Social Security benefits
Yahoo
Two-thirds of those receiving Social Security benefits rely on it for more than half of their income. The average monthly benefit is $1,294 – and many beneficiaries don't know that some careful planning can increase the amount they get (for them or their spouses). "The decision to claim your benefits will stick with you for the rest of your life, and there are endless, complicated 'quirks' about the Social Security program that stump the best of us," says Jean Setzfand, vice president of Financial Security at AARP.
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HEALTH


Naturally occurring compounds in cocoa may reverse age-related memory loss
United Press International
People entering their 50s and 60s tend to begin losing some parts of their short-term memory, but compounds found naturally in cocoa may help reverse that occurrence. Researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center provided a cocoa flavanol-containing test drink to 37 healthy volunteers between the ages of 50 and 69. Some received a high-flavanol diet and others received a low-flavanol diet. Brain imaging was done before and after the test period, and the researchers found a noticeable improvement in the dentate gyrus region of the brain, which is associated with the kind of memory loss they were studying.
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TRAVEL


Offbeat Caribbean: Cruise ports you didn't know existed
USA Today
For those who want the quintessential Caribbean cruise vacation, with time to lie on a palm tree-lined beach, frosty rum punch in hand, blue sea lapping the shore, cruise lines offer tried-and-true itineraries – including one-week sailings to such popular destinations as St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Cozumel. But then there are Caribbean cruises that go further afield, in some cases exploring islands you may not ever have heard of.
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SECOND CAREERS


Common mistakes older job seekers make
San Francisco Chronicle
When it comes to job searching, age can present challenges, despite the fact that job seekers age 55-plus have more opportunities than ever before. The biggest hurdle, however, is one that occurs within yourself, and that is self-defeat. Sometimes this shows up before you even start searching, and leaning on job-search techniques you used early in your career can make it worse. There are seven mistakes that are common among older job seekers. Although job seekers of any age can relate to these, they appear to present the most challenges for older workers.
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CONSUMER TIPS


Score on Black Friday by doing research now
USA Today
Black Friday is 19 days away, and shoppers already have started to refine their shopping lists, searching for ads online that reveal gotta-have gifts and rock-bottom prices at major retailers. The holiday shopping season represents the bulk of many merchants' yearly sales, so luring shoppers early is important, retail analysts say. Dozens of Black Friday websites entice shoppers with early releases of ads.
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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
Bianca Gibson, Executive Editor, 469.420.2611   Contribute news
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