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NEWS FROM NARFE

Feds gain modest relief from sequester; spared from cuts, but future hires forced to pay more towards retirement
NARFE
Last week, House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement on funding levels for the next two years, thereby partially offsetting sequestration for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, and ending gridlock in Congress. The legislation won House approval by a vote of 332-94 and goes to the Senate for a vote this week, where passage is likely. Increases in retirement contributions for current employees remained on the table late in negotiations, but the final deal only included an increase for future hires. Beginning in 2014, new hires will pay an additional 1.3 percent of their salary towards retirement, for a total of 4.4 percent. The provision saves the government $6 billion over 10 years. The budget deal also included the long-sought "self plus one" coverage option within the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which should lower health insurance premiums for those eligible. NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin characterizes the budget deal as "bittersweet for the federal community," as it will likely prevent furloughs and reductions in force, but does so by undermining the future of the civil service. Beaudoin calls for an end to the drain on our nation's federal workforce.
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FEDERAL BENEFITS QUESTION OF THE WEEK


CSRS Offset
NARFE
Question: My wife and I retired under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset. My wife is now age 62 and is not employed. We expected that her annuity would have been recalculated when she turned age 62, but no change has been made in her annuity. Does she need to apply for Social Security before the offset takes effect? The guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) indicates that the recalculation will take place automatically, but it is unclear if the annuitant must do something to initiate this.
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FEDERAL UPDATE


Feds sail smoothly toward a 2014 pay raise
Government Executive
For months, federal employees have quietly waited to learn the fate of their long-awaited pay raise. In August, President Barack Obama affirmed his intention to grant an across-the-board, 1 percent increase. The first raise since 2010 was far from out of the woods, however. In 2012, Obama recommended a 0.5 percent pay raise for 2013, only to have it struck down by Congress.
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Budget deal offers sequester relief, funding stability
Federal Times
Congress is expected to give final approval soon to a two-year budget framework that would require new federal employees to pay more for their pensions but avert the threat of a partial government shutdown next month and give agencies some relief from a fresh round of sequester-related budget cuts. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly; the Senate is set to take it up before adjourning for the year.
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Republican senators battle budget cuts targeting military retirees
Government Executive
A handful of Senate Republicans are balking at a provision in the budget deal that would cut benefits to military retirees. The deal would decrease the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees by 1 percent, cutting approximately $6 billion in spending over 10 years. The deal finds savings by "targeting military retirees," said Sen. James Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
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Senate bill would expand appeals rights for 'sensitive' federal workers
The Washington Post
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., recently introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow federal workers to appeal personnel decisions even when their jobs are deemed "sensitive" to national security, a designation that currently prohibits an administrative board from hearing their cases.
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FINANCES


7 in 10 will need long-term care, ready or not
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Many families do not learn about the costs of long-term care until a crisis hits, and many get a rude awakening, said Jon Howell, president and CEO of the Georgia Health Care Association, an industry group that represents nursing homes, assisted living centers and companies that coordinate home care across the state. Seventy percent of people now turning 65 will need long-term care at some point during their lives.
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HEALTH


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5 health habits that reduce your risk of dementia
Yahoo
Here's motivation to live a healthier lifestyle: Following a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a low body weight, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption can help reduce the odds of dementia, according to research published recently.
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SECOND CAREERS


The job seeker's holiday survival guide
AOL
December can be a cruel month for job seekers. It seems everyone else is enjoying holiday parties and office toasts while you are walking the streets. Your email gets quiet. The phone doesn't ring. It is easy to miss out on the joy of the holidays when your job search goes cold and your stress level is on the rise. But it doesn't have to be that way.
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TRAVEL


50 ways to ski in 50 states
AOL Travel News
How many states can you ski in? Most people know there are slopes in Colorado, California and Vermont. But what about Florida? Hawaii? New Jersey? Turns out, there are options for snowbirds in some surprising places. Here's how to ski — if you can — in every state, from the epic to the wannabe to the wacky.
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CONSUMER TIPS


BBB warns of email scam targeting holiday shoppers
KSHB-TV
A big scam is targeting email inboxes this month, hoping to dupe people who order gifts online during the holidays. The Better Business Bureau issued the warning. "Scammers are taking advantage of the holiday shopping season with fake email shipping notifications that pose as FedEx, UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. We are always seeing it around here. It comes around every year,” said Aaron Reese of the BBB's Kansas City, Mo., office.
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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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