benefits

Benefits of union membership

Better working conditions is the main benefit of a unionized workforce. But there are individual benefits to AFGE membership as well. Check out https://www.afge.org/Index.cfm?Page=MemberBenefits for a list of benefits including insurance, computers, legal assistance, scholarships, pet care, travel, and discounts on a variety of goods and services.

Federal retirement benefits under attack ... again

Govexec reports that Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) will introduce a bill to get rid of budget caps at the Department of Defense ... while cutting Social Security and federal retiree benefits (by changing the way cost-of-living increases are calculated), more than doubling the amount federal workers pay toward their pensions, and eliminating the FERS supplement for employees who retire before they are eligible for Social Security. These retirement-cutting proposals were also endorsed by President Obama in his 2014 budget.

Cuts to federal worker income: past, present and future

Rep. Marcia Fudge introduced House Resolution 388, which summarizes the sacrifices federal workers have already made as a result of budget cutting. It also provides a comprehensive summary of new proposals that have been made to cut federal worker benefits, and opposes those cuts. A tab on the page also shows the list of current cosponsors to the bill. See http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th/house-resolution/388/text

Shutdown Q&A

As the government lockout drags on, people will have more questions about how this affects, leave, retirement, insurance, etc. This is a reminder that many questions and answers appear on the following sites:

http://epa.gov/lapse/faqs/FAQs_9-30-13.pdf

http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/gui...

Possibility of back pay for furloughed employees?

Govexec is reporting, "The House will vote Saturday on a widely supported bill to grant furloughed federal employees retroactive pay upon the reopening of government, Republican leaders have announced. The bill is expected to pass with bipartisan support ..." Identical legislation has reportedly been introduced in the Senate. As Govexec notes, "In previous government shutdowns, Congress has always approved retroactive pay for the federal workforce, and employee groups and unions have repeatedly called on Congress to again ensure compensation.

Unemployment compensation during shutdown

Here is the link to the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation site, where they have posted special instructions for furloughed federal workers:

http://www.uc.pa.gov/portal/server.pt/community/uc_pa_gov/11449

The 2012 open season is underway

Open season started November 12 and continues through December 10. This is your chance to change your enrollment for health, dental, and vision insurance; and for the leave bank. Also, if you want to enroll in the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for health-care or dependent-care costs for 2013, you must do so now. Unlike health insurance, FSA enrollments do not automatically carry over from year to year! The allowable maximum for the health-care FSA has been lowered to $2500 this year, but the limit for a dependent-care FSA remains $5000.

Federal retirement information conveniently summarized

Tammy Flanagan of the Government Executive website has posted a comprehensive summary of articles about understanding the federal retirement systems:

http://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/retirement-planning/2012/09/back-bas...

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