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  1. Viewed 732 TimesYour Shares In The TSP And Dollar-Cost Averaging
    In a bear market, many household investors become increasingly fearful of not only how much they should invest, or where they should allocate regular contributions in their employer's long-term retirement plan -- but also if they should continue contributing at all until the market recovers.

    During this time, it is often good to take a step back and review the basic principles of a long-term retirement plan like the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) -- specifically how shares in the plan are invested... [Read More]
  2. Viewed 508 TimesWhile New TSP Options Roll Forward, Other Proposed Federal Benefits Get Stalled
    Following last week's Senate vote to approve new options in the Thrift Savings Plan in the so-called "Tobacco Bill" -- and the expectation that President Barack Obama will sign the bill this week -- many of the new perks for federal employees will roll out soon.

    The bill included authorization for:

    - newly hired federal employees to immediately be eligible for the 1 percent automatic agency contribution to their TSP accounts and automatic enrollment in the G fund

    - surviving s... [Read More]
  3. Viewed 429 TimesWhile New TSP Options Roll Forward, Other Proposed Federal Benefits Get Stalled
    Following last week's Senate vote to approve new options in the Thrift Savings Plan in the so-called "Tobacco Bill" -- and the expectation that President Barack Obama will sign the bill this week -- many of the new perks for federal employees will roll out soon.

    The bill included authorization for:

    - newly hired federal employees to immediately be eligible for the 1 percent automatic agency contribution to their TSP accounts and automatic enrollment in the G fund

    - surviving s... [Read More]
  4. Viewed 1,162 TimesWhich TSP Withdrawal Option Is Best? [Video]
    The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) reports that approximately 88 percent of federal retirees elect to take their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) savings in monthly withdrawal payments, 12 percent elect a single payment withdrawal and less than 1 percent elect the annuity-purchase option.

    Knowing the pros and cons of the TSP's monthly withdrawal options is critical to preparing for retirement whether you are retiring this year or 10-20 years from now.
    After years... [Read More]
  5. Viewed 511 TimesWhere Is The Money To Pay For Your CSRS Or FERS Retirement Annuity?
    By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

    Taxpayers are on the hook for an extra $55,000 a household to cover rising federal commitments made just in the past year for retirement benefits, the national debt and other government promises, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

    The 12% rise in red ink in 2008 stems from an explosion of federal borrowing during the recession, plus an aging population driving up the costs of Medicare and Social Security.
    ... [Read More]
  6. Viewed 523 TimesWhat Will The 2010 Federal Pay Increase Be?
    While earlier this year President Obama recommended a 2 percent pay increase in 2010 for federal employees, the actual raise could be much larger.

    The early indicator comes from the House Armed Services Committee's military personnel panel last week which approved a 2010 pay raise of 3.4 percent for the uniformed military.

    If this increase becomes final, it will be a strong prediction of what the pay increase could be for civilian federal employees in 2010. For many years, Congress has pr... [Read More]
  7. Viewed 902 TimesWhat To Do If You Are Struggling To Make Mortgage Payments
    The possibility of losing your home because you can't make the mortgage payments can be terrifying. Perhaps you're having trouble making ends meet because you or a family member lost a job, or you're having other financial problems. Or maybe you're one of the many consumers who took out a mortgage that had a fixed rate for the first two or three years and then had an adjustable rate -- and you want to know what your payments will be and whether you'll be able to make them.

    Know Your Mortgage<... [Read More]
  8. Viewed 2,346 TimesWhat Is a Redeposit and When Is It Required? CSRS and FERS
    Redeposit service is any period of creditable federal service -- including creditable service under another eligible retirement system for federal employees -- in which employee retirement contributions were withdrawn upon an employee's separation from service before retirement.

    Payment of a redeposit is not required in determining an employee's eligibility to retire. But with some employees a redeposit may be required in order for the withdrawn service time be used in the employee's annuity... [Read More]
  9. Viewed 508 TimesVIDEO: Insight To Important New Changes And Options To The Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program
    In this short video, federal benefits expert, Chris Lennan, provides the critical ins-and-outs of how the premiums and benefits are changing, what the effective dates are, and what options current enrollees have under the new Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) contract announced in May.

    To view the video click here:

    Posted with permission from:

    VIDEO: Insight To Important New Changes And Options... [Read More]
  10. Viewed 530 TimesUSPS May Be Unable To Make Payroll in October And Retiree Health Plan Costs, Unions' Letter To Whit
    On July 14, unions representing United States Postal Service (USPS) workers wrote the White House with "extreme urgency" asking for a meeting to address lack of funding for both employee payroll in October and health benefits for retired employees.
    The letter, which the blog provided a scanned copy late last week, says:
    "[USPS] top executives are now saying that the USPS will default on a $5.4 billion payment to prefund future retiree health benefits on Septembe... [Read More]
  11. Viewed 510 TimesUPDATE: 2010 Federal Retiree COLA
    For the first time in nearly 30 years, there might be no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients in 2010, 2011 and 2012, according to a recent prediction by the Congressional Budget Office.

    This news has understandably caused a major concern among federal retirees and active federal employees with a retirement date on the horizon.

    Is the COLA a raise?

    As Andrew Biggs discusses in this article in today's Baltimore Sun, the annual Social Security adjustment was nev... [Read More]
  12. Viewed 562 TimesUnions Slam Senate Health Care Reform Bill to Tax Federal Employees in FEHB
    CBS News reports this evening...

    "Democrats in the Senate are on the verge of agreeing to a plan that would essentially extend federal employee health insurance options to the rest of the country. But just as the federal health insurance network could become the national model, labor unions are warning it could also be unreasonably taxed under the Senate plan.
    A group of unions released a report ( today showing that the so-calle... [Read More]
  13. Viewed 506 TimesUnions Push Back On Rehiring Federal Retirees
    The fight over rehiring retirees
    May 25, 2009

    A bill that would allow agencies to rehire retired employees won approval of a Senate committee last week. But, despite measures designed to appease unions, it still faces opposition from labor groups.

    The bill would create a five-year pilot program allowing agencies to rehire retirees and pay them their full salary and their full annuity. Currently, personnel rules don?t allow retirees to collect their full salaries and annui... [Read More]
  14. Viewed 1,456 TimesUnderstanding "Deferred" And "Postponed" Federal Retirement
    Edward A. Zurndorfer, CFP

    This article covers deferred and postponed retirement for employees in both the CSRS and FERS retirement systems.


    An employee who is covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or CSRS-Offset and separates from service may be entitled to a deferred CSRS annuity commencing when the employee is age 62. This will be the case if the employee: (1) is not eligible for an immediate annuity within one month of separation from service; (2) meets the minim... [Read More]
  15. Viewed 947 TimesU.S. Postal Service Offering Early Retirement To 150,000 Workers
    The agency, which is facing larger losses despite planned rate increases, says it also has plans to reduce management staff by 15% and to close six administrative offices.

    Washington -- Battered by the economic downturn, the U.S. Postal Service is offering early retirement to 150,000 workers, cutting management and closing offices, the agency said Friday.

    The Postal Service lost $2.8 billion last year and is facing even larger losses this year despite rate increases -- including a 2-cent... [Read More]
  16. Viewed 496 TimesTSP Reports Record Allocations In Safe G Fund
    March 16, 2009

    Thrift Savings Plan allocations to the G Fund ? the safest of TSP?s five funds ? hit record highs during February?s stock market declines.

    Employees in the Federal Employees Retirement System had 56 percent of their savings in the G Fund, Civil Service Retirement System employees had 62 percent in the G Fund, and military service members had 53 percent of their savings in the G Fund, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board reported today.
    For more:<... [Read More]
  17. Viewed 494 TimesTSP Participants More Confident About Stock Funds
    TSP participants head back to stock funds
    May 27, 2009

    Thrift Savings Plan participants appear to be recovering their confidence in the stock market and the federal government?s retirement plan.

    The stock-based C, S and I funds had their second consecutive month of positive performance in April after more than a year of frequently dismal returns. And after moving billions of dollars into the lower-risk, lower-reward G Fund?s government securities for more than a year, pa... [Read More]
  18. Viewed 682 TimesTSP Loans: What Federal Employees Should Consider
    Edward A. Zurndorfer, CFP

    The national economy is suffering. Homeowners cannot afford their newly adjusted mortgage payments, frequently resulting in foreclosures. Recently, the stock market has suffered through one of its worst performances in several years. Many banks have failed in the last year with perhaps more failures to come.

    As the housing, stock market and bank crises grip the country, many individuals are turning to their retirement plans -- for example, 401(k) plans and the Thr... [Read More]
  19. Viewed 525 TimesTop Ten Tax Time Tips
    While the tax filing deadline is more than three months away, it always seems to be here before you know it. Here are the Internal Revenue Service's top 10 tips that will help your tax filing process run smoother than ever this year.

    1. Start gathering your records

    Round up any documents or forms you'll need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support an item of income or a deduction you're taking on your return.

    2. Be on the lookout

    W-2s and 10... [Read More]
  20. Viewed 437 TimesThrift Savings Plan Reminders for 2010
    The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) has released a few alerts and reminders to its participants for 2010.

    Form 1099-R

    IRS Forms 1099-R will be mailed by January 31 to participants who received withdrawal or other taxable distributions during 2009. They will also be posted on the TSP website at The Official TSP Home Page, maintained by FRTIB; 2008-05-22. Paerticipants should make sure the TSP has their correct address. If a a participant has an address change or are separated from service, they s... [Read More]
  21. Viewed 692 TimesThe Important "Five Year Requirement" for Continuing FEHB and FEGLI Into Retirement
    An important part of planning for retirement is considering the coverages you may want to keep in either the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHB) or the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI).

    An critical item to pay attention to -- that can surprise many federal employees before they retire -- is the the "five year requirement" for each program.


    Federal retirees and their surviving spouses retain their eligibility for FEHB health coverage at the same cos... [Read More]
  22. Viewed 646 TimesThe Importance Of Preparing An MSPB Case In A Federal Disability Retirement Case - For The Long Haul
    Robert R. McGill, Esquire

    The theory of the interconnectedness of each species in the universe is based upon the idea of a teleological spectrum. For if the fox which raids the hen house were to stop raiding, and the hens in the hen house were to stop disappearing, who would collect all of the eggs? And if the farmer became wealthy because of all of the eggs gathered, and went to live in early retirement as a wealthy ex-farmer, who would farm? And if Joe could no longer find eggs at the loc... [Read More]
  23. Viewed 423 TimesTen Tips For Taxpayers Contributing To An Individual Retirement Plan (IRA)
    March 29, 2010

    If you haven't made all the contributions to your traditional Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) that you want to make -- don't worry, you may still have time.

    Here are the top 10 things from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about setting aside retirement money in an IRA.

    1. You may be able to deduct some or all of your contributions to your IRA. You may also be eligible for the Savers Credit formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit.

    2. Con... [Read More]
  24. Viewed 547 TimesSocial Security And You- Myths And Truths
    Most Americans, no matter what their age, have more questions than answers when it comes to Social Security. Here are a few myths and truths you may want to know whether you're 25 or 65.

    Social Security was established in 1935 to fight against the poverty within the elderly population caused by the Great Depression. It was created as a self-financing program meaning it would collect payroll taxes from workers and their employers to be paid out in the future to retirees.

    The self-financing... [Read More]
  25. Viewed 454 TimesRetiree Anger Over Zero 2010 COLA And Future Social Security Reform
    In the next two years, it is predicted that the Social Security system will pay more out in benefits than it collects in taxes.

    This is the first time this has happened since the 1980s, and is reportedly due to the strain of recent job losses and early retirements on the system.

    With the additional announcement last month that there will be no cost-of-living (COLA) increase to Social Security recipients in 2010, the concern and anger among seniors is mounting.

    Mark Miller, a nationally... [Read More]
  26. Viewed 490 TimesReport: Despite Huge Losses In 2008, Ongoing Contributions In Work-Place Retirement Plans Pay Off In
    October 8, 2009
    Printer-Friendly Format

    American workers who held 401(k) accounts (similar to the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees) consistently from 2003 through 2008 suffered a 24.3 percent average drop in their account balance during 2008's bear market, according to a report released Tuesday by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI).

    These consistent participants in 401(k)'s saw their average account balances increase at an an... [Read More]
  27. Viewed 433 TimesRecession Creates More Retirement Planning Worries
    September 18, 2009

    Due to the recession, more Americans are concerned about retirement planning according to results from a new survey released Wednesday.

    Fifty-one (51) percent of those familiar with their parents' finances say they are thinking more seriously about their own retirement planning after watching the recession's impact on their parents, the survey resluts indicated. And what they learned likely could be put to good use given 71 percent of people believe they will experience... [Read More]
  28. Viewed 454 TimesPremium Hikes, Benefit Options In New Long-Term Care Contract For Federal Employees
    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has signed a contract with John Hancock Life and Health Insurance Company to provide insurance for the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program's (FLTCIP) second 7-year contract term.

    John Hancock has been a 50 percent joint program insurer since the program's 2002 inception.

    "The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program is an important benefit that helps enrollees pay for long term care costs that are not covered by health insurance, which can... [Read More]
  29. Viewed 510 TimesPay-For-Performance For All Federal Employees Debate Continues
    Earlier this week, My Federal Retirement reported the House is expected to vote soon on an amendment to the 2010 defense authorization bill that could end the NSPS pay-for-performance system for Department of Defense employees within one year -- a change affecting approximately 200,000 federal employees.

    But the broader debate regarding pay reform continues -- particularly that the Obama administration stated earlier this year that it favors a pay-for-performance program for all federal emplo... [Read More]
  30. Viewed 563 TimesOPM's RetireEZ Program At Risk Of Failure, GAO Says
    Until the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) addresses serious weaknesses, the agency's retirement modernization initiative "remains at risk of failure", says the Government Accountablity Office (GAO) in a report released yesterday.

    The modernization program, also called RetireEZ, affects nearly
    1 million active federal employees who will be eligible to retire -- 600,000 of which will most likely retire -- by 2016.

    "OPM remains far from achieving the modernized capabiliti... [Read More]
  31. Viewed 540 TimesOPM To Recalculate Some Survivor And Disability Annuities
    March 17, 2010

    Due to changes in interpretation of the applicable statutes that have evolved over time, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced this week that it needs to perform a recalculation for many who are receiving a disability annuity or a survivor annuity.

    OPM is looking for anyone receiving a disability annuity or a survivor annuity based wholly or in part on service in any of the following positions under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Emplo... [Read More]
  32. Viewed 657 TimesOPM Proposes Pilot Program Of Voluntary Medicare Part B Option For Retirees In FEHB
    April 8, 2010

    A proposed pilot project by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) would test the viability of a voluntary "sub-option" within the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHB) that would potentially pay all or part of Medicare Part B for those federal retirees who are Medicare-eligible.

    "If proven feasible, the Medicare sub-option could save some federal annuitants money and help to contain costs in FEHBP for workers, retirees and survivors," said Natio... [Read More]
  33. Viewed 511 TimesOPM Launches "Managing My Own Health" Website
    September 21, 2009

    Last week, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) launched "Managing My Own Health," a new website that provides federal employees with healthcare information and tools they can use to keep track of their individual health needs.

    Some of the features on the website include:

    - look up recommendations for the healthcare screenings an individual under age 50 should have.

    - create a personal health record by keeping track of health screenings using one of t... [Read More]
  34. Viewed 433 TimesOPM Director Confronts Washington Times' Criticism Of Federal Employee Pay "Bonanza"
    March 15, 2010

    The Washington Times published an editorial last Friday, criticizing this year's pay raise for federal employees as well as hiring bonuses and other compensation incentives offered during a recession.

    The Times article, headlined "Federal bonus bonanza," opened with: "[t]he only thing that seems to be growing during the current economic downturn is the government, and that's cause for alarm. While families and businesses struggle to make ends meet, the ranks o... [Read More]
  35. Viewed 559 TimesOPM Decides to Keep Time-In-Grade Pay Rule, Individuals Issue Comments
    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it will keep the time-in-grade pay regulation, a reversal of previous plans in 2008 that would have eliminated the rule.

    The time-in-grade rule is one in which employees in competitive service General Schedule (GS) positions at grades 5 and above must serve 52 weeks in a grade before becoming eligible for promotion to the next grade level. If the rule was eliminated, employees would be promoted whenever it was determined -- under a subje... [Read More]
  36. Viewed 453 TimesOPM Announces Dates For Fall 2009 Federal Benefits Open Season
    he Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced today the dates for the Fall 2009 Federal Benefits Open Season.

    In this year's Open Season, which runs from Monday, November 9 through Monday, December 14, 2009 federal employees can take the actions listed below for the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS), Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB).

    1. Enroll in a flexible spending account -- a he... [Read More]
  37. Viewed 490 TimesObama Wants Pay For Performance For All Federal Employees
    Performance pay for all feds
    June 01, 2009
    The Obama administration wants to institute a pay-for-performance system for all federal employees, the new Office of Personnel Management director said May 27.

    ?The president has made it clear to me that there will be no overall reform unless pay for performance is part of the deal,? John Berry told reporters. ?He?s made it clear that it?s worth a try, and he?s willing to spend political capital to do it.?

    The current federal... [Read More]
  38. Viewed 569 TimesNSPS Self Assessment: Preparing Great Job Objectives
    by Nancy Segal

    Like we discussed in the part one of this article, as the fiscal year winds down, it's time to start thinking about end of year activities. One of the key, end of year activities for many Department of Defense employees is the preparation of self assessments for rating year 2009 and the development of effective and relevant job objectives for rating year 2010.

    The prior article discussed writing self assessments; this article will explore the preparation of job objectives.<... [Read More]
  39. Viewed 433 TimesNew Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Plan (FLTCIP) Starts October 1
    September 18, 2009

    The new Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP), which the carrier has called FLTCIIP 2.0, takes effect on on October 1, 2009.

    In October, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will be providing more details and current enrollees in the current plan (FLTCIP 1.0) will be mailed personalized information packets explaining the choices that can be made, including:

    - remaining with the current benefit structure, subject to rate increases that may apply;

    ... [Read More]
  40. Viewed 403 TimesNearly Three Dozen Tax Breaks To End In 2009 And 2010
    October 19, 2009

    There are several tax credits for individuals that are scheduled to end in 2009 and 2010.

    The following list gives an overview of a few of the provisions scheduled to expire between November 2009 and December 2010 that are of particular interest to federal employees and retirees. (To see the larger list provided by Thomson Reuters,
    click here).

    Retirement Plans and IRAs

    - Waiver of 2009 minimum required distribution rules for IRAs and defined contribution plans (su... [Read More]
  41. Viewed 435 TimesNARFE: No Position on Proposed Health Care Reform Bills In House And Senate
    August 1, 2009

    In a legislative update memo released to its members on July 31, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) said they have taken no position on the health care reform legislation currently being considered in the House and the Senate.

    "That's because the status of the leading bills is extremely fluid and is subject to change", stated NARFE in the memo.

    NARFE, an association with tens of thousands of members, represents both federal em... [Read More]
  42. Viewed 422 TimesNARFE Disappointed With Senate's Rejection Of $250 Payment To Retirees
    March 7, 2010

    National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) President Margaret L. Baptiste said Thursday that her organization is disappointed that the Senate sidetracked an amendment by Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT), that would have provided a one-time $250 payment to most older Americans.

    Sanders and Sens. Christopher Dodd, D-CT, Patrick Leahy, D-VT, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, and Mark Begich, D-AK, tried to attach the am... [Read More]
  43. Viewed 704 TimesMore Concern for FEHB Enrollees: Premium Hikes, End of Co-Pays and Flexible Spending Accounts
    While proponents to the health care reform bill in the House of Representatives (HR 3200) have often cited the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHB) as a model for success, others question how millions of federal employees and retirees covered under FEHB will ultimately be affected by the pending legislation.

    Hearing on Affects of House Bill to FEHB Participants Denied

    House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), stated last week she is determined to bring the health care reform bill to th... [Read More]
  44. Viewed 399 TimesLawmakers, NARFE Question Long Term Care Insurance Rate Hike In Senate Hearing
    October 15, 2009
    Printer-Friendly Format

    A 25 percent premium increase in the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) could have been mitigated had earlier warning signs been heeded, said National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) President Margaret L. Baptiste yesterday to the Senate Aging Committee and the Senate Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce.

    "Lower-than-expected lapsed rates, which increase the number of individuals likely to submit claims... [Read More]
  45. Viewed 440 TimesLast Year For Additional Standard Deduction For Real Estate Taxes
    March 9, 2010

    Taxpayers who pay state or local real estate taxes but don't qualify to itemize their tax deductions may qualify for an increased standard deduction. This is the last year that the higher standard deduction for real estate taxes is available.

    Here are six things you need to know about the higher standard deduction for real estate taxes:

    1. The additional deduction amount is equal to the amount of real estate taxes paid, or $500 for single filers or $1,000 for joint filers,... [Read More]
  46. Viewed 454 TimesIs Social Security The Next Bailout Candidate?
    Perhaps as early as this year, Social Security, at $680 billion the nation's biggest social program, will be transformed from an operation that's helped finance the rest of the government for 25 years into a cash drain that will need money from the Treasury. In other words, a bailout.

    Fortune magazine's Allan Sloan takes a look at the troubled retirement program, why it's more important now than ever - and how lawmakers can repair it.
    Click here to read more:
    ... [Read More]
  47. Viewed 583 TimesIs FEHB A Good Model For Health Care Reform For All Americans?
    As part of the heated debate, President Obama and some members of Congress have stated the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) plan is a model for national health care reform for all Americans.

    But is it?

    The Urban Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research and educational organization (originally chartered by President Johnson in 1968) released a new report this week that examines the pros and cons of using FEHB as a model of health care reform.

    From the summary of the rep... [Read More]
  48. Viewed 374 TimesIs FEHB A Good Model For Health Care Reform For All Americans?
  49. Viewed 376 TimesIs FEHB A Good Model For Health Care Reform For All Americans?
  50. Viewed 405 TimesIs FEHB A Good Model For Health Care Reform For All Americans?
  51. Viewed 381 TimesTest
  52. Viewed 1,108 TimesImportant Tax Information About Thrift Savings Plan Death Benefit Payments
    Contributions to the TSP are generally tax-deferred. This means the participant did not pay taxes on his or her own contributions, any agency contributions, or earnings. As a consequence, you will owe taxes when you receive a death benefit payment from a TSP account.

    The TSP reports all TSP distributions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and to you, on IRS Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.

    The TSP m... [Read More]
  53. Viewed 509 TimesImpact Of Your TSP Losses May Be Determined By Your Account Balance, Age, and Job Tenure
    The nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) this week published an analysis of the impact of the recent financial crisis on 401(k) retiirement savings programs (which are similar to the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees) account balances from Jan. 1, 2008, to Jan. 20, 2009, showing that participants' losses were largely determined by their account balance, age, and job tenure.

    The EBRI analysis, published in the February 2009 EBRI Issue Brief, used the EBRI/ICI 401(k)... [Read More]
  54. Viewed 465 TimesHow Will A "Public Option" Health Plan Affect Federal Employees And Retirees In FEHB?
    The House of Representatives is debating the elements of a bill this week (and hopes to pass it before the August Congressional recess) called the "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009." The bill would establish a "public option" health plan for Americans.

    The complicated, 1,018-page bill does not specifically identify how, if passed, the public option will affect federal employees and retirees who participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHB)... [Read More]
  55. Viewed 588 TimesHow Is Your CSRS Or FERS Annuity Calculated?
    Robert Benson

    Your annuity is what is known as a "defined benefit" annuity. This means it is based, essentially, on just two numbers: length of creditable service, and high-three average salary. (Contributions to the pension fund are not part of the equation.)

    Length of service. This is years and whole months, with each month being one-twelfth of a year. Service time is increased by sick leave, with each 174 hours equivalent to one month. For FERS employees the amount of sick lea... [Read More]
  56. Viewed 542 TimesHow Does The New Health Care Reform Law Affect FEHB Enrollees?
    March 24, 2010

    Since the health care reform legislation passed last weekend, many My Federal Retirement readers have emailed us asking how the new law will specifically affect those enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHB).

    Most of the questions have centered on how the new health care law will affect future premium rates for both active federal employees and retirees, as well as any tax implications it might have.

    While President Obama signed the bill into law Mond... [Read More]
  57. Viewed 420 TimesHouse Passes Bill To Protect Federal Retirees From The 2010 Medicare Premium Increase
    September 28, 2009

    Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Medicare Premium Fairness Act. ( H.R. 3631). The bill would protect all Medicare beneficiaries -- including federal civil service annuitants who are not eligible to receive Social Security -- from an increase in their Part B premium in 2010 when they are unlikely to receive any cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

    "This bill is about equity for all Medicare beneficiaries, because without it, federal, state and local go... [Read More]
  58. Viewed 423 TimesHouse Bill Introduced To Provide Some Retirees 2010 COLA Increase
    September 14, 2009

    Last week, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) introduced legislation that, if passed, ensures retirees will receive a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) in 2010.

    Under the current guidelines, social security recipients are not scheduled to receive any COLA next year. The Social Security COLA Fix for 2010 Act (H.R. 3536) will help seniors offset the rising costs that they face by providing them with a one-time $150 payment in lieu of the Social Security COLA.

    Social Security C... [Read More]
  59. Viewed 446 TimesHappy Tax Freedom Day: April 9, 2010
    April 9, 2010

    Tax Freedom Day will arrive on April 9 this year, the 99th day of 2010, according to the Tax Foundation's annual calculation using the latest government data on income and taxes.

    Americans will work well over three months of the year -- from January 1 to April 9 -- before they have earned enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels.

    This year's Tax Freedom Day is one day later than in 2009, but more than two weeks earlier than in... [Read More]
  60. Viewed 1,619 TimesGuide To Insurable Interest Survivor Benefits And Lump-Sum Payments -CSRS And FERS-
    Before retirement, a federal employee may elect a reduced annuity (CSRS or FERS, or both annuities in the case of a "trans" FERS employee) in order to provide an insurable interest benefit to a current or former spouse or to another person who depends on the employee for support.

    Recent My Federal Retirement columns discussed spousal survivor annuity benefits (CSRS and FERS). This column discusses survivor annuity benefits for someone other than a current spouse. The column will al... [Read More]
  61. Viewed 1,479 TimesGuide To FERS Spousal Survivor Benefits Upon The Death Of An Employee Or An Annuitant
    Spousal Survivor Benefits - Death of an Employee and the Basic Employee Death Benefit

    The basic employee death benefit (BEDB) is a benefit payable to the spouse of a deceased employee who met the following eligibility requirements at the time of his or her death: (1) completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service; and (2) died while subject to FERS deductions. In determining whether an employee completed 18 months of potentially creditable civilian service, the following types of... [Read More]
  62. Viewed 622 TimesGuide to Federal Retiree COLAs: What Are They And How Are They Calculated
    Each January, all Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) annuitants and Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) annuitants age 62 and older receive a cost of living adjustment or COLA.

    This article discusses federal retiree COLAs and how they are computed.

    Before discussing COLAs, it is important to define certain terms:

    - Base quarter. The calendar quarter ending September 30 for any given year

    - Consumer Price Index for Workers (CPI-W). The index published monthly by the Bureau... [Read More]
  63. Viewed 491 TimesGuide To Federal Employee Insurance Benefits
    August 4, 2009

    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has provided a "fast facts" guide to federal employee insurance benefits. While the guide is designed for newly hired or newly eligible federal employees, it does provide a useful snapshot for everyone of all insurance benefits available.

    The document provides basic information about:

    - Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program

    - Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)

    - Federal Fle... [Read More]
  64. Viewed 894 TimesGuide To Early-Out Retirement Offers For Federal And Postal Employees
    What is a Voluntary Early Out?

    Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) allows agencies that are undergoing substantial restructuring, reshaping, downsizing, transfer of function, or reorganization to temporarily lower the age and service requirements in order to increase the number of employees who are eligible for retirement. The authority encourages more voluntary separations and helps the agency complete the needed organizational change with minimal disruption to the work force. By off... [Read More]
  65. Viewed 2,328 TimesGuide To CSRS Offset Retirement Benefits And Rules
    Edward A. Zurndorfer, CFP

    Any individual who entered federal service as a full time (permanent) or as a part-time employee prior to Jan. 1, 1984 was placed in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). By law, federal employees covered by CSRS are excluded from Social Security coverage and do not pay Social Security (Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA) payroll taxes.

    Congress made several important changes to the Social Security laws in 1983. Among the changes starting in 1984 wa... [Read More]
  66. Viewed 635 TimesFREE TELESEMINAR: How Federal Employees Can Remain Confident In Times Of Economic Downturns
    Tuesday, May 12, 2009
    2 p.m. ET (approx. 30-45 minutes)

    Space is very limited. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

    Presented by:

    Chris Lennan, ProFeds

    Chris is a nationally recognized federal employee retirement benefits expert, and a frequent speaker and trainer for federal employee organizations and financial service firms. As the developer of dozens of highly-regarded retirement planing materials for federal employees since 2001, Chris has also analyzed the challenging retirement scenarios f... [Read More]
  67. Viewed 639 TimesFiling For Disability Retirement Benefits Under FERS & CSRS
    Robert R. McGill

    Hume's argument on causality is that there lacks a 'necessary connection' which results in absolute certainty between cause and effect. There is thus always the possibility, however minuscule, that no matter how many repetitions of an event are consistently observed, the very next event could result in an opposite or different effect. Such is the world we live in, where causality is no more viewed as a scientific certainty than the consistent application of a society's laws.... [Read More]
  68. Viewed 434 TimesFERS Sick Leave Credit And Other Perks Included In 2010 Defense Authorization Conference Committee
    FERS Sick Leave Credit And Other Perks Included In 2010 Defense Authorization Conference Committee

    By MyFederalRetirement
    Posted: 10-20-2009

    October 8, 2009

    House and Senate members of the 2010 Defense Authorization conference committee yesterday included several improvements to civil service retirement in the final legislation.

    The agreement -- which both the House and Senate must vote on before it becomes law -- offers the following for federal employees:

    - Phases in t... [Read More]
  69. Viewed 1,266 TimesFERS Refund Of Employee Retirement Contributions
    Edward A. Zurndorfer, CFP

    A previous My Federal Retirement column discussed what happens when a Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or CSRS-Offset employee requests and receives a refund of employee contributions to the CSRS upon the employee's departure from federal service. This column discusses what happens when an employee covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) receives a refund of the employee's contributions to the FERS when the employee leaves federal service.
    ... [Read More]
  70. Viewed 420 TimesFederal Retirees To Receive Stimulus Payments
    Working with key legislators last week, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) secured language in the House-Senate economic stimulus measure that would result in economic relief for federal retirees under both the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)

    The benefit for CSRS retirees will come in the form of a refundable tax credit of $250 for this year; FERS retir... [Read More]
  71. Viewed 595 TimesFederal Retirees To Pay FEHB Health Benefit Premiums With Pre-Tax Dollars - Senate Bill Proposes
    Last week, Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced "The Federal and Military Retiree Health Care Equity Act," to allow federal and military retirees to pay their premiums under the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHB) with pre-tax dollars.

    Since 2000, active federal employees have been afforded the opportunity, known as "premium conversion," to use pre-tax dollars to pay their premiums under the FEHBP. The benefit is also available to many private sector employees and... [Read More]
  72. Viewed 447 TimesFederal Pay And Benefits: Important Updates On Pending Legislation
    My Federal Retirement has received a flood of emails in the last week asking for updates on the current status on numerous pending bills in Congress affecting the pay and benefits of federal employees and annuitants, including:

    - 2010 pay raise

    - NSPS pay-for-performance status

    - FERS sick leave credit toward retirement

    - CSRS part-time work before retirement

    - Rehiring retired federal employees

    - Domestic partnership benefits

    Today, columnist, Alex M. Parker, pr... [Read More]
  73. Viewed 901 TimesFederal Employees Need to Be Careful in Contributing Their Salaries to the TSP
    Edward A. Zurndorfer, Certified Financial Planner

    Each year, most federal employees decide how much of their salaries they want to allocate to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

    Employees may contribute to the TSP directly (via payroll deduction) in one of two ways, namely:

    (1) "regular" contributions and

    (2) "catch up" contributions for those employees who will be at least age 50 by December 31. For the year 2010, every federal employee -- no matter which retirement... [Read More]
  74. Viewed 418 TimesFederal Employees Are Out-Saving Average Americans, Report Reveals
    December 1, 2009

    Federal employees have pulled ahead of the general population in personal savings, bumping up their monthly contributions at a time when other middle-class Americans have stumbled, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index.

    Results of the index's semi-annual federal employee survey indicate that these families dramatically improved their savings situation during the six-month period ending in September. Federal employees saw their average monthly contributio... [Read More]
  75. Viewed 693 TimesFederal Employees and Retirees: Be Careful When Claiming Dependents On Tax Returns
    Edward A. Zurndorfer, Certified Financial Planner

    As federal employees and retirees prepare to file their 2009 federal and state income tax returns, they should make sure that they can legitimately claim tax dependents. As is discussed below, the IRS is currently focusing in particular on dependents being claimed by more than one taxpayer.

    A dependency exemption can be claimed only by the person entitled to the exemption. A dependent such as a child cannot claim an exemption for himself or... [Read More]
  76. Viewed 510 TimesFederal Employees And Retirees Need To Check Federal Tax Withholding To Avoid Penalty Next Spring
    Edward A. Zurndorfer, CFP

    The Making Work Pay Credit (MWPC) was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) which was signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009. The maximum credit is $400 for single taxpayers and $800 for married taxpayers filing jointly. The credit will be available for 2009 and 2010.

    In many ways the MWPC is similar to the Economic Recovery Payment (ERP) which . was enacted in the Economic Stimulus Act for the 2008 tax year. Both the MWPC and the... [Read More]
  77. Viewed 1,191 TimesFederal Employee Student Loan Forgiveness Program
    Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director John Berry were scheduled to unveil a new student loan forgiveness opportunities for individuals who enter careers in public service and the non-profit sector including teachers, many health professionals, civil servants, and public interest attorneys.

    The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Option, which Congressman Sarbanes authored and became law in 2007, allows individuals who work in public service and make re... [Read More]
  78. Viewed 503 TimesFederal Employee Salaries Continue To Be A Hot Topic Of Debate
    March 8, 2010

    As federal deficit spending increases, and the general unemployment rate is at 9.7 percent, the comparisons of pay for federal employees versus workers in the private sector continue to be a focus of heated debate.

    An article last Friday in USA Today reported, "overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same... [Read More]
  79. Viewed 2,457 TimesFederal Disability Retirement Benefits For FERS & CSRS Employees
    by Robert R. McGill, Esquire
    Printer-Friendly Format

    Is it an accident that so many federal and postal employees are unaware of the benefit of "disability retirement" for FERS and CSRS employees? Is it a deliberate "conspiracy of silence" -- a benefit which exists but is not trumpeted by the federal government for fear of the floodgates of applications being opened?

    More likely than not, there is another explanation: the new federal employee is neither concerned nor in... [Read More]
  80. Viewed 446 TimesFAQs: Premium Hikes, Benefit Options In New Long-Term Care Contract For Federal Employees
    Earlier this month, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) signed a contract with John Hancock Life and Health Insurance Company to provide insurance for the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program's (FLTCIP) second 7-year contract term.

    The FLTCIP official website has provided some frequently asked questions about the program.

    Some of the most notable changes to the benefits and premiums are:

    OPM anticipates the new benefit options will be available for new applicants approved for... [Read More]
  81. Viewed 476 TimesEligibility Details For Benefits And Leave For Same-Sex Domestic Partners Of Federal Employees
    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a notice to share available information for federal employees regarding same-sex domestic partners' eligibility for benefits and leave.


    OPM stated they are working on regulations to add same-sex domestic partners of federal and U.S. Postal Service employees and annuitants as qualified relatives eligible to apply for coverage under the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). Until the regulations are effective, same-sex domes... [Read More]
  82. Viewed 388 TimesDomestic Partners Benefits For Federal Employees Proposed
    Bipartisan members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last week introduced legislation to give the domestic partners of federal employees the same benefits --- and require of them the same obligations --- as the spouses of federal employees.

    "This bill would bring equality to the domestic partners of federal employees," Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn. said. "It will also help the government attract, recruit, and retain the best and the bright... [Read More]
  83. Viewed 424 TimesDomestic Partner Benefits Clears Senate Committee
    December 17, 2009

    The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday approved a measure that would provide domestic partner benefits to federal employees by a bipartisan 8-1 vote.

    Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., are original cosponsors of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009 bill.

    The measure would provide the same employment benefits to federal employees in same-sex domestic partnershi... [Read More]
  84. Viewed 596 TimesDisability Income: The Forgotten Employee Benefit
    by Bob Hill

    When thinking about federal employee benefits, TSP and FEHB come to mind. But, how often do you think about your disability retirement benefit? Most feds don't, and that is why I refer to it as the forgotten employee benefit.

    Federal employees unable to work due to injury or illness may be eligible for disability retirement. Both CSRS and FERS employees are eligible for disability benefits, but they are computed differently, partly because CSRS feds do not contribute to Social... [Read More]
  85. Viewed 488 TimesDependents Of Federal Employees And Retirees May Be Subject To The "Kiddie" Tax
    Edward A. Zurndorfer, Certified Financial Planner

    The "kiddie" tax has been part of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) since 1986. In recent years Congress has increased the number of individuals subject to the kiddie tax rules in order to balance several tax decreases.

    The kiddie tax rules are applied to individuals who are claimed as dependents --- usually children.

    But the kiddie tax rules do not apply if:

    ? a dependent child is not required to file a tax return; that is, i... [Read More]
  86. Viewed 385 TimesDeferred Annuities Would Be Indexed To Inflation Under Proposed Bill
    March 28, 2010

    Congressman James Moran (D-VA) introduced legislation on Thursday that would require deferred annuities for departing federal employees be indexed to inflation.

    "At a time when the federal government needs to recruit the best and brightest into service, H.R. 4979 is an important recruitment tool," said Margaret Baptiste, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) "With indexation of deferred annuities, young workers join... [Read More]
  87. Viewed 1,134 TimesCSRS Refund Of Employee Retirement Contributions
    Edward A. Zurndorfer, CFP

    This column will discuss the payment of employee contributions to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) when the employee leaves federal service before he or she is able to retire.

    The column will explain: (1) the concept of the lump sum credit; (2) the content of a refund; (3) the requirement that an employee must meet to be eligible for a refund; (4) the effect of spousal/former spouse notification requirements on the payment of a refund; (5) the effect of... [Read More]
  88. Viewed 924 TimesCSRS / FERS Benefits Calculator And Retirement Planner
    Decision Support Software announced today it is offering special discounts for its 10th Anniversary Edition of the CSRS and FERS Benefits Calculator and Retirement Planner version 9.

    The discounts are available through July 31, 2009 for both Personal PLUS and Professional editions.

    The program is available as a download and includes more than 80 integrated calculators. There is also a free version providing a 50+ page retirement analysis report on-screen.

    The calculator has been used by... [Read More]
  89. Viewed 544 TimesCostly Mistakes In The Thrift Savings Plan And How You Can Avoid Them
    Please join us for this free teleseminar!

    Thursday, June 11, 2009
    2 p.m. ET (approx. 30 minutes)
    Click here to register now

    Presented by:

    Chris Lennan, ProFeds

    Who is this for?

    Any active federal or postal employee who is concerned about retirement planning.

    What you will learn:

    In this teleseminar session, Chris Lennan will uncover several critical mistakes you can make in the Thrift Savings Plan -- and the strategies you can put in place to avoid them.

    Key take-away... [Read More]
  90. Viewed 589 TimesCheckbook Guide To Health Plans For Federal Employees And Annuitants
    The 30th edition of Consumer's Checkbook Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees and Annuitants rates all of almost 300 health insurance plan available to federal employees and retirees, including a dozen national plans, over 250 health maintenance organization (HMO) options, and dozens of high deductible plan options.

    The guide informs how much money they can potentially save by changing -- or by staying in -- their health insurance plan. It summarizes thousands of facts about the plans... [Read More]
  91. Viewed 581 TimesCan You Really Afford Your Federal Retirement?
    The CSRS and FERS Benefits Calculator and Retirement Planner software program has been used by tens of thousands federal employees, since 1999, to thoroughly investigate the affordability of federal retirement.

    The Personal FREE Edition is available to all federal employees, and it includes (in part) these features:
    80+ Integrated Benefits and Retirement Planning Calculators,
    50+ Report Pages with color graphs,
    145+ page Users Manual with detailed Federal Benefits References,
    It is a comp... [Read More]
  92. Viewed 556 TimesBig Increase In Repayment Of Student Loans For Federal Employees
    Federal agencies paid more than $51 million in student loan repayment benefits last year, according to a report released by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The payments came from 35 federal agencies and went to 6,879 federal employees.

    According to OPM, this represents a 4 percent increase in the number of employees receiving student loan repayment benefits in the prior year, and a 22 percent increase in agencies' overall financial investment in this incentive.

    Nearly half of the... [Read More]
  93. Viewed 871 TimesBest Dates to Retire - CSRS / FERS: 2011, 2012 and 2013
    A previous column discussed the best dates for CSRS and FERS employees to retire during 2009 and 2010. This column discusses the best dates to retire during 2011, 2012 and 2013.

    One aspect of choosing a retirement date that every employee should be aware of: Assuming they have fulfilled minimum age and service requirements, every federal employee -- no matter which retirement system he or she is covered by -- is eligible to retire on any day of the month he or she wants to. "Any day"... [Read More]
  94. Viewed 438 TimesAre You Saving Enough to Retire?
    Are you living a healthy financial life? Are you on track to saving enough for your retirement?

    In the video below from, financial expert Charlie Farrell explains the capital-to-income ratio -- which is the ratio of your income compared to the financial assets you should have (such as those in your Thrift Savings Plan) based on your age.

    To read Farrell's full article on Are You Saving Enough to Retire? (including the video).

    Posted with Permission from: MyFederalRetirem... [Read More]
  95. Viewed 548 TimesAre TSP Losses Tax Deductible?
    Many My Federal Retirement readers have been contacting us with concerns of losses in their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) balances in light of the falling stock market.

    This week we wanted to address one of the more common questions we've received.

    Question: In about 5 years, I will retire and will be withdrawing from my TSP balance. In the last year my balance has declined significantly due to the stock market declines. I know that money was tax free when it went in, but when I take the money... [Read More]
  96. Viewed 449 Times8 Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer
    The IRS urges people to use care and caution when choosing a tax preparer. Remember, you are legally responsible for what's on your tax return even if it was prepared by an another individual or firm.

    Most tax return preparers are professional, honest and provide excellent service to their clients. However, unscrupulous tax return preparers do exist and can cause considerable financial and legal problems for their clients. Therefore, it's important to find a qualified tax professional.

    ... [Read More]
  97. Viewed 1,168 Times3 Important Tax Considerations Regarding Payments From Your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Account
    Before you decide on how you will receive the money in your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account, you should review these three important tax considerations. Understanding the tax treatment of TSP payments can help you avoid costly surprises.

    [Editor's note: to access resources and forms mentioned in this article, please refer to the "Resources" section at the end of the article.]

    1. Federal Income Tax Withholding

    Your contributions to the TSP were tax-deferred. This means you ha... [Read More]
  98. Viewed 467 Times25% Premium Hike In Long-Term Care Insurance Angers Federal Employees- Puts Pressure On OPM
    September 16, 2009

    Last May, when the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) signed a second 7-year contract with John Hancock Life and Health Insurance Company to provide insurance for the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program's (FLTCIP), it also announced changes to the benefits and premiums.

    Upsetting to thousands of federal employees enrolled in FLTCIP was a premium increase of up to 25 percent -- specifically for those enrollees with the "automatic compound inflation" optio... [Read More]
  99. Viewed 457 Times2010 Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Contribution Limit
    October 15, 2009

    The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost-of-living adjustments which determine the 2010 Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contribution limits.

    The TSP maximum contribution limit will remain unchanged for 2010 at $16,500. Also, the 2010 TSP Catch-Up maximum contribution limit will remain at $5,500.

    According to the IRS, the limitations that are adjusted by reference to Section 415(d) will remain unchanged for 2010 because the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended S... [Read More]
  100. Viewed 443 Times2010 Federal Pay Raise - House Passes 2% Increase
    UPDATE (July 17, 2009): The House passed legislation on July 16 that includes a 2 percent pay raise for federal employees.

    Last week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved a different increase for the 2010 federal pay raise for civilian employees -- both much lower than the pay raise in 2009 of 3.9 percent.

    The House committee approved a 2 percent hike (coinciding with President Obama's recommendation earlier this year), while the Senate committee passed a 2.9 percent inc... [Read More]
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