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1:49 am, July 30, 2014

Pay and Benefits News

VA benefits set to slightly increase in 2014

When veterans and their families, who receive disability compensation and retirement benefits from the Veterans Affairs Department, receive their annual cost-of-living increase next month, for the first time ever, it won't be rounded down to the nearest dollar. Overall, the COLA for veterans benefits will increase 1.5 percent. Until this year, the COLA for veterans' benefits was rounded down to the nearest dollar. That will change with payments beginning in January.

Wednesday - 12/04/2013, 11:41am EST

Are you perfect in every way? If so, skip this...

If you live a perfect lifestyle and your parents and grandparents celebrated their 85th anniversary in the Bridal Suite of your local Motel 6, you can skip today's column, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says. Otherwise, listen up.

Wednesday - 12/04/2013, 02:00am EST

New bill aims to cancel sequestration for DoD at cost to feds' pay and benefits

Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) introduced a bill Tuesday to cancel sequestration for the Defense Department for two years. The bill would offset this change by using a chained CPI to calculate COLAs for federal retirement programs along with other entitlement reforms.

Tuesday - 12/03/2013, 04:32pm EST

January pay raise - not for everybody

The 2014 white-collar pay raise is not for everybody. Feds at the top of their grades in some cities won't be getting anything at all, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Tuesday - 12/03/2013, 02:00am EST

Open season with Walton Francis

Insurance expert and author Walton Francis will answer your calls and emails about open season. (This show originally aired Nov. 11)
December 2, 2013

Monday - 12/02/2013, 12:00pm EST
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Most TSP funds hold steady in November, though gains slow

Nearly all the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan ended last month in positive territory, although with smaller gains than in the past few months. The C Fund, which is tracked to the performance of the Standard and Poor's 500, posted the largest gains 3.05 percent, according to new data from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees the TSP. Of the five regular funds, only the F Fund posted in the red for November

Monday - 12/02/2013, 11:14am EST

Why increasing feds' retirement contributions may not help cut the deficit

Requiring federal employees to contribute more of their salary toward retirement is rumored to be among the proposals being considered by the House-Senate budget conference committee as an partial alternative to the sequestration budget cuts. The proposal, which the Congressional Budget Office has concluded would increase federal revenues by nearly $20 billion over 10 years, has criticism from federal-employee unions. But now, at least one think tank, known for its hawkish stance on reducing the deficit, says the proposal could end up not saving the government a dime.

Monday - 12/02/2013, 06:00am EST

Will budget committee target feds' retirement contributions?

Even as mystery surrounds the work of the House-Senate budget committee negotiating over fiscal 2014 funding levels and possible alternatives to devastating across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, there's consensus emerging about some of the potential bargaining chips the committee is likely to use. That includes requiring federal workers to contribute more of their salaries toward their pensions.

Monday - 12/02/2013, 06:00am EST

Plan B: You need 4 of them when shopping for insurance

In most serious situations, it's good to have a fallback Plan B. When shopping for health insurance you need four of them, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Monday - 12/02/2013, 02:00am EST

FEHBP, Medicare & the retiree blues

If you are like many federal workers -- and most retirees -- you won't do anything during the health-insurance Open Season, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says. And that could be a very costly mistake, especially for workers and particularly retirees in the most popular plans: Blue Cross Standard option and Blue Cross Basic. Both are excellent but one costs nearly twice as much as the other.

Friday - 11/29/2013, 02:00am EST

Deadline to schedule 'use it or lose it' annual leave is Nov. 30

Federal employees wanting to schedule "use it or lose it" annual leave only have a few days left before their excess vacation days are forfeited. The deadline to schedule excess annual leave is this Saturday, Nov. 30, Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta reiterated in a Nov. 26 memo to agency chief human capital officers. The leave must be used by Jan. 11, the end of the leave year.

Wednesday - 11/27/2013, 01:43pm EST

Sorry, your retirement date is extended 5 years!

Suppose Congress passed a law requiring you to work an extra five years? You'd be furious, right? Suppose, because you are just plain cheap, you forced yourself to work an extra five years? Guess what? It happens every day, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Wednesday - 11/27/2013, 02:00am EST

Mass-transit subsidy, once again, set to decline

If Congress fails to act by the end of the year, a tax subsidy for commuters who use mass transit is set to drop from a maximum of $245 a month to $130. At the same time, fringe benefits for parking are set to rise to $250 a month starting in January. Two stand-alone measures in the House and Senate would restore parity between the parking and mass-transit subsidies

Tuesday - 11/26/2013, 01:23pm EST

His and her health plans? Not so fast...

Should you and your significant other be in the same federal family health plan? Or should you each enroll in self-only plans? Think about it, because the health insurance hunting season closes Dec. 9, and picking the wrong plan could cost you big-time, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Tuesday - 11/26/2013, 02:00am EST

Open Season with SAMBA and Long Term Care Partners

SAMBA Executive Director Walt Wilson and Deputy Director Pam Cummings, as well as Joan Melanson from Long Term Care Partners, talk about your Open Season options.
November 25, 2013

Monday - 11/25/2013, 05:09pm EST
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Feds who took TSP withdrawals during shutdown locked out of contributing for next six months

During the 16-day government shutdown last month, more than 14,000 Thrift Savings Plan participants withdrew money from their accounts, the highest number of hardship withdrawals in a single month ever. This may have helped participants weather the financial uncertainty of the shutdown. But, under TSP rules, it also means they'll be unable to contribute to their 401(k)-style retirement accounts for the next six months. Now, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which oversees the TSP, is concerned that not all those participants will take the initiative to restart their contributions when the penalty period expires next spring.

Monday - 11/25/2013, 03:26pm EST

Sex ed and buyout information

What do government buyouts have in common with sex education back in the day? The short answer is that you couldn't get much birds-and-bees info then and you can't get much new information on buyouts now, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says.

Monday - 11/25/2013, 02:00am EST

Bill calls for 'socially responsible' TSP fund

A new bill would allow federal employees to contribute toward their retirement by investing only in companies deemed socially responsible. The "Federal Employees Responsible Investment Act," introduced this week by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would require the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to add a "Corporate Responsibility Index" to the existing five investment options available to federal employees.

Friday - 11/22/2013, 05:14pm EST

Bill would ensure blue-collar feds get 1 percent pay raise in January

A new bill introduced this week by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) would ensure blue-collar federal employees receive the same scheduled pay increase in January as General Schedule employees. White-collar GS employees are due to get a 1 percent pay raise in January, under a plan announced in August by President Barack Obama, who has authority to set GS pay levels. However, pay raises for wage-grade or hourly employees require separate legislation. With no action by Congress, pay for these employees would remain flat.

Friday - 11/22/2013, 11:11am EST

Feds shopping online on the job

Millions of federal workers are shopping online while they are at work. But don't get mad or hang your head in shame, Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says. This is a good thing that could save everybody -- especially the taxpayers -- a lot of money.

Friday - 11/22/2013, 02:00am EST
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