From the Jackson County chapter to the Mobile chapter, 15 chapters of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) from across the state of Alabama met for the state conference in Birmingham last month.

Members Betty Moore and June Pockrus represented the Jackson County chapter, while Billy Moore also attended.

“Federal retirees have lost no benefits for the past nine years,” said Jessica Klement, NARFE HQ Advocacy vice president in Alexandria, Virginia.

Klement said some of the issues Congress is currently reviewing, however, includes decreasing cost of living adjustments, increasing Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) employees’ contribution to retirement by six person, eliminating FERS annuity supplement, changing the basis for payment of retirement annuity from the highest-paid three years to high five years, reducing interest rate in the Thrift Savings Plan G fund, reducing total paid time off and federal pay freeze.

FERS is a retirement plan that provides benefits from three different sources: a Basic Benefit Plan, Social Security and the Thrift Saving Plan.

“We still have about 150,000 employees working under the old Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS),” said Klement.

Medicare Part B premiums should not differ based on whether they are paid from a Social Security check, a federal or state government pension or a personal check, said Klement.

“While Medicare premium increases for many are limited to their Social Security cost of living, increases are not limited for others, like federal retirees who are also forced to pick up the tab,” said Klement.

Employees of the government or the private sector hope that upon retirement, they can depend on a stable retirement income. It is true that government workers have good benefits, especially outstanding insurance benefits; however, it is also true that this is the first place Congress reviews for cuts when the needs for cuts arise.

Needless to say, whether they have been no lost benefits for retirees in the past nine years, this is extremely disconcerting for government workers and retirees who must stay alert to the possible benefit cut by Congress.

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