Hello My Fellow Retired Brothers and Sisters,
Let me say Congratulations to our Newly Installed National Business Agent Javier Bernal!! It was an honor to be able to attend your and our other NALC Officers Installation.
I hope y’all had a Happy Thanksgiving and I want to wish y’all a Merry Christmas filled with Family, Friends and Wonderful Memories! Have a Safe and Happy New Year also.
Since Open Season just closed, I want y’all to know you only make changes to your health plan or cancel coverage in connection with certain events called Qualifying Life Events (QLEs). The major QLEs that permit change in enrollment are:
•Birth or Adoption of a Child
•Acquisition of a Foster Child
Acceptable documentation is required for QLEs. These documents include but are not limited to divorce decree, birth certificate, death certificate and marriage certificate. OPM must receive your QLE request and supporting documentation, including the event date, within 60 days of the QLE date. You may also contact OPM at 1-888-767-6738 if you need additional information.
Additionally, as a Retiree you can decrease your enrollment from Self and Family to Self Plus One at any time, not just during Open Season! You must contact OPM to make changes to your insurance.
Please note, Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and eligible Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Retirees and Survivors will be receiving a Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) effective December 1, 2018 and will be in your January 2, 2019 payment. CSRS recipients will receive a 2.8% COLA, and eligible FERS recipients will receive a 2.0% COLA.
Additionally, Social Security recipients will get a 2.8 percent (COLA) in monthly benefits beginning in January. The average individual retired Social Security beneficiary is expected to see a monthly benefit jump from $1,422 to $1,461. The estimated monthly increase is $39, or $468 a year.
If you are working and collecting Social Security and between ages 62 and 66 or 67 (your full retirement age), you may now earn up to $17,640 before the Social Security Administration will deduct $1 for every $2 you earn. In the year you turn your full retirement age, the earnings limit will be $46,920 before the agency will deduct $1 for every $3 you earn until the month you reach full retirement age. (For those born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66. It increases by two months for each year after until 67.)
According to the CDC, people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults. This is because human immune defenses become weaker with age. While flu seasons can vary in severity during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease. In recent years, it’s estimated that between 70 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older and between 54 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in that age group. As you can see, influenza is often quite serious for people 65 and older. The CDC recommends that the best way to protect against flu and potentially serious complications is for everyone six months of age and older to get a seasonal flu vaccine each year by the end of October. However, even if you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, it’s not too late. All FEHB plans cover flu shots from an in-network provider at no cost.
As always, I am here to help y’all with whatever I can. If you need to contact me, you can call my cell 281-546-7176, which I forward to our landline at home, since we don’t have cell service at home
Elisabeth Goodwin, your Director of Retirees