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February 2020

SPOKANE CHAPTER 32 NEWSLETTER

Published Monthly except July and August

www.narfespokane.org

20 - 02 Advocates for Current and Former Federal Employees February 2020

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Scott Robinson


Are you tired of the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) not keeping pace with the increased costs you’re experiencing? Visit NARFE’s Legislative Action Center to send a message to Representative Cathy McMorris-Rogers urging her to support the Fair COLA for Seniors Act, H.R. 1553. This bill would replace the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) with the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) to ensure more accurate annual COLAs for seniors. Our Spokane Chapter is 395 members strong with an additional 202 national members in our local area. Our voices count on matters relating to our federal benefits.

Registration opens February 3 for FEDCON 2020 in Scottsdale, AZ. Attendees will experience two-and-a-half days of thought-provoking speakers, leadership training, intensive education on federal benefits, and opportunities to connect with fellow NARFE members and federal colleagues. For more details on FEDcon20, visit NARFE.org/Fedcon20.

Tami and I attended last month’s NARFE’s local Chapter 91 in Corpus Christi, TX. Twenty-four people attended their meeting, which is similar to our chapter’s attendance. Unlike us, they do not share a meal together, which I truly enjoy. Their invited speaker was from The Good Feet Store, which is also located in Spokane Valley. I continue to appreciate VP Arlene filling in for me during my absence.

PROGRAM Louise Soles


Due to inclement weather and dangerous road conditions, we had to cancel our January meeting and reschedule our speaker, Rev. Ian Robertson. The good news is that Rev Robertson has graciously agreed to reschedule his presentation for the March meeting.


On February 10th, our speaker will be Candice Correia an Assistant Professor at Whitworth University. Her expertise is in the area of taxation. Besides teaching she still performs compliance and consulting work for businesses in a variety of industries. She has a wide range of experience in the accounting and legal fields, working in the private sector with BDO USA, LLP accounting firm and as a Judicial Attorney for Kootenai County. Professor Correia has her Juris Doctorate and Masters in Taxation degrees from Gonzaga University. Those tax forms are starting to come in and it's time to get focused on this yearly task. Come learn what's new and what might make a difference for you.


As stated, Rev. Ian Robertson is on the agenda for March 9th. Rev. Robertson has started a new organization where he continues ministry work. He is one of the original organizers of The Hub in Liberty Lake. He initiated a plan to build "tiny houses" for the homeless. And now he is focusing on a program in Colville WA. The issue of homelessness was given a lot of attention recently during recent Spokane elections. Ian will explain his vision for helping to abate this social challenge.

LEGISLATION Roger Bosky


THE CALM IN THE STORM

Recently, our country narrowly averted a war with Iran; the impeached president is on trial; Congress is divided into inaction and the civil service is under attack. But our benefits have survived the storm.


Last month the President signed spending bills to keep the government operating through FY 2020. There were increases for both the defense and non-defense sectors. Federal employees gained a provision for paid family leave as well as an average 3.1% increase in pay. Retirees had to settle for a 1.6% cost of living (COLA) increase.


This year the way the government computes our COLA’s will be a focus for NARFE . Right now, the COLA is computed using the CPI-W, which does not take into account medical expenses among other shortcomings. There is much talk about using the so-called chained CPI. But the chained CPI is worse than the CPI-W because it doesn’t include medical costs and assumes that if an item, we purchase get more expensive e.g. if coffee is high, we’ll start drinking tea. NARFE is fighting to use the CPI-E, which includes medical costs and other items that are needed by older people.

Let’s do what we can to ensure that we get the recognition and security we need in our retirement.

NOTICE: Washington State Federation has a new website. The address is www.narfewa.org.

MEMBERSHIP Sandy Cook


Did you know that you retirees can sign up for membership dues to be pulled out of your retirement by OPM so that you never have to think about it again? I like this idea. I get many calls from members that want to know when their dues is due. They would never have to worry about this. Just sign up and 1/12th of your yearly dues will be sent to NARFE until you decide to change it.


To apply for dues withholding:

Your authorization may be sent to your chapter or directly to National Headquarters. National Headquarters requires your authorization at least 60 days prior to your expiration date to allow adequate time for processing.

You will need:

• Civil Service Annuity (CSA or CSF) number.

• Social Security number.

• Date of birth, and

• NARFE membership number, if you are already a member.


Once the application process is completed, you will receive a special membership card distinguishing you as a Dues Withholding member.

If you require more information, contact NARFE National Headquarters at 800-456-8410, or by mail, or contact me at 509 994-7004 and I will send you the form.