SPOKANE CHAPTER 32 NEWSLETTER
Published Monthly except July and August
22 – 04 Advocates for Current and Former Federal Employees April 2022
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Scott Robinson
One of our members, Dwaine, called me about a month ago about seeking help with the Office of Personnel Management. He previously mailed his wife’s death certificate to OPM so that her name would be removed from his benefits account. He has had no response from OPM during the two months that have since passed and feared that OPM never received his mail.
The IRS, for example, has a link on their webpage to inform their processing of your tax refund status. State has a similar link to inform their processing of your application status for a passport. However, I am unaware of OPM having any such link of information on its webpage.
My only suggestion to Dwaine and others like him is (1) request the Postal Service for a return receipt anytime you mail anything to any government agency, and (2) have a boat load of patience for the agency to respond to your request. The first action won’t inform you of the agency’s progress, but it will tell you when it received your request. Regarding the second action, I’m confident the federal employees are doing their best to serve us during the current times we are experiencing.
After all, didn’t we retirees do our best to serve the public when we were active employees? I called Dwaine as I write this article and he still has not learned anything from OPM.
Spokane Chapter’s board recently decided our monthly member meetings will return in-person at Darcy’s Restaurant in the Spokane Valley. We believe the risk of disease spread has been greatly diminished. Our next meeting will be Monday, April 11 at 11:30. I hope to see you there.
Please call me at 208-661-7695 or email me at email@example.com if you have any questions regarding Spokane Chapter 32.
LEGISLATION Roger Bosky
NARFE LEGISLATION 04/22
Of the many legislative issues that NARFE is advocating on our behalf, there are three that I would like to discuss:
1.POSTAL REFORM HR 3076 This legislation allows the Postal Service to maintain a high level of service while eliminating the onerous requirement to prepay future retiree health benefits. It also requires greater accountability by publishing performance measures. Of great importance to us, in part because of NARFE advocacy, it requires greater coordination with Medicare and prevents unintended increases in FEHBP premiums. The legislation is now on the President’s desk.
2.THE GOVERNMENT PENSION OFFSET AND WINDFALL ELIMINATION PROVISION HR 82 Currently, workers who have worked in both a job covered by Social Security and a government job not covered by Social Security may have their earned Social Security benefits reduced upon retirement. This bill would eliminate this unfair discrimination. The bill keeps gaining co-sponsors, who now number 267. We can be appreciative that our own Representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers has signed on to this legislation for the first time. Thank you Representative McMorris Rodgers.
3.THE FAIR ACT HR 6398. This legislation proposes a 5.1% pay increase for Federal employees in 2023. However, the President’s budget proposal for 2023 proposes a 4.6% increase. These raises do not keep up with inflation and will hardly attract the type of employees needed in our government.
ALZHEIMER’S Pat Hegerberg
From Medscape Medical News 3/23/2022
As the controversial Alzheimer's disease (AD) drug aducanumab (Aduhelm) begins its integration into clinical practice, some physicians are concerned the drug's prescribing label does not include adequate brain imaging recommendations (MRI’s) to detect amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA).
ARIA is the most common risk associated with aducanumab and has two types: ARIA-E (with edema) and ARIA-H (with hemosiderin). These can co-occur, particularly in brain areas of high amyloid burden.
(Edema=swelling and hemosiderin = iron storage in body tissue)
ARIA is often detected incidentally via MRI. Patients are usually asymptomatic, but when they do have symptoms, headache, dizziness, and vision changes are the most common complaints.
Specifically, the drug's label calls for three MRI brain scans before, and during, the titration period. The problem is the trial data used for the drug's approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) included five MRIs to screen for ARIA. (Titration period is the period in which a new medication or change in meds is being adjusted to reach maximum benefit without causing intolerable side effects)
PAST VICE PRESIDENT Arlene Patton
NARFE Region IX Vice President
Linda Silverio has announced that she will be moving to Iowa and not eligible to represent our NARFE Region IX as Vice President when her term is up. She will be missed as she has done a great job. Members interested to serving in that important leadership should submit their application ASAP. Our current Washington State Federation President Steven Roy’s name will appear on the ballot. Steven has done a great job leading the WSF and would be truly missed, should he be elected. Not sure if others in Region IX might submit their applications. I will keep you informed if I hear of others.
March 1950 Chapter 32 was organized. The oldest Chapter in the state of Washington celebrates it’s 72nd anniversary. A special thanks to all those that have served in leadership position and the many that support Chapter 32
PROGRAM Chris Smith and Joanne Welch
Beverly Tryk of People’s Memorial Association joined us in March via Zoom. A non-profit for all of Washington, PMA was established in 1939 as a response to high prices and unsavory sales practices of the funeral industry. The organization is all about education and advocacy in funeral choice and price transparency as well as cultural rights. Membership is a one-time $50 and allows for price savings with contracted funeral businesses, including cremation, burial, urns, tombstones, pet funerals, and more. Beverly mentioned sharing funeral plans with others in writing and filling out a Disposition Authorization Form (it’s available for download on the website).
Over 80% of people in Washington choose cremation; prices average $1600. Ashes can be scattered in navigable waterways.
Other options include alkaline hydrolysis which uses water and salt rather than fire to break down the body, the same process used by medical schools like the Mayo Clinic and UCLA. It runs about $1500 and returns ashes like cremation.
People may also choose bio-composting like that used at WSU and the Western Carolina University Forensic Anthropology Department. About 3 cubic feet of soil are returned to the family or donated to the Washington Land Trust. The cost is between $5,000 - $7,000.
Traditional burial costs average about $2,900 plus $2,000 for cemetery fees. Restrictions apply in cemeteries since the plot is only leased.
Green burial (without embalming) involves a biodegradable container rather than a casket. There are six cemeteries in Washington that provide this service. Remember to budget for transportation.
You can also donate your body to a medical or mortuary school.
Beverly recommended treating shopping for funerals/burials just as you would for any other major purchase. PMA provides a bi-ennial price list for funeral homes; Beverly also reminded members that Costco and Amazon carry caskets and urns at reasonable prices. She indicated she is leaving a “love letter” to all her friends and family, a wonderful addition to any ceremony. PMA’s website is peoplesmemorial.org for more information.
April’s meeting features Vicky Dalton, Spokane County Auditor, and Mike McLaughlin, Elections Manager, who will be talking to us about the integrity and security of Spokane’s elections. In view of the publicity on restrictions to voting in other states, they will be addressing protections in place here in Washington balanced against access to voting. They will also talk about Washington’s voting by mail which has been a model for other locations for many years. Although we will be meeting back in person at Darcy’s, due to Vicky and Mike’s busy schedule, they requested to use Zoom.
NARFE is more than just a great magazine. Let them know!
Promote NARFE anytime you can. The more members we have the more power to protect our benefits and retirement!
NARFE = YOUR BEST BET FOR THE FUTURE!
SUNSHINE Susan Harvey
The Chapter is sending birthday and anniversary wishes to all who celebrate in April 2022.
REMINDER, spouses can be members on their own OR can take over the membership of a deceased member. If you are interested in continuing this very valuable membership, please contact Scott Robinson. He is currently recruiting for a Membership Chair. If you are interested, please contact him.
If you become aware of good news, illnesses, surgeries, or a death of a member or family member, please contact me at 509-953-6828.
Chapter Member, Constance Behrman, recently passed. National Member, Dailord LaCombe, recently lost his wife, Sylva. Condolences have been expressed.
NARFE-PAC MaryAnn Bosky
You can contribute to NARFE-PAC contribution form in the NARFE magazine or by sending a check, made out to NARFE-PAC to our post office box. The address is: NARFE, PO Box 4592, Spokane, WA 99220.
DATE FOR YOUR CALENDAR
APRIL CHAPTER MEETING (ZOOM CONNECTION)
MONDAY APRI. 11, 2022- 11:30 AM
To Join the Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 839 6653 2738
One tap mobile
+12532158782,,83966532738#,,,,*230631# US (Tacoma)
SERVICE & OUTREACH Kathy Brooks
We are holding our plans for the 2022 Pre-Retirement Seminar for a few months. The class will depend on the pandemic schedule. Keep checking in with us, for the schedule.
The Chapter is looking for a Membership Chair. If you are interested, please contact any of the Officers or Directors. Come be a part of a great group of people fighting for your benefits.
Spokane Washington Chapter 32
PO Box 4592
Spokane, WA 99220
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association 32
NARFE on the Web: National: www.narfe.org WSF: www.narfewa.org Spokane: www.narfespokane.org