Feds at DEFCON-2! Are you having fun yet?

More is often better, unless it is ants at a picnic, the size of your waistline or — for feds in the year 2013 — the increasing number of threats to their pay and benefits.

According to benefits expert John Grobe, things have rarely been worse for members of the federal family. The white-collar federal pay freeze is in its third year. The White House and GOP-led House of Representatives are seeing eye-to-eye on a number of changes in the federal benefits package that, if they become law, could cost you big bucks in the future.

As always the plan to change the retirement formula is out there. Under the proposal, which is rediscovered and resurrected every few years, future benefits would be based on length-of-service and the employees’ highest five-year average salary. Currently the high-three formula is used. So, what would the change, if it happens, mean to you?

  • Will the federal pay freeze be extended another year, or two? Grobe says the odds are good it could happen.
  • Will feds be forced to pay more for their retirement benefits and health insurance?
  • And what about the “kiss of death trifecta” Grobe warns about? It involves higher retirement contributions for FERS and CSRS-Offset employees, a possible voucher system for your health program and adoption of a new system to measure inflation. The first two could increase costs to workers and retirees. The latter, moving to the so-called chained CPI, would reduce future cost-of- living adjustments for federal and military retirees and people who get Social Security benefits.

Today at 10 a.m. on Your Turn, John Grobe will explain each of the threats to federal benefits, tell what they would mean to your pay or pension check and assess the odds.

Also on the show today, Federal Times Editor Steve Watkins and senior writer Steve Losey will talk about the shrinking federal workforce, OPM’s buyouts and its impact on efforts to reduce the backlog in processing retirement claims.

Listen if you can (1500 AM or online), and if you have questions email them to me at mcausey@federalnewsradio.com or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here.


Compiled by Jack Moore

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