Monthly e-News

Approaching Retirement Also Means Saying “Goodbye”

By: Mike Townshend

Published: November 2020

 

Why does this matter?

About 30 years ago, I was working for one of the Intelligence Agencies as a full-time contractor. I worked in their Headquarters Building near D.C.

 

After several years as a Senior Professional, and on a Monday morning, I arrived a bit early. So, I stopped at the Coffee Room to take a hot cup to my office and warm up to my day. As I walked down the hall to my office, I passed the office of one of the most senior Agency managers who I thought I knew well. I was alarmed to see his office barren without a hint of the volume of papers I had seen while in a meeting the previous Friday afternoon.

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Understanding Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Published:  November 2020

By:  Bob Braunstein, Federal Benefits Specialist

 

The Relationship Between OPM Disability Retirement and SSDI

 

Most Federal employees are able retire from Federal service around 56 or 57 years of age after completing 30 or more years of creditable service. These retirements are immediate and include important benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, dental and vision coverage, and other benefits for the rest of their lives.  Similar retirement and benefit options could be available earlier to employees who become disabled for their work and qualify for the Office of Personnel Management’s Disability Retirement benefit. Disability retirement is available to any Federal employee who has completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service with a medical condition that renders them incapable of performing the duties of their current position (or those of any job at the same grade and pay in their organization and general commuting area). Disability retirements come with the similar pensions and insurance benefits and continue as long as the retiree remains disabled.  Those approved for Disability Retirement must also apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when they separate.    

 

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HSA or FSA: Which is Better?

By:  Vanessa Craddock, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published: October 2020

Would you like an easy way to save money on your healthcare expenses?

By now, many Federal employees have heard of the various medical accounts they can use to save money, but have no idea which offers what and saves them the most. Let’s take a look at the two popular choices: Health Savings Accounts vs. Flexible Spending Accounts, and determine which one is best for you.

An HSA is a Health Savings Account, and an FSA is a Flexible Spending Account. Both have much in common. They are both designed to give you better control of the money spent on your healthcare. They both also allow you to save money in a tax-free account that can be used to cover qualified out-of-pocket expenses. However, depending on your Federal health insurance plan and your medical needs, one type may be better than the other.

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Tricare Plus FEHB – A Possible Health Benefits “Ace in the Hole” Arrangement When You Retire

By: Bob Braunstein, Federal Benefits Specialist

Published: September 2020

Military retirees who retire from the Federal civilian service have a little-known health insurance option that may be too good to pass up. For a very low cost, they have the ability to expand their health insurance networks beyond Tricare to include an FEHB program. And when the FEHB coverage is no longer needed, they can suspend paying for it. To have this option, one would need to be under active FEHB coverage upon retiring from civilian service. FEHB coverage in retirement for non-military retirees typically requires having the coverage for at least 5 continuous years immediately prior to separating/retiring. But, if one has Tricare, this coverage is included in the 5 years provided they are also covered by an active FEHB plan when they retire.

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Your Next Career Chapter

By: Kathy Lavinder

Published: August 2020
All transitions can be daunting; none more so than transitioning from the public sector to the private sector. Most people inherently understand that government agencies and for-profit businesses have different agendas, goals, cultures, and expectations. Just how different those are will come into clear focus as you begin your post-government job search.

Here are some things to keep in mind:
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What Everyone Needs to Know About Money – Before Age 40

By: Karen Schaeffer, CFP®

Published: July 2020

After 40 years of teaching people how to make smart money decisions, one of the most common reactions from students is: I wish I learned this when I was younger. Of course, it’s never too late to learn, but what if we really could roll back time and reach everyone before the big 4-0 milestone? In a perfect world, these are the money tips that every young person knows and uses:

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Communicating With Friends and Family While Working Remotely

By: Mike Townshend

June 2020
Today, out of necessity, a large percentage of our Federal workforce is working remotely, often at home. This way of working has challenged many of us to remain focused on our work, yet responsive to our friends and family as the day goes along.

Interruptions are problematic based on timing and distraction. When friends learn that we are working from home, they often assume that we are now available during the day and expect us to be responsive to their calls, emails, texts, and, even, stopovers. The fact is that any of these will likely be distractions from the work that we need to accomplish, often on deadline.
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Optimizing Communications With Work Teams Who Are Working Remotely

By: Mike Townshend, Organizational Psychologist

Published: June 2020

Today, out of necessity, a large percentage of our federal workforce is located away from the agency’s offices, often at home. This way of working has broken the stereotypes of offices with workers during set hours at desks and toiling away. Agency leaders are finding that mobile workforces are, in fact, productive and agile.

A fear that many have expressed about adapting to this new world of work is primarily about the effectiveness of Communications while trying to remain productive and feeling that we still belong in the culture of our teams, departments, divisions, and agency.

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Boosting Your Physical and Mental Health During a Crisis

Published: May 2020

By:  Kari Utz-Wolsky, (ISSA) CFT, SPN, SSC; Crossfit level 1; Nutrition & Conditioning Specialist

We are all faced with a very challenging reality right now. As we have heard over and over, this is something none of us has ever experienced before in our lifetime. We are bombarded with messages filled with fear, warnings, and panic. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, lonely, or depressed, please know that you are not alone. I’ve spoken with many people lately; whether they are single, married, with kids, or without kids, the large majority of folks are feeling very out of control. They say that one minute they seem okay and the next they feel very depressed or angry without any particular trigger. The majority of us have a great deal of fear and uncertainty weighing heavily on our minds. So, let us try to proceed by focusing on what we CAN control.

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Financial Well Being

Published: April 2020

By: Ray Kirk, Ph.D., Federal Benefits Specialist

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has identified financial well-being as the ultimate measure of the success of financial literacy efforts. Financial literacy efforts traditionally have focused on gaining knowledge and applying that knowledge appropriately to make good financial decisions. Financial well-being is defined by CFPB “as the state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future and is able to make choices that allow enjoyment of life.”

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