Is there life after work?

Once you go to work for Uncle Sam, there are only three ways out: You can quit (or get fired). You can retire. Or, you can have the last laugh and be carried out by coworkers who, in life, wouldn’t give you the time of day.

For some people, retirement is everything they hoped for. Sleeping late, no traffic jams, travel, exercise. The only issue is why-didn’t-I-do-this before. For others, it is as disappointing as Kim Kardashian’s all too brief marriage or the surprising social life of Justin Bieber. Not what we expected! Start with the issue of health insurance …

When it comes to picking a health plan, federal and postal retirees typically have a tougher time than still-working colleagues. Often their medical needs are greater, their income is reduced and they are (or feel) out of the information loop.

Also, when feds retire, they lose the option of paying their health premiums with pre-tax dollars. That perk, known as premium conversion, saves anywhere from $250 to $500 per year in federal taxes. But it is not available to retirees.


Postal workers pay much less for their health insurance than other federal workers. Thanks to their union contract, the USPS picks up a much larger share of the total premium. But when postal workers retire they pay the same premiums as nonpostal workers and retirees.

There is also the question of Medicare Part B, which can cost an extra $1,300 per year. Do retirees need it or not?

This morning at 10 a.m., David Snell, director of retirement services for the National Active and Federal Employees will be our first guest on our Your Turn radio show. He’ll talk about the open season, Medicare Part B and Congressional threats to the retirement system.

If you are hoping for a buyout, interested in Defense’s possible new pass-fail grading plan, Air Forces’ civilian job cuts or the the progress (or lack of same) of the Congressional supercommittee working on the deficit, stick around to hear Stephen Losey from the Federal Times. To cover the information waterfront, listen if you can (1500 AM or online). If you have questions email them to me at or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here, so if you can’t listen live you can catch it later. Or send it to a friend. Or both.


  • Dan Adcock, long time legislative director for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees association has made a career change. After 18 years with NARFE, he’s taken over as policy director for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
  • Michael A. Raponi is the new inspector general for the Government Printing Office. He takes over from Rodolfo Ramirez Jr., who was interim IG pending a permanent appointment. Raponi has worked for VA, HUD and the Agriculture Department and comes from the Labor Department where he was deputy assistant IG for audit.
  • James VanAntwerp has been named manager of the year by the Federal Managers Association,. He’s currently technical director of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division in Keyport, Washington.


By Jack Moore

A rotten tooth belonging to John Lennon sold for $31,200 at an auction this week, Rolling Stone reports. Lennon gave the tooth to his housekeeper in the mid-1960s, ostensibly to dispose of. However, the housekeeper’s daughter was such a huge Beatles fan, that Lennon told her to hang onto it. The auction house has yet to confirm the winner’s identity, however, a Canadian dentist has claimed he put in the winning bid.


Mike’s Take: Lights, camera … identity theft
You know that life-defining moment you have, and maybe didn’t notice at the time? The one where you did something or made a choice that set you on a totally different course? Mine hit me the other day.

SSA, AFGE still at negotiating impasse
Nearly two years of negotiating has led to a stalemate between the Social Security Administration and its largest union, the American Federation of Government Employees. With 40 contract articles unresolved, the union has sought help from federal arbitrators.

Supercommittee Tracker
The debt reduction supercommittee has a Nov. 23 deadline to come up with proposals to cut the deficit by $1.5 trillion. Find out which recommendations from lawmakers take aim at federal pay, benefits and contracting.