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Lawmakers Put Their Benefits -- And Yours -- At Risk

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For Republican Rep. Ted Yoho, it is all about trust.

“When members of Congress break the law, they break trust,” Yoho said.  

And for the Florida lawmaker, trust stands for Trust Returned to the United States Taxpayer, or the TRUST Act, which he recently proposed.

Yoho’s bill would force any member of Congress who is convicted of a felony to forfeit the taxpayer-funded portion of his pension.  He argued members of the military currently face the same punishment.

“If our service men and women who lay their lives on the line for our nation lose their pension with a dishonorable discharge, should not members of Congress be held to the same standard?” Yoho asked on the floor of the House when introducing his bill.

He added now is the perfect time to take up his legislation.

“These days with public opinion at record lows and public debt at record highs, the TRUST Act is a place to start in restoring the faith of the American people in their government.”

What Would Chained CPI Cost You?

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association -- which has strongly condemned President Obama’s proposal to reduce benefits for federal retirees and Social Security recipients through a less generous formula to calculate Cost of Living Adjustments -- has a developed a tool to help you determine just how much exactly chained CPI would take out of your pocket.

NARFE has created a calculator tool titled “How much would your benefits be cut?”

To use it, simply plug in your current annual benefit -- from Social Security, Civil Service Retirement System or Federal Employees Retirement System -- or what you expect it to be when you retire, then the number of years and voila, you have an estimate of how much you would lose from the new formula.

The average Social Security beneficiary, according to NARFE, receives $15,000 annually. That individual would lose about $728 after five years, according to the calculator, and more than $23,000 after 25 years.

No Show, No Problem

Thinking about skipping out on your doctor’s appointment, but worried about losing your Veteran’s Affairs Department-sponsored health care coverage?

Worry no more. VA has proposed to allow veterans to miss their appointments without fear of retribution. Currently, when a veteran misses two appointments without giving 24 hours cancellation notice and a “reasonable excuse,” he is deemed to have refused care.

“VA believes that the current regulation is incompatible with regulatory changes implemented after the regulation was promulgated, is not in line with current practice, and is inconsistent with VA's patient-centered approach to medical care,” according to the proposal. 

Eric Katz joined Government Executive in the summer of 2012 after graduating from The George Washington University, where he studied journalism and political science. He has written for his college newspaper and an online political news website and worked in a public affairs office for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. Most recently, he worked for Financial Times, where he reported on national politics.

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