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Key developments in the world of federal employee benefits: health, pay, and much more.

Furlough Check-in: Tell Us How It’s Going So Far

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For many federal employees, the much-dreaded furloughs of fiscal 2013 are under way. It’s still a little early, but we’re curious how people are holding up so far. Are the days of unpaid leave already causing a financial strain? Or have you managed to find a silver lining in having some extra time off? Take our poll, and feel free to share any other thoughts in our comment section at the bottom of this column. 
























Survivor Benefits for Disabled Military Children

Legislation recently introduced in both chambers of Congress would offer military retirees the option of transferring their retirement benefits to a trust to support the long-term care of their disabled children.

The lead sponsors of the bill, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., say the current law -- while providing the public with a mechanism to transfer benefits to a Special Needs Trust -- does not give military retirees the same ability. According to the lawmakers, military retirees can dedicate up to 55 percent of their monthly retirement pay to a Survivor Benefit Plan to be available to their spouses upon their death. The proposed legislation aims to change that and allow disabled children to also access benefits from the SBP-- through the Special Needs Trust -- to help pay for long-term treatments.

“The Disabled Military Child Protection Act ensures that special needs dependents of our service-members receive the care they need, deserve and have earned while making sure military special needs children are treated the same as those of civilians,” Hagan said in a statement.

The lawmakers say that the proposed legislation would still allow the children to access other federal entitlement programs, like Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance.

“As a father of a special needs child, I know how important it is for parents to be able to provide the best possible care for them,” Moran said. “The Disabled Military Child Protection Act will give peace of mind to middle class military parents of more than 1,000 dependents that their children will receive good care after they are no longer able.”

Amelia Gruber covered management and contracting for Government Executive for three years before becoming an editor. She also has worked as an editor at Roll Call newspaper and as a research assistant at the Urban Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College, with a major in economics, and a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Kedar Pavgi is an M.A. candidate at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. He was previously a Digital Editor at Defense One, and has worked at Government Executive, and Foreign Policy magazine. He has written for The Diplomat, The World Politics Review, and the Foreign Policy Association. He received his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary, where he studied economics and international relations.

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