The Foreign Service Journal - December 2017

56 DECEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL STAY INFORMED. STAY CONNECTED. Keeping Your Eye on the Bottom Line Threats to Your Retirement Benefits On Oct. 5, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would cut federal retire- ment benefits by $32 billion over the next 10 years. The bill does not specify what is to be cut, but sug- gests one or more of the fol- lowing: require employees to contribute more into the trust fund from which their retire- ment pensions will be drawn; eliminate the Annuity Supple- ment paid to employees hired in the post-1983 “new” retirement systems who retire prior to age 62; reduce the government contribution to Federal Employees Health Benefits insurance premi- ums; and decrease the rate of return of the Thrift Savings Plan’s G Fund. Not on the list is President Donald Trump’s proposal to eliminate Cost of Living Adjustments on federal pensions. The Senate version of the bill does not call for cuts. Thus, the House-Senate Con- ference Committee expected to convene by early Novem- ber may strip them out. As a member of the Federal-Postal Coalition made up of 30 organizations including the National Active and Retired Federal Employ- ees Association and the large civil service unions, AFSA has co-signed several letters to Congress opposing cuts to retirement benefits. If any benefit changes do get approved, they will probably not become effec- tive until 2018. A change in the Foreign Service Pension Fund Annuity Supplement, if adopted, will likely apply only to future retirees. Attention Foreign Commercial Service Retirees The Association for Diplo- matic Studies and Training invites Foreign Commercial Service retirees to record the oral history of their career. ADST’s mission is to offer both experts and the general public a record of how U.S. diplomats have advanced American interests abroad, reported in the voices of the practitioners themselves. With the support of the Una Chapman Cox Founda- tion, ADST would like to record the insights and suggestions of FCS officers on how the Foreign Commercial Service can adapt its programs and training to the challenges of 21st-century commercial advocacy and diplomacy. ADST hopes that FCS retir- ees will agree that capturing and documenting the story of their work, and the FCS as an institution, is a vital part of their legacy of service. To take part either with a full oral history, or in record- ing shorter pieces on key moments, contact Mark Tau- ber, Deputy Director, Foreign Affairs Oral History Program at or (703) 302-6820. Choose the Best FEHB Health Care Plan for Your Needs Open season for changing 2018 Federal Employees Health Benefit program health insurance plans runs from Nov. 13 to Dec. 11. AFSA purchases “Con- sumer’s Checkbook to Federal Health Plans” as a service so members can shop around each open season for the most cost- effective FEHB plans to meet their changing health care needs. Whether FEHB is your primary health insurer or a secondary insurer to supple- ment your Medicare Part B, Consumer’s Checkbook can help you save. Members should have received an email from AFSA in mid-November with instructions on how to access Consumer’s Checkbook. Have You Joined a Retiree Association? Did you know that there are multiple Foreign Service retiree associations around the country? While unaffiliated with AFSA, these groups offer an ideal way to stay in touch with your profession, as well as friends and colleagues. You can find a full listing of these groups at www.afsa. org/retiree-associations. If there is no group in your area, and you’d like to start one, contact AFSA Retiree Coordinator Chris- tine Miele (miele@afsa. org) for assistance. Some existing associations lack current leadership, including Eastern Washington-Idaho. If you’d like to throw your hat in the ring to head a group, let us know! n Don’t Miss the 2018 Foreign Service Annual Annuitant Newsletter. Retirees were mailed a postcard in October advising that the “2018 Foreign Service Annual Annuitant Newsletter” will be posted at under the “What’s New?” tab. It contains the forms retirees need to make elections on their benefits. If you need a hard copy or have questions, email or call 1 (866) 300-7419, or email AFSA at or call (202) 944-5509. ADST