Calling All Federal Retirees:
Did you know that the legislation passed to extend the ‘Bush Era Tax Cuts’ also contained an amendment or elements which did not include federal retirees? Do you know that your taxes actually INCREASED? I suggest you take note of your next benefit check (as I did), and take the time to read any Notice of Change you received concerning your 2011 benefits (as I did). I questioned this change that I saw in my Notice by calling both the OPM Congressional Liaison Office and the OPM Retiree Benefits Section in Boyers, PA. I learned this happened because there were ‘components’ of this Extended Tax Cut that did not apply to retirees! What?!
I am shocked, dismayed and even angry to find that federal retirees took a hit while everyone else will enjoy the extended tax cuts to their income. When I look at this equation it is clear that WE are covering the shortfall that allows everyone else to catch a tax break. It is also clear that the ‘government’ has taken the liberty of changing lanes/changing the rules of the federal retiree benefit laws that have been in place for decades. This means that WE have been targeted to join the ranks of those who have been disenfranchised by this economy, and WE will ultimately NOT be able to sustain ourselves under higher taxes – in direct contrast to others who will be able. Why were retirees singled out/left out of this provision?
With a higher taxation on federal retiree pay, it is necessary to augment our income but we are not allowed much room to do that now, either. I don’t know what restriction regulations exist for private sector retirement pensions, but I DO know that federal retirees are now subject to an ‘earnings limitation’ restricting us to not exceed $14,160 in outside income to supplement our retirement. If we do exceed that amount, one dollar will be taken back for every 2 dollars earned over that amount. Taken Back? And Put Where? Who gets MY money that was Taken Back? Moreover, given the average monthly retirement benefit, most retirees would need to add considerably more than $14K of income to live in today’s economy.
To me, this limitation ensures that federal retirees will be on a track toward economic hardship if they DON’T supplement their income. Whom do YOU know as a single earner is able to live any measure of a quality life on retirement income only? I know of no one. Not in today’s economy. And…WHERE could someone live under such income limitations? Oh! I know! On the side of a road, underneath a bridge, or in Tent City! After years of productive work with an expected income at the end, THIS is our lot of options? Maintaining one’s self is difficult already, without restrictions to outside earnings. Today’s economy REQUIRES added income, and we should be free to do that without penalty! It’s elementary, my dear Watson.
It is my belief that a voice should be heard rising, with other voices joining to call for repeal of this stealth law that penalizes retirees trying to earn what they need – and assesses retirees a higher tax withholding while allowing the rest of America the luxury extended tax cuts for the next two years.
That’s my 2 cents’ worth – and I believe it counts for something. What Say You???