The most interesting thing about President Reagan's new budget is what it doesn't say about federal workers and retirees.
His spending blueprint, which must be approved by Congress, recommends a 2 percent pay raise for civilian federal workers and 4.3 percent for uniformed military personnel. It also proposes a study of the U.S. Postal Service and some other federal functions that could, if approved by Congress, lead to their takeover by private industry. All those things were expected.
But the good news is that the budget doesn't mention any of the big-ticket civil service "reforms" previously pushed by the administration that have given some U.S. workers and retirees seven years of heartache and heartburn.
For example, this budget doesn't suggest raising the federal retirement age, or employee contributions to their health or pension plans. Nor does it suggest that the semiautomatic 3 percent within-grade (longevity) raises for white-collar federal workers be eliminated.
Of course, any of those items could be proposed separately by legislation. But the fact that they didn't merit even a line in this election-year budget indicates that most of the "must" changes previously sought have apparently been taken off the drawing board for the remainder of this administration.
Retiree User Fees
Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) wants the Internal Revenue Service to stop charging the survivors of federal and postal retirees $50 to supply data on what portion of their survivor benefit is taxable. Wolf says that many of the half million widows and widowers of annuity recipients must go to the IRS for the information and, when they do, they are charged a $50 fee. He has asked the IRS commissioner, Larry Gibbs, to waive any information charges to the survivors of annuity recipients..
Retire And Lose Weight!
Most civil servants expect their income to drop when they retire. But some are in for a surprise when their income drops to zero, sometimes for several months, while their retirement papers are being reviewed and their regular annuity checks go into the postal pipeline. Although federal officials say the time lag is short in most cases, dozens of new retirees call this column every week with horror stories about delays and the difficulty of getting information on what to do. Many say they must dip into their savings to live while waiting for monthly annuity checks to begin. One caller said he had "intended to lose some weight in retirement, but I thought to do it by a combination of dieting and exercise, not by worrying and not eating."
At 1 p.m. tomorrow on WNTR radio (1050 AM), Gordon Brown, national secretary of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, will talk about some of the post- retirement problems facing federal workers, and the outlook for the federal retirement and health insurance programs.
The Office of Personnel Management is sponsoring a seminar for executive secretaries April 26 through 28 at the Rosslyn Westpark Hotel. Speakers will talk about professional standards, upward mobility, networking and dressing to win. Agencies or employees who want registration information should call Cassandra Saunders at 632-6047.