FRA NewsBytes October 31, 2014

FRA Newsbytes 10/31/2014

FRA Newsbytes 10/31/2014

In this issue:
Cost of Living Adjustment for 2015
Know the Candidates and How they Voted on Key Issues—Vote on Tuesday!
Nurse Advice Line Available for Travel
FRA Hosts Marine Legislative Fellow Training

 

Cost of Living Adjustment for 2015
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released the 2015 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase. The COLA for 2015 is a 1.7 percent increase, which means that for the third straight year, federal retirees, along with millions of Social Security recipients and disabled veterans, will receive historically small increases in their COLA. 1.7 percent is an increase over last year’s, which was 1.5 percent, and there were two years (2010 and 2011) in which there was no COLA increase at all. The new COLA rate is effective December 1, 2014 and the adjustment will first appear in the December 30, 2014 payment.

Know the Candidates and How they Voted on Key Issues—Vote on Tuesday!
On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, the U.S. Midterm Election will be held for all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 members of the U.S. Senate. In addition, 36 states have elections for governor, as well as numerous state legislative and local government election contests. FRA believes that democracy is not a spectator sport, and urges Shipmates to learn where their election candidates stand on important issues and vote accordingly.

Members can use the FRA Action Center as a reference to learn more about their legislators and how they voted on key legislation. Go to the website (www.fra.org) and click on the “Advocacy” tab (Orange square) and then click on “Action Center.” Scroll down to “Elections and Candidates.” Enter your zip code, click “Go,” and scroll up to find information on candidates. Shipmates can also review key votes by their federal legislators by going to Action Center, scrolling down to “Bills of Interest,” and clicking “Go,” then scrolling down to “Key Votes.” The first vote listed in Senate and House sections is the vote on H. J. Res. 59, which cuts the military retiree COLA increase by one percent.

Voting does not guarantee that your candidate will win, but choosing not to vote denies a person one of the key tools of having a say in a democracy.

Nurse Advice Line Available for Travel
The Defense Health Agency (DHA) wants to remind TRICARE beneficiaries that if they and their families have a medical problem while traveling, they can call the Nurse Advice Line (NAL) while on the road for all health concerns and needs.

The NAL is the DHA’s new initiative to improve ready access to safe, high quality care. Calling the NAL gives you access to the advice you need at the right time. Call 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273) and select Option 1 to talk to a registered nurse (RN) who can answer your urgent care questions, give health care advice, help you find a doctor, or schedule a next-day appointment at a military hospital or clinic.

If you or a member of your family gets ill while traveling, calling the NAL can help you figure out what steps to take. The nurse will ask you questions about the symptoms that you or your family member are experiencing and provide advice on whether you need to seek care and when. When you are traveling, the NAL nurse will help you find a safe, high-quality health care facility in the TRICARE network. If you are a military hospital or clinic enrollee, the NAL will send a follow-up note to your primary care manger and medical team back home so they know how you are doing.

You can safely travel with TRICARE and the NAL. The NAL is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information on accessing the NAL while on the go, visit www.TRICARE.mil/NAL.

FRA Hosts Marine Legislative Fellow Training
FRA staff this week gave a legislation process brief to the CY 2015 Marine Corps Fellows, 11 Officers and five Enlisted Marines, in the new FRA NHQ conference room. The Marine Corps Congressional Fellowship Program offers participants the opportunity to work in the legislative branch of the federal government for one session of Congress. The program consists of three components: (1) training and education through the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University; (2) work on Capitol Hill in the personal office of a Senator or Member of Congress; and (3) a two-year utilization tour immediately upon completion of the fellowship. FRA has provided both the Marine and Navy Legislative Fellows their legislative process brief in recent years. The Navy Fellows legislative process brief is scheduled for next month.

In related news, DLP John Davis and ADLP Stephen Tassin attended the Marine Corps Birthday celebration with Mack’s Marines at the Commandant’s home in Washington, D.C.