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Sep 01, 2021

Retirees Online Applications for Holiday Temp Jobs Due Sept. 6, 2021

September 1, 2021 

Time is running short for APWU retirees who are interested in temporary work as:

  • Annuitant Holiday Clerk Assistant (HCA)
  • Annuitant Holiday Transportation Assistant (HTA) 

Retirees have the opportunity to be rehired as temporary Annuitant Holiday Assistants again this year and work until December 31, 2021.

If you are interested in working temporarily:

Aug 19, 2021

After the second quarter of 2021, the third quarter for the 2022 COLA adjustment period, the quarterly average has increased by 4.1%.


The 2022 Social Security COLA is based on the third quarter (July, August, September) average CPI-W index (1982-84=100) in 2021 over the 2020 third quarter average.


Year Social Security COLA
2021 1.3%
2020 1.6%
2019 2.80%
2018 2.00%
2017 0.30%
2016 0.00%
2015 1.70%
2014 1.50%
2013 1.70%
2012 3.60%
2011 0.00%
2010 0.00%
2009 5.80%
2008 2.30%
2007 3.30%
2006 4.10%
2005 2.70%
2004 2.10%
2003 1.40%
2002 2.60%
2001 3.50%
2000 2.40%
1999 1.30%
1998 2.10%
1997 2.90%
1996 2.60%


Aug 19, 2021

After the second quarter of 2021, the third quarter for the 2022 COLA adjustment period, the quarterly average has increased by 4.1%.


The 2022 FERS retiree COLA is based on the third quarter (July, August, September) average CPI-W index (1982-84=100) in 2021 over the 2020 third quarter average.

However, if the CPI-W quarterly average increases 3% or more, they subtract 1%. For example, a 5% increase in the quarterly CPI-W average results in a 4% adjustment. If the quarterly average increases from 2% to 3%, benefits increase by 2%. A CPI-W quarterly average increase of 2% or less will increase benefits by the change in the CPI-W quarterly average.


2021 1.3%
2020 1.6%
2019 2%
2018 2%
2017 0.30%
2016 0%
2015 1.70%
2014 1.50%
2013 1.70%
2012 2.60%
2011 0.00%
2010 0.00%
2009 4.80%
2008 2.00%
2007 2.30%
2006 3.10%
2005 2.00%
2004 2.00%
2003 1.40%
2002 2.00%
2001 2.50%
2000 2.00%
1999 1.30%
1998 2.00%
1997 2.00%
1996 2.00%
1995 2.00%

Aug 19, 2021

After the second quarter of 2021, the third quarter for the 2022 COLA adjustment period, the quarterly average has increased by 4.1%.


The 2022 CSRS retiree COLA is based on the third quarter (July, August, September) average CPI-W index (1982-84=100) in 2021 compared to the 2020 third quarter average.


2021 1.3%
2020 1.6%
2019 2.8%
2018 2.0%
2017 0.3%
2016 0.0%
2015 1.7%
2104 1.5%
2013 1.7%
2012 3.6%
2011 0%
2010 0%
2009 5.8%
2008 2.3%
2007 3.3%
2006 4.1%
2005 2.7%
2004 2.1%
2003 1.4%
2002 2.6%
2001 3.5%
2000 2.4%
1999 1.3%
1998 2.1%
1997 2.9%
1996 2.6%
1995 2.8%

May 17, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination and You

Nancy Olumekor

March 1, 2021 

(This article first appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

People have questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. While this article provides a few of the most commonly asked questions and answers, the CDC website provides more details as well as a complete list of facts and myths about the COVID-19 vaccines:

Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?

Both of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the United States as this issue goes to press are shown to prevent at least 90 percent of infections. For those who do still contract COVID-19 after getting the vaccine, data shows a strong decrease in severity of symptoms.

The COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, protecting you from getting sick with COVID-19. Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications. How long does protection from a COVID-19 vaccine last?

It is unknown how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. What is known is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a way to protect yourself and limit the spread of the virus. Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. The CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have gotten two doses of the vaccine?

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser for COVID-19, said in recent interviews that Americans may still be wearing masks outside their homes a year from now, even as he predicted the country would return to “a significant degree of normality” by fall. “When it goes way down and the overwhelming majority of people in the population are vaccinated, then I would feel comfortable saying...we don’t need to have masks.”

To protect yourself and others, follow these recommendations:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wash your hands often.

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

You should talk to your medical provider to receive advice on what could be the best choice for you.

Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.

Those treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, are recommended to wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

If I have an underlying condition, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC writes that people with underlying medical conditions can receive the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.

Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

UPDATE: After the print version of this article was published, the FDA approved a third COVID-19 vaccine that is now being administered.

Jan 14, 2021

Still Fighting for Justice: Continuing to Use Our Voices for What’s Next

Nancy Olumekor

November 17, 2020 

(This article first appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Yes, the voice of retirees, and everyone else, was heard in the 2020 elections. We must still do the work to protect our federal pensions, benefits and the Postal Service. Retirees and postal workers will continue to let Congress know that we expect them to protect our hard-earned benefits – our federal pensions (CSRS or FERS), Social Security, Medicare, health insurance and life insurance, and we expect them to protect and preserve the Postal Service by supporting and passing legislation to accomplish these goals.

There are still millions of CSRS annuitants waiting for Congress to pass legislation to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) in order to provide us with a fair return on our investment in the Social Security system. Many CSRS annuitants worked and contributed into the Social Security system at the same rate as other non- CSRS annuitants who contributed to Social Security, yet CSRS annuitants are denied an equitable benefit for those contributions. It is time for the Social Security Fairness Act to become the law.

Retirees are also being short-changed by the method used to calculate our COLA. The method is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) instead of the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). Using CPI-W takes money out of seniors’ pockets by using the spending habits of urban and clerical workers as the factor instead of the using the spending habits of the elderly. Using CPI-W and calculating consumer spending habits of people who work does not accurately reflect the spending patterns of those who are retired or disabled.

To collect data on the inflation rate faced by consumers in the marketplace, the federal government collects data on costs for what they call the “market basket” of goods and services. According to The National Committee to Preserve and Protect Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), research shows that elderly people have higher costs for “market basket” categories such as health care and housing while urban and clerical workers have higher cost expenses for such things as education, clothing, and transportation. The NCPSSM also writes that “not only do health care expenditures steadily increase with age but health care costs have also consistently risen much faster than other 'market basket' categories.”

“The CPI-W does not take these critical differences in the elderly population into consideration,” the NCPPSM says. The CPI-E represents the most accurate measure of the inflation affecting our nation’s seniors.

It is incumbent upon workers and retirees to do everything we can to achieve a fair COLA by encouraging Congress to pass legislation that will calculate retirees’ COLA based on CPI-E. Continue to write letters, postcards and emails and call Congress at 1-202-224-3121. Remind Congress what our paramount issues are as postal retirees, senior citizens and postal workers.


Thank you to my sister and brother postal workers for showing up and moving the mail in service to America. Thank you to all the veterans and all the active military personnel for your service; thank you to all the essential workers who are our families, our friends, our neighbors for your continued service.

As I reflect on 2020 it is clear to me that I must never miss an opportunity to say “Thank you.” I am mindful of the friends, families and loved ones that APWU members and retirees have lost this year, including our first Retirees Director John R “JR” Smith, as well as the other great unionists who helped build APWU. Without their service and commitment we would not be here.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Good Health and Happiness in the New Year to all.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you.

Oct 20, 2020

Alliance for Retired Americans

815 16th Street, NW, Fourth Floor  

Washington, DC 20006 


Spanish version:

October 16, 2020 

Social Security Administration Announces

Meager 1.3% COLA Increase for 2021

The Social Security Administration announced on Tuesday that its annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be 1.3 percent in 2021, which means an average $20 boost in retirement benefits per month. This year’s COLA is the smallest since 2017 and slightly under the 1.4% average over the past decade.

“The members of the Alliance are disappointed and angry that Social Security beneficiaries will receive a paltry 1.3% benefit increase,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance in a statement. “While any COLA is better than nothing, 1.3% is not nearly enough to keep up with the escalating cost of prescription drugs and other expenses seniors have to spend their money on.”

He noted that at least 16% of seniors who work have lost their job due to the coronavirus pandemic, making Social Security a larger portion of their income. “To help seniors and strengthen Social Security, we need to protect and expand the program. We can modestly increase benefits by making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share by removing the artificial earnings cap," Fiesta added.

In response to the small COLA and to account for the financial problems caused by the pandemic, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John Larson (CT) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR) have proposed emergency legislation to raise the COLA to 3% next year.

Alliance Lawsuits in North Carolina and Wisconsin Continue to Make Their Way Through the Courts There were significant developments in several of the voting rights lawsuits filed by state Alliances this week to ensure that older voters can cast a vote that will be counted during the pandemic.

● In North Carolina, a federal district judge upheld key provisions of the agreement the North Carolina Alliance reached with the state earlier this year. ● The Wisconsin Alliance’s case to restore the back-up option for voters who do not receive their absentee ballots in the mail is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Alliance is proud of its work to make voting easier, especially during the pandemic,” said Executive Director Fiesta. “There are record requests for mail-ballots and people coming out for in-person early voting. Older voters need to be able to participate fully in this election with the least risk possible to their health and safety.”

Biden and Trump Step Up Their Fight for Older Voters

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden argued this week that President Trump has turned his back on older Americans, citing the president’s widely criticized response to the coronavirus, his attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and his approach to Social Security and Medicare. According to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Biden is leading Trump with older voters by a whopping 27 points.

Referring to Trump’s pandemic response, Biden gave a speech at a community center for seniors in Pembroke Pines, Florida on Tuesday and said in Trump’s mind, seniors are “expendable.” “Donald Trump is simple — not a joke — you’re expendable,” he said. “You’re forgettable. You’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors,” Biden said. “The only senior that Donald Trump cares about — the only senior — is the senior Donald Trump,” he later added.

Amy Coney Barrett Hearings:

Maybe Medicare is Unconstitutional??

The Senate Judiciary Committee held its confirmation hearings this week for Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat. During the hearings Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) asked Barrett if she agreed with “some originalists who say the Medicare program is unconstitutional.” Barrett declined to answer the question. “It is outrageous that President Trump would consider a Supreme Court nominee who cannot say that Medicare is constitutional,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., SecretaryTreasurer of the Alliance. “The health of every senior is at risk with this nomination,” he continued.

'Judge Barrett Barrett could potentially be confirmed by the Senate and join the Court before Election Day, which means that she could rule on the upcoming Texas v. United States case about the future of the ACA. Many legal analysts think Barrett, if confirmed, could be the deciding vote to strike down the law.

Nursing Homes Continue to be Plagued by Covid-19

An AARP analysis of recent government data shows that 50% of U.S. nursing homes have staff infected with Covid-19. The virus has claimed over 215,000 lives, 40% of which have occurred in nursing homes. The analysis also found that a quarter of facilities are short on workers as well as personal protective equipment (PPE). Some states are doing far worse than others. For example, in Maine, New Mexico and New Hampshire, at least half of nursing homes reported insufficient PPE. In South Dakota and Kansas, more than half of nursing homes reported a staff shortage. “Seniors need strong national leadership to bring us out of the coronavirus crisis,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “We have had more than enough time to address the PPE shortages in nursing homes that are a major factor in spreading the virus.”

The Hottest Trend in 2020: Voting Early

More than 17,800,000 Americans have cast their ballots either through the mail or in person, according to the U.S. Election Project, which tracks early voting statistics in real time. That number is almost 13 percent of the total number of Americans who voted in the 2016 presidential election.

States that kicked off early in-person voting this week were:

● Oct. 12 - Georgia

● Oct. 13 - Kentucky & Texas

● Oct. 14 - Kansas, Rhode Island & Tennessee

● Oct. 15 - North Carolina

● Oct. 16 - Washington, Louisiana

“Voting early is an opportunity to lock in your vote and then not have to worry about it,” said President Roach. “Go to if you have any questions about the deadlines or rules where you live.”

The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national organization that advocates for the rights and well-being of over 4.4 million retirees and their families.

Feb 06, 2020

Medicare and You

Nancy Olumekor

January 23, 2020

(This article first appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

Medicare is health insurance for people 65 and older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease.

What is Original Medicare?

Medicare Part A and Part B is referred to as “original” Medicare.

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It covers inpatient care in hospitals; it also includes coverage in critical access hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. It covers hospice care and home health care, though you must meet certain conditions to get these benefits. Medicare Part A is free for most people.

Medicare Part B is medical insurance. It covers medically necessary services like doctor’s visits, outpatient care, and other medical services that Part A doesn’t cover, such as lab work and durable medical equipment. Part B also covers many preventive services. Medicare Part B has a standard monthly premium for most people. The 2020 Part B premium is $144.60. People with higher incomes may pay a higher premium.

Original Medicare has deductibles for inpatient hospital stays, medical coverage and coinsurance. Medicare usually pays 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for medically-necessary care. The coinsurance is usually 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount. Original Medicare does not pay for prescription drugs, long-term care, routine dental services, routine vision care, and other services.

Most postal and federal retirees also keep their Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHB) which covers the co-pays and deductibles that Medicare Parts A and B doesn’t cover. Medicare Parts A and B along with your FEHB plan should keep most out-of-pocket medical costs down.

When Can You Enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B?

There are three (3) possible enrollment periods for Medicare A and B: the Initial Enrollment Period, General Enrollment Period and Special Enrollment Period.

Medicare Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

If you get Social Security retirement or disability benefits before age 65, the Social Security Administration will automatically enroll you in Medicare Parts A and B the month you turn 65. You’ll get a “Welcome to Medicare” booklet and your Medicare card about 3 months before your 65th birthday.

If you aren’t getting Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits you will need to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B during your Initial Enrollment Period. This is the period during the seven months surrounding the month you turn 65, when you’re first eligible for Medicare. This period begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, it includes the month you turn 65 and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP)

The General Enrollment Period is the time period from January to March 31 of every year when you can enroll in Medicare Part B for the first time.

If you enroll during the General Enrollment Period your Medicare Part A and B coverage will begin on July 1. In most cases, you’ll have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Medicare Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

If you are turning 65 or over 65 and you or your spouse is still working and covered by an employer or union group health plan through your or your spouse’s current or active employment, you can enroll in Medicare Part A and B during the Special Enrollment Period. There is usually no late enrollment penalty.

This is the eight (8) month period from the month you retire or the employer/union group health plan ends to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. There are other circumstances that will allow you to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B during the Special Enrollment Period.

For additional information, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office. You may also go online at

Jan 07, 2015

Postal Retirement Benefits

The APWU and other federal unions have worked with Congress for many decades to ensure retirement income security for employees who spend their careers in government service.

Today, most postal employees are eligible to participate in one of two federal retirement benefit programs:

The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), which provides benefits for most workers hired before 1984.

The Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), which covers all workers hired after 1984.

Though FERS pays a smaller monthly benefit than CSRS, FERS retirees also receive Social Security and Thrift Savings Plan payments.

Whichever plan you are enrolled in, your retirement benefits are administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Regardless of how many more years you may work before retirement, it's a good idea to understand all the benefits you earn and to plan early.

For complete information about the CSRS and FERS, visit OPM's Federal Retirement Programs Web site,, or visit your USPS personnel office.

Jan 08, 2014

About the APWU Retirees Department

The APWU Retirees Department is the voice of retired APWU members — within the union and on Capitol Hill.

Retirees helped build the union as we fought for — and won — better wages, improved benefits, and the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

Now, the union fights for retirees as Congress makes budget and policy decisions that affect our pensions and healthcare coverage, and that impact our lives in a profound way. The Retirees Department seeks to organize retired APWU members to join in these struggles.

The department also provides members with opportunities to see old friends — and make new ones— by participating in the activities of APWU Retiree Chapters and other union events.

The APWU Retirees Department was established in 1992 by delegates to the union’s 11th Biennial National Convention. Our goal was to bring retirees back into the union family while advancing the objectives of retired and active union members. The creation of the department required the passage of an amendment to the APWU Constitution and Bylaws, approved by more than two-thirds of voting delegates.

At subsequent conventions, delegates amended the constitution to strengthen the voice of retirees in union affairs, voting to allow retirees to elect five regional Retirees National Convention Delegates; to improve funding of retiree chapters, and to allow members of the APWU Retirees Department to elect the department director, beginning with the 2007 election of national officers.

Currently, there are more than 80,000 APWU Retirees Department members, 39local Retiree chapters, and four state chapters.

Jul 07, 2011
Jul 07, 2011
Retirement Annuity Calculation Use one of the worksheets below to develop an estimation of your retirement annuity.

Page Last Updated: Sep 01, 2021 (12:47:50)
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