First the US Throws Away Veterans and Now Federal Retirees

Yes, I’m a Federal retiree. I worked for the IRS, the USGS, the Government Printing Office, and The US Army as a civilian. Now that we have the Affordable Care Act, which does many good things for the rest of the country, open season health insurance plan information is not available to retirees that never had to use computers and don’t know how. Yes, there are many of them. I know how, but I’m finding it more difficult to navigate the Office of Personnel Management (OPM or as we lovingly call it, OPIUM) website. Yes, I have a login to print my 1099 because the Government I served will no longer send me one, even though I willingly pay my taxes still. That login does NOT allow me to see what’s going on with the rest of my file, e.g. life insurance. OPM itself says it takes at least 2-3 weeks to answer an email. My own senator takes 3 weeks to answer an email. Health Insurance open season starts 10 November, not that their answers are in any way helpful, but I guess I’ll be blindsided again. On the  bright side, OPIUM is very successful at routing ringing phones until they hang up on the people they’re supposed to serve.

Here’s the way the next generation does business:  Put info online. Expect everyone and any one who needs it to already know it’s been put online and where. For example, President Obama said he was going to have an open government, so he put a contact box on the Whitehouse website, and Edward Snowden be damned to Russia, covert activity on the part of the Government skyrocketed.

Since this is how business works now, I’m glad I’m retired and closer to my expiration date. When I worked for my Government, I felt it was my duty to provide information to the individual/office who asked. I did my best, which was not “post online somewhere and done,” No, the job isn’t done just because something’s posted online.

I’ll spare you the details of what went wrong when I never received the brochures I requested for open season last year (yes, they were printed last year for mailing, but I never learned why I didn’t get mine). Suffice it to say I was blindsided and it was very expensive. I’m fortunate that I have a home, and still had money for food after medical expenses.

Yes, I get angry every time I see an ad for the Wounded Warrior Project, because it reminds me how much money is thrown away on the Veterans Administration to not help the veterans, especially including wounded warriors. The United States Government today is NOT the United States Government I served, and it has NOTHING to do with political parties. I watched it painfully start to deteriorate during the 2nd Iraq War, and now we’re headed into #3. I admit I was naïve, and suspected I was at the time, for trusting my fellow Feds. I wonder how many retired Feds sans computers have long since gone homeless or perished because of OPM.

Finally, a simple request. Please stop referring to Washington, DC, as “Washington.” I live in the wonderful state of Washington, which is nothing like DC. Please either use the entire designation, or just say “DC.” It’s a simple request from one who can’t seem to put enough distance between herself and where she wasted her working years. Thank you.

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