NARFE applauds hearing of GPO-WEP

Margaret L. Baptiste, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees’ Association (NARFE), commended Congress for holding a hearing to examine the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act, that deny federal retirees and other public servants their earned Social Security benefits.

Baptiste reiterated her association’s long-standing opposition to the offsets. “NARFE is pleased that Congressmen McNulty (D-N.Y.) and Johnson (R-Texas) are using their positions on the Social Security Subcommittee to investigate unjust Social Security policies that undermine the earned retirement benefits of more than a million public servants,” declared Baptiste.

Since 1983, the GPO has prevented retirees from collecting both their federal annuity and any Social Security benefit based on their spouse’s work. Two-thirds of the amount of the earned civil service retirement annuity is used to offset Social Security spousal or survivor benefits that might otherwise have been payable.

The WEP reduces the earned Social Security benefit of a federal worker who also receives a government annuity based on his/her own work. Hundreds of thousands of federal civil servants can lose half of their own earned social security income as a result of the WEP and many annuitants are affected by both offsets. Baptiste called the GPO and WEP provisions “unfair and deserving of immediate rectification by Congress.”

Recent data indicates approximately 401,200 Social Security beneficiaries affected by the GPO, of whom about 75 percent are women, approximately 42 percent are widowed, and 85 percent have lost their entire Social Security spousal benefit. The data also showed roughly 971,300 Social Security beneficiaries affected by the WEP. About two-thirds were men, and 20 percent had paid into Social Security for at least 21 years.

NARFE has long led a campaign to rid the Social Security Law of the GPO and WEP provisions. The association chairs the Coalition to Assure Retirement Equity (CARE), comprised of over 40 national organizations representing public sector retirees that support changes in the GPO and WEP.

Baptiste asserted, “Federal retirees expect this Congress to finally overturn these laws, which are denying many of our nation’s public servants an adequate retirement.”

NARFE, one of America’s oldest and largest associations, was founded in 1921 with the mission of protecting the earned rights and benefits of America’s active and retired federal workers. The largest federal employee/ retiree organization, NARFE represents the retirement interests of nearly 5 million current and future federal annuitants, spouses and survivors.

Walt Berwick, President
Delaware Federation of NARFE Chapters

Dunes are here ... get used to it

The dunes in Bethany Beach seem to be the topic of most of the letters that the local papers receive. People being disappointed because the dunes are too high and they can’t see the wonderful ocean view.

Well, I see it like this… all those beautiful homes that the tourists build along the beach would be gone if the beach wasn’t replenished with the precious sand and dunes. Also, just because the dunes are too high, as some people see it, it will not stop the tourists from lugging blankets, towels, coolers and beach chairs out across the beach to pretty much sit on top of each other.

Being born and raised here in wonderful Sussex County, I have seen things change and some of it is disappointing to me and a few others, but you don’t see us complaining about the overabundant growth that has been happening over the years.

So, in conclusion, if you are disappointed with the dunes, don’t go to the beach and you won’t have a problem.

Rachel Johnson

Team gives thanks for paintball event

The Sunday Beach Bums Relay for Life team would like to thank all those who helped make our paintball fundraiser so successful. We would like to thank all the participants who came to “shoot out cancer” and have a fun day.

We would especially like to thank Lane Breasure of Pro Action Paintball, whose planning assistance enabled the day’s success, and the referees who gave their time to help our cause.

Over $1,100 was raised, all going towards cancer support programs and research. Through the support of people like all of you, we hope to help find the cure for this disease that touches so many lives. We hope to see you all at the next paintball fundraiser, March 15.

Thank you.

The Sunday Beach Bums
Relay for Life Team: The Warner, Ruhl, Riebel, Evans, Timmons, Tranfaglia and Jennings families

Bethany dune is imperitive to our safety

We were distressed to see that so much of the article in the Jan. 18 Coastal Point on beach replenishment in Bethany focused on the possibility of lowering the dune. The Bethany Town Council, in an effort spearheaded by Robert Parsons, worked and lobbied hard for years, paying for the services of professional lobbyists, to win the allocation of federal funds for the 50-year replenishment.

Over the past 15 years, despite two smaller-scale replenishments, our beach had eroded to the point that the ocean flowed under the boardwalk (and under the oceanfront homes in South Bethany) during storms. Even without a storm, there have been many days when there was little or no beach to sit on at high tide. Remember that the vast majority of vacationers, the foundation of the economy in Bethany, come here to go to the beach, not just to sit on the boardwalk and look at the beach.

We are so very fortunate that the Bethany area now has a large dune that will protect the town and the property of its citizens. Look at the placards on the boardwalk to see the effects of the 1962 storm in order to appreciate what we now have. Check out the severe problems that other beach towns along the coastal states to our south are experiencing as their beaches are being washed away, threatening homes and businesses. Again, we are so fortunate.

What kind of signal are we sending to the government agencies who allocated the funds to benefit our community if we continue to request a reduction in the height of the dune — and the protection it affords? Will our complaints, in lieu of our appreciation, influence their judgment when we need maintenance replenishment as part of the 50-year plan? Is it rational to talk about tearing out the dune grass and wasting precious, highly competed-for funds?

The effects of even this mild winter can already be seen on the newly enlarged beach; without the protective dune the forces of the ocean would continue to pose a real threat to the town.

Those who are disappointed and concerned that they can no longer see the beach from the boardwalk should be mollified by the plan that there will be easily accessible areas along the new walkways over the dunes that will enable them to continue to see the views they enjoy.

We believe it is a small but vocal minority who are persisting in the complaints about the height of the dune. It’s time for us to speak out in gratitude and appreciation for the largesse of the government in granting us the funds to enhance our safety and property values by providing effective replenishment.

Jack and Joan Gordon
Bethany Beach

Serviceman thankful for local support
Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to Karen McGrath, executive director of the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, in response to their “Operation Thank You” held over Thanksgiving, and forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

As my grandmother used to say, “My cup runneth over.” I just wanted to write and thank you and the others at the Chamber of Commerce for the huge care packages you sent. My soldiers and I really appreciate and put to good use the items within those gigantic boxes!

I could tell that a lot of thought and care went into putting these care packages together. Your love and appreciation is felt by us and I just wanted to reciprocate the same. We will be home late spring next year and you can bet I will be found hanging out on your beach in Fenwick with my kids.

Sgt. Jon Frey
One of three servicemen “adopted” by Operation Thank You