Open enrollment ongoing for civilian benefits

Air Force News Service RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Air Force officials here announced the open season for three civilian benefit programs continues until Dec. 8. The three programs are the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, or FEHB; the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, or FEDVIP; and the Federal Flexible Spending Account, […]

TRICARE enhances autism services coverage

By Brian Smith: TriWest Healthcare Alliance Active duty military families now have access to expanded services for autistic children under TRICARE. A new set of behavioral and educational benefits — the Enhanced Access to Autism Services Demonstration benefit — allows eligible beneficiaries to see a new category of providers as part of the Extended Care […]

Policy benefits spouses

By Jim Garamone: American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON — President Bush has signed an executive order that will make it easier for spouses of servicemembers to get federal jobs. The order authorizes noncompetitive hiring of spouses and should make the hiring process easier and faster for those in this category, said Patricia Bradshaw, deputy undersecretary […]

Association of Counties brings meeting to Portales

By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer The New Mexico Association of Counties is meeting in Portales today for the first time in its history. The group plans to discuss issues ranging from county budgets and wildfires, to CPR training for state employees and federal benefits for jail inmates. Representatives from all of the state’s 33 […]

GI Bill users should see benefits increase

By Tom Philpott The Bush administration has endorsed a House bill that would improve the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) education benefits in several ways including with a 31 percent jump in monthly benefits and a new $500-a-month stipend to help cover college living expenses. The administration’s aim is not only to improve veterans’ benefits in […]

Vets list being formed

By Sarah Meyer, Freedom New Mexico A retired U.S. Navy officer hopes to compile a list of all veterans within a five-county area of eastern New Mexico to recognize and keep track of the people who have served their country in that region. Richard Robertson, a retired chief petty officer who now serves as director […]

Boomer benefits available

Freedom New Mexico Social Security offices nationwide are bracing for the first round of baby boomers to hit retirement age. Local Social Security officials are urging individuals to utilize the Internet to file their application. “Staffing levels are at an all-time low,” Social Security District Manager Tony Romero said. “So, we are really pushing the […]

Deficient G.I. Bill shorts reservist

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Proponents for strengthening Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits for the National Guard and Reserve say the critical issue is fairness. Reserve rates, frozen for years, need to be raised. Reserve benefits need to be made as portable as MGIB for active forces, their wartime deployment partners. Not so, said a […]

Public salaries now averaging higher than private sector

Editorial An alarming study by the libertarian Cato Institute suggests that a new class is being created in America — a government working elite with special privileges, quickly outpacing the private sector in the salaries and benefits it receives. The study found that average federal government workers’ total compensation — salary and benefits — now […]

Bill coming due soon on public pension crisis

Editorial When it comes to the mounting nationwide pension crisis, it’s best to follow the advice, “At first, do no harm.” Nationwide, unfunded public and private pension liabilities are at an unfathomable $800 billion. That’s the amount of benefits owed, beyond the funds available to pay them. USA Today reported last month that “taxpayers will […]

Veteran compensation needs overhaul

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Department of Veterans Affairs mismanages its program for rating disabled veterans as “unemployable,” according to a new report by congressional auditors. Because of weak oversight of Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits, some veterans get more compensation than warranted, and the VA is ineffective in moving seriously disabled veterans toward productive […]

Medicare prescription signups slow

By Sen. Pete Domenici: Guest Column The May 15 deadline for signing up for Medicare prescription drug benefits is quickly approaching and there are still thousands of New Mexicans, particularly low-income residents, who have not signed up. Because we built in extra compensations to help poor seniors, I strongly encourage them to act now to […]

Letters to the Editor for April 23, 2006

??r: Immigration is growing into a major issue. Demonstrations have been held in hundreds of cities. When people take to the streets it is often a sign of democracy beginning to flourish. Democracy requires the public be informed and involved, and movements must be inclusive and vibrant. Segments of the business community want access to […]

Getting the most bang for your GI buck

Airman planning to use their Montgomery GI Bill can realize a 2,900 percent return on their initial investment. Janet Taylor-Birkey Planning makes school bill an investor’s financial delight There are few ways to gain a 2,900 percent return on an investment, but tapping into Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits may allow military personnel to see […]

AARP delivers stance on Social Security

By Kevin Wilson The New Mexico chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons is adamant that Social Security does need to be fixed, and they are concerned about a day that the federal program’s expenses will exceed its revenues. Their message to Portales residents in attendance was that private investment accounts are not the […]

RGH employees pick new health plan

By Tony Parra Roosevelt County General Hospital Board members decided to go in a new direction for a health care plan for employees during Thursday’s board meeting. Members decided in favor of changing to a risk management plan similar to the health care plan state policemen, school employees and employees for Roosevelt County have, according […]

Governor looking to curve Medicaid spending

David Arkin Gov. Bill Richardson has proposed a 3.5 percent reduction in payments to providers of medical services in an effort to put a squeeze on Medicaid spending next fiscal year. Health care groups want Medicaid fully funded next year, saying cuts to the program would be devastating. Lawmakers realize they have some tough decisions […]