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News of interest to ARCRA members

  • 02/07/2019 12:04 PM | Anonymous

    Members of the ARCRA Executive Committee, Michael Carroll, Dave Therkelsen, Jim Hamilton and Jack Campbell and ARCRA Administrator Christie Phillips met on January 24 with Red Cross President/CEO Gail McGovern; CFO Brian Rhoa; Chief Human Resources Officer, Melissa Hurst; VP, Total Rewards and Policy, Mike Nichols; Director, Benefits and Retirement Programs, Gary Stradiotto; and others from the Benefits section. We’ll be sharing what we learned about plans to keep the Retirement System strong in eNewsletters and The Retiree in the coming months.

    President/CEO Gail McGovern briefed ARCRA on current Red Cross activities including a number of unique and challenging disasters. Her description of the hardships caused by the wildfire in Paradise, CA and the complexities of the relief operation were particularly compelling. She also reaffirmed Red Cross’s firm commitment to keeping the pension fund sound noting that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires the organization to do so. The ARCRA team briefed Gail on ARCRA activities and conveyed that in addition to our top priority of representing retirees, we have a strong commitment to keeping our members up to date on Red Cross activities, and encouraging them to volunteer, donate blood and contribute financially.

    In ARCRA meetings with the Benefits Team, we identified a number of opportunities for Red Cross to assist membership efforts by getting ARCRA information in front of Red Cross employees who may have begun thinking about retirement including those whose eventual benefit will come from the Savings Plan or in an optional lump-sum pay-out. Each team has some follow-up work; we’ll keep our membership posted on developments.

    ARCRA came away from this meeting feeling like our Red Cross leaders were candid and conveyed genuine interest in retirees and ARCRA, the organization that represents them. More to come.


  • 02/03/2019 2:47 PM | Anonymous


    As if taxes weren’t confusing enough, this year the new tax rules take effect for our 2018 tax filings,  AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free, individualized tax preparation for low-to moderate-income taxpayers - especially those 50 and older - at nearly 5,000 locations nationwide. The program is funded through grants from AARP Foundation and the Internal Revenue Service. Find a location near you by searching below.

    Before visiting a Tax-Aide site, please note:

    • You will need to bring your important documents to the site. Access the complete list.
    • Federal Tax assistance is available at all locations. State tax assistance is available at all locations in your state for in-state residents, and may be available to out-of-state residents in select neighboring states. Please contact sites in your neighboring state to confirm availability.
    • Site hours are subject to change on a weekly basis. Therefore, please check again the day before you plan to go to the site.

    The tax preparers, called counselors, receive about five days of training and IRS certification on basic tax preparation and issues.  If you have been doing your own taxes, are comfortable with numbers and computers, and working with the public being a volunteer tax preparer might be a great opportunity. 

    To find a Tax-Aide location near you or to volunteer, call 1-888-227-7669 or visit www.aarp.org/findtaxhelp


  • 01/01/2019 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Here’s to a wonderful 2019 for you!  And renewing your ARCRA membership is a great way to start it off.  Many Annual Members have a renewal date of January 1 each year, and in the coming weeks, those members who have not yet renewed will be receiving some friendly reminders.  If you have received a renewal message in December/January and have not yet renewed, we sincerely hope you will take a brief minute to renew your membership with ARCRA!  

    Need to renew but aren’t sure how?  It’s easy:

    • To renew or upgrade to Lifetime Membership by credit card, go to

    www.arcretireeassoc.org and click on Join/Renew

    • To renew or upgrade to Lifetime Membership by check, make checks payable to the ARC Retiree Association, and mail to ARCRA, PO BOX 1581, Vienna, VA 22180

    If you would like to check the status of your membership, log in to the ARCRA website www.arcretireeassoc.org and click on your name at the top of the screen. Your Profile will show when your renewal is due!


  • 10/29/2018 6:28 PM | Deleted user

    Everyday dozens of individuals get taken for a ride, believing the person on the phone is calling from Microsoft. Don’t be fooled into paying good money to a stranger who does nothing, or worse, giving access to your computer, passwords and financial information to a SCAMMER.

    You get the call from MICROSOFT.  It starts out as a friendly exchange. When he calls, he sounds real. He is smooth, but he has had plenty of practice.

    If you play along a bit, he will have you hold the Windows key down and press the "R" key. This will bring up a dialog box, into which he will tell you what to type. This will take you to an error log, which will typically show many low level harmless self-correcting errors that your computer logs every minute. This is to gain your trust, and convince you that your computer is malfunctioning.

    Then, he will direct you to a web page where you will download software which gives him remote access to your entire computer, so he can "fix things." He will guide you through the steps to marry your computers together. He will pretend to fix things, and perhaps ask for your credit card for a small payment. Then, he politely says "Good bye." During the conversation, he has downloaded the entire documents section of your computer. He will at leisure browse all your communications, banking, and everything else. You shouldn't store your passwords on your computer, but we all do that, and he knows it. He can and will go into your on-line bank accounts and clean them out.

    The moral of the story…When Microsoft calls, hang up.


  • 10/29/2018 6:20 PM | Deleted user
    (taken from quarterly update of Shaun Gilmore, Chief Transformation Officer)

    Red Cross has made continued progress on the Integrated Community Engagement Initiative which aligns Biomedical Services blood-drive sponsor recruitment roles with Humanitarian Services community-facing roles.  Currently, there are three beta locations testing the new business model.  The reviews have focused on South Carolina and Utah/Nevada, which launched first and have been operating under the new model since May 1.  The third beta site, Missouri/Arkansas has been delayed until November. Remarkably, South Carolina has been able to successfully continue beta operations while responding to Hurricane Florence and now Michael and is assessing work during a large-scale disaster response. 

    The timeline for the national rollout is being developed based on feedback from the various stakeholder groups involved in the beta sites.  The process is taking longer than expected due to the intense and complex integration process.


  • 09/28/2018 9:37 PM | Deleted user

    Region Representatives  play the important role of supporting our 20 Affiliated Groups located around the country. Positions in the Northeast (CT, DE, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, PR, RI, VT & U.S. Virgin Islands) and the Midwest (IA, IL, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI, IN, KY, MI, OH) are either open now or will be in January 2019. To receive a job description and additional information, email ARCRA President Michael Carroll  at carrollm1298@gmail.com. Although some time and enthusiasm are required, these positions are not overly burdensome and offer the reward of helping Red Cross retirees to stay connected through participation in a Group’s activities

  • 09/28/2018 9:29 PM | Deleted user

    You may have heard that new Medicare cards are being mailed to everyone with Medicare. Hang tight — mailing takes some time across the country, and you might get your card at a different time than friends or neighbors in your state. In fact, spouses living at the same address may get their cards at different times if they signed up for Medicare in different years. In the meantime, keep using your current Medicare card until your new one arrives.

    There are 3 ways to find out when you should expect your new Medicare card in the mail:

    • Check out the map on Medicare.gov/NewCard.
    • Keep an eye on your email for an email notice when new Medicare cards start mailing in your state.
    • Log in to your MyMedicare.gov account to see if your new card has mailed. Don’t have an account yet? Sign up now at MyMedicare.gov —  it’s a free and secure access all your Medicare information.

    Here are 10 things you should know  about your new Medicare card.


  • 09/28/2018 9:22 PM | Deleted user

    Do you feel bogged down by your stuff?  Fully 48 percent of Americans say that their homes are full of stuff that they no longer need or use.  Some 9.4 percent of us are renting storage units to house our stuff.  The Journal Environment and Behavior found that students living with a cluttered and disorganized kitchen ate almost three times as many cookies as students living with an organized one.

    Take Charge of your clutter in 4 easy steps.  Start small with a closet or chest of drawers or designate ten to fifteen minutes a day to declutter.

    Start by putting things in one of four boxes:

    1.    KEEP-things you regularly use

    2.    SELL/DONATE-things you no longer use, are in good shape and might be of value or needed by someone else

    3.    TRASH-broken, dirty, and unusable items-remove to the trash can immediately

    4.    STORE-things with which you cannot bear to part

    Read more on the clutter study and link between clutter and overeating.


  • 09/07/2018 11:02 AM | Deleted user

    by Jenelle Eli, American Red Cross August 27, 2018

    Senator John McCain—a long-serving legislator and a fierce advocate of the Geneva Conventions—passed away on Saturday, August 25, at the age of 81. During his time as a lawmaker in the United States, Senator McCain consistently spoke out against torture and urged for humanity in war. His life and legacy has profoundly influenced United States law and policy, and left an impression on the hearts of many.

    His experience as a detainee during the Vietnam War forged his convictions about the rights of prisoners and inspired him to speak out against torture.

    “War is wretched beyond description, and only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality. The Geneva Conventions and the Red Cross were created in response to the stark recognition of the true horrors of unbounded war. And I thank God for that. I am thankful for those of us whose dignity, health and lives have been protected by the Conventions,” remarked Senator McCain in 1999.

    Senator McCain continued, “I am certain we all would have been a lot worse off if there had not been the Geneva Conventions around which an international consensus formed about some very basic standards of decency that should apply even amid the cruel excesses of war. Again, I am proud to salute the promise of humanity represented by the Conventions and the Red Cross. And I accept with gratitude my personal debt to everyone involved in defending human dignity with courage and dedication.

    Senator McCain’s advocacy for the greater good is best articulated by the man himself, who said at a celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, “I discovered that nothing is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself; something that encompasses you, but is not defined by your existence alone.”

    The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are international treaties that contain the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war. They protect people who do not take part in the fighting, such as humanitarian aid workers, medics, and civilians—and those who can no longer fight, such wounded, sick and shipwrecked soldiers and as prisoners of war.

    They form the core of International Humanitarian Law: a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restrict the means and methods of warfare. Learn more about the Geneva Conventions here.


  • 08/30/2018 4:34 PM | Deleted user

    (You must be a member and logged into the site to read the full Annuities Primer)

    As of last fall, many Red Cross retirees are receiving their benefits in the form of an annuity, in most cases from Athene, Aetna or John Hancock Financial.  ARCRA has created an Annuities Primer on its website that explains what it means to retirees to have their benefits provided through an annuity rather than through the American Red Cross defined benefit pension plan.  Basically, an annuity is a contract.  For a lump sum payment up front, an insurance company agrees to make periodic payments over the life of the contract.  In this case, the contract guarantees payments to Red Cross retirees for the remainder of their life.  In 1989, and again in 2017, Red Cross shifted some of its legal obligation to provide pension benefits out of the defined benefit pension plan and into annuities.

    ARCRA has looked into the State Guaranty Associations that provide a safety net for annuity recipients by guarantying the payment of your pension in the extremely unlikely event that the financial institution who provides your monthly annuity payment fail. You can find this Annuities Primer in the members section of the ARCRA website.   Read more about how State Guarantee Associations work to protect your ARC pension benefit


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