If you talk about anything long enough, you eventually sound insane.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Important Information for Federal Benefits Recipients

Here is the latest ACS Message.

U.S. Embassy Panama

Consular Section

Federal Benefits Unit

Important Information for Federal Benefits Recipients


2017 Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)

We are pleased to announce that there will be a 0.3 percent benefit increase in 2017 for Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) benefit recipients, effective December 1, 2016.  The increase will be reflected on payments made in January 2017.

SSA information:

  •             Medicare changes for 2017, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov.
  •             If you are over age 65 and are not enrolled in Medicare Part B and wish to do so, the general enrollment period is from January 1st through March 31st.  The coverage will begin on July 1st.    You will need to complete the enrollment form, which you can download at:https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/Downloads/CMS40B-E.pdf.

OPM Information:

  •             OPM has announced that the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Open Season will begin on November 14th and runs through December 12th , 2016.    During Open Season, anyone eligible to participate in the FEHB Program may enroll, change health plans or options, or cancel their FEHB enrollment.  For instructions for making open season changes, please visit the following link https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/enrollment/
  •              For the 2017 health benefits open season information and premiums, please visit the following link: www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/premiums/2017/nonpostal-ffs.pdf.   The effective date of the open season changes and new premiums will be January 1st , 2017.  The changes will be reflected in the payment dated February 1st, 2017.

Please note that an appointment will be required for all services at the Federal Benefits Unit.  You can schedule an appointment by sending an e-mail to Panama-FBU@State.Gov.

I always feel better when my doctor says something is normal for my age but then think dying will also be normal for my age at some point.

A Worthwhile Read


I am going to post a Go Fund Me post for a friend of mine that has always been an inspiration to me. If you feel moved by his story, feel free to contribute. While he has reached his small goal, you will see that he can use more.

If you don’t feel like contributing, then you might be willing to buy one of his books (Rolling Uphill). I gave each of my grandkids a copy last year for Christmas.

Joe and I worked together in EDS in the 70’s. I never saw him without a smile on his face.

It’s Time to Vote


The other day I mentioned that Rubi Ciana is up for the Héros of Panama. It is now time to vote and you can vote on an hourly basis.

There was an $8,000 award for being nominated and there will be another $30,000 for the winner.

The McCormack Foundation will be able to help a lot of folks if Rubi wins.

To vote, click HERE and vote often. You do not need to be in Panama to vote. As the graphic says, voting stops on November 20.

Reminder on Voting: NO Embassy deadline on accepting ballots

I received the following message that was sent to all Wardens for the US Embassy in Panama City. I see nothing in it that should prevent it from being distributed.

Good Afternoon Wardens,

I hope you are doing well and are excited about election season. As we get closer to election day, we have been getting complaints from some U.S. Citizens stating that they are hearing that the Embassy is not accepting ballots after today, October 26th. If you get questions about this, please let people know that the Embassy will accept all ballots delivered to the Embassy after October 26, 2016. All ballots will be sent to the U.S. via the diplomatic pouch with transit time between Panama and the U.S. taking up to 7 days. People should take into consideration this transit time along with the deadlines set by their home state for receiving ballots from abroad. U.S. citizens can drop off an FPCA or completed ballot in person at the U.S. Embassy in Panama between 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday and between 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on Friday.

They should make a drug that just replicates the feeling of everyone finally boarding a flight but the seat next to you is still empty.

Message for U.S. Citizens: Consular Section will be closed to the public the second Wednesday of each month

Here is the latest message from the ACS.

The Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Panama City would like to inform U.S. Citizens living in Panama that the Consular Section will be closed to the public every second Wendesday of the month, starting November 9, for professional development and training. We will not schedule any appointments, accept routine calls, or return passports on these training days. Of course, consular staff will be available to provide assistance to U.S. Citizens in emergency situations.


The Consular Section