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Until now, there has never been a comprehensive, easy-to-understand handbook for federal employees and retirees that fully explains not only Social Security and Medicare but also how they dovetail (and, in some cases, conflict) with the federal government's retirement and health insurance programs. Social Security and Medicare are easily the two most misunderstood benefits that federal employees, postal workers and retirees have, but it's vital that you understand just what types of benefits you're accumulating, what level of benefits and when you stand to receive them, what provisions might reduce or even eliminate them, and how they interact with your other benefits-in sum, how to best position yourselves to get the most out of these two key programs. Federal employees and retirees have a large stake in the outcome, even though they have separate retirement and health insurance programs. Those programs are intertwined with both Social Security and Medicare. Social Security functions in a very different way than does the civil service retirement program, with many traps lying in wait for the unwary. Also, the Medicare prescription drug benefit also raises new questions for federal employees and retirees regarding whether they should keep coverage under both programs in retirement - as most have traditionally done - or whether they should instead place all their eggs in the Medicare basket, saving on the cost of maintaining FEHB coverage.