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 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2008
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments

Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments

Date: November 17, 2008
Creator: Henning, Charles A.
Description: This report discusses the military retirement system. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
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Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: A Fact Sheet

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: A Fact Sheet

Date: January 29, 2008
Creator: Topoleski, John J.
Description: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal government agency established in 1974 by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) (P.L. 93- 406). It was created to protect the pensions of participants and beneficiaries covered by private sector, defined benefit (DB) plans. These pension plans provide a specified monthly benefit at retirement, usually either a percent of salary or a flat dollar amount multiplied by years of service. Defined contribution plans, such as §401(k) plans, are not insured. The PBGC is chaired by the Secretary of Labor, with the Secretaries of Treasury and Commerce serving as board members.
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Annuities and the Securities and Exchange Commission Proposed Rule 151A

Annuities and the Securities and Exchange Commission Proposed Rule 151A

Date: October 22, 2008
Creator: Webel, Baird
Description: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently released a proposed rule that would effectively reclassify equity indexed annuities as a security product in addition to being an insurance product. This report presents the different types of annuities, explains the taxation of annuities, and disentangles the federal and state roles in the regulation of annuities. It outlines the proposed SEC rule and its current status.
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Summary of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

Summary of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

Date: April 10, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick & Staman, Jennifer
Description: The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) provides a comprehensive federal scheme for the regulation of employee pension and welfare benefit plans offered by employers. ERISA contains various provisions intended to protect the rights of plan participants and beneficiaries in employee benefit plans. These protections include requirements relating to reporting and disclosure, participation, vesting, and benefit accrual, as well as plan funding. ERISA also regulates the responsibilities of plan fiduciaries and other issues regarding plan administration. ERISA contains various standards that a plan must meet in order to receive favorable tax treatment, and also governs plan termination. This report provides background on the pension laws prior to ERISA, discusses various types of employee benefit plans governed by ERISA, provides an overview of ERISA’s requirements, and includes a glossary of commonly used terms.
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Former Presidents: Pensions, Office Allowances, and Other Federal Benefits

Former Presidents: Pensions, Office Allowances, and Other Federal Benefits

Date: August 22, 2008
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy
Description: This report describes the benefits Presidents receive upon leaving office, details the history of the Former Presidents Act (FPA), and analyzes some legislative options for the 110th Congress related to former Presidents.
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Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities

Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities

Date: October 16, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are based on the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). All CSRS retirees and survivors receive COLAs. Under FERS, however, non-disabled retirees under age 62 do not receive COLAs. This report discusses cost-of-living adjustments for government retirees, as well as related legislation.
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Converting Retirement Savings into Income: Annuities and Periodic Withdrawals

Converting Retirement Savings into Income: Annuities and Periodic Withdrawals

Date: December 1, 2008
Creator: Mulvey, Janemarie & Purcell, Patrick
Description: To a worker contemplating retirement, there is perhaps no more important question than "How long will my money last?" Congress has a strong interest in the income security of older Americans because much of their income is either provided directly from public programs like Social Security, or in the case of pensions and retirement accounts, is subsidized through tax deductions and deferrals. This report discusses risks involved with retirement fund disbursement and strategies for dealing with such risks.
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Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Date: September 8, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses trends that will affect the economic well-being of future retirees.
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Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Investment Policy: Issues for Congress

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Investment Policy: Issues for Congress

Date: September 8, 2008
Creator: Kinneen, Kelly & Purcell, Patrick
Description: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is a federal corporation established under Title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It insures private pension beneficiaries against the complete loss of accrued benefits if their defined benefit pension plan is terminated without adequate funding. It receives no appropriations from general revenue. Its operations are financed by insurance premiums set by Congress and paid by sponsors of defined benefit plans, investment income from the assets in its trust fund, and recoveries from the companies formerly responsible for the trusted plans.
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Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Date: January 14, 2008
Creator: Haltzel, Laura
Description: This report discusses the windfall elimination provision (WEP), which reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who also have pension benefits from employment not covered by Social Security. Its purpose is to remove an advantage these workers would otherwise receive because of Social Security’s benefit formula that favors workers with smaller amounts of Social Security-covered career earnings. Opponents contend that the provision is basically imprecise and often unfair.
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Veterans' Benefits: Issues in the 110th Congress

Veterans' Benefits: Issues in the 110th Congress

Date: August 15, 2008
Creator: Davis, Carol D.; Loane, Shannon S.; Peterson, Meredith; Scott, Christine; Perl, Libby & Weimer, Douglas Reid
Description: This report discusses veterans' benefits issues that are already part of the legislative agenda for the 110th Congress or are likely to be of interest to Congress. These benefits and issues fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Also presented in this report are an overview of the benefits and their eligibility requirements, data on both the veteran population and the benefit population, and summary information on the FY2008 budget for veterans' benefits.
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Veterans Affairs: Benefits for Service-Connected Disabilities

Veterans Affairs: Benefits for Service-Connected Disabilities

Date: May 15, 2008
Creator: Weimer, Douglas Reid
Description: This report describes disability compensation, which is a benefit Congress provides to American veterans and their dependents through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Disability compensation is a monthly cash benefit program for veterans currently impaired from past service-connected activities.
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Overview of Filipino Veterans' Benefits

Overview of Filipino Veterans' Benefits

Date: October 10, 2008
Creator: Panangala, Sidath Viranga; Scott, Christine & Davis, Carol D.
Description: This report defines the four specific groups of Filipino nationals who served under the command of the United States. It also outlines the Rescission Acts of 1946, benefit changes since 1946, current benefits for Filipino veterans by group, and recent legislative proposals and legislation.
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Veterans' Benefits: Issues in the 110th Congress

Veterans' Benefits: Issues in the 110th Congress

Date: October 16, 2008
Creator: Davis, Carol D.; Loane, Shannon S.; Scott, Christine; Perl, Libby; Smole, David P. & Weimer, Douglas Reid
Description: This report provides a general discussion of veterans' benefits issues that are part of the legislative agenda of the 110th Congress or are likely to be of legislative interest. Among those issues are disability compensation and pensions; education benefits; homelessness; life insurance; the status or eligibility of groups such as U.S. merchant seamen and World War II Filipino veterans for veterans' benefits; Reserve and National Guard eligibility for veterans' benefits; the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims; and legal representation for veterans. For each issue, an overview is provided, along with summaries of pertinent pending legislation. In addition, an overview of the benefits and their eligibility requirements, demographics for both the veteran population and the benefit population, and summary data on the FY2008 budget for veterans' benefits are provided.
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Social Security: The Cost-of-Living Adjustment in January 2009

Social Security: The Cost-of-Living Adjustment in January 2009

Date: October 16, 2008
Creator: Sidor, Gary
Description: The 5.8% COLA payable in January 2009 was triggered by the rise in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2007 to the third quarter of 2008. This COLA triggers identical percentage increases in Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans' pensions, and railroad retirement benefits, and causes other changes in the Social Security program. Although COLAs under the federal Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the federal military retirement program are not triggered by the Social Security COLA, these programs use the same measuring period and formula for computing their COLAs. Their recipients will also receive a 5.8% COLA in January 2009.
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Veterans Benefits: An Overview

Veterans Benefits: An Overview

Date: June 25, 2008
Creator: Davis, Carol D.; Panangala, Sidath Viranga & Scott, Christine
Description: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide range of benefits and services to eligible veterans, members of their families, and survivors of deceased veterans. VA programs include disability compensation and pensions, readjustment benefits, and health care programs. The VA also provides life insurance, burial benefits, housing and other loan guaranty programs, and special counseling and outreach programs. While eligibility for specific benefits varies, veterans generally must meet requirements related to discharge type and length of active duty military service. This report provides an overview of major VA benefits and the VA budget.
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Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress

Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress

Date: October 28, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses the Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-215) that established a pension system for federal employees in the executive branch of government.
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ERISA’s Impact on Medical Malpractice and Negligence Claims Against Managed Care Plans

ERISA’s Impact on Medical Malpractice and Negligence Claims Against Managed Care Plans

Date: February 21, 2008
Creator: Shimabukuro, Jon O.
Description: This report examines the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which provides a comprehensive federal scheme for the regulation of employee pension and welfare benefit plans offered by employers. While ERISA does not require an employer to offer pension and welfare benefits, it does mandate compliance with its provisions if such benefits are offered. Congress enacted ERISA to eliminate the conflicting and inconsistent regulation of pension and employee welfare benefit plans by state laws. The provisions at issue in the preemption debate are sections 502(a) and 514(a) of ERISA.
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U.S. Periods of War

U.S. Periods of War

Date: August 19, 2008
Creator: Torreon, Barbara Salazar
Description: Many wars or conflicts in U.S. history have federally designated "periods of war," dates marking their beginning and ending. These dates are important for qualification for certain veterans' pension or disability benefits. This report lists the beginning and ending dates for "periods of war" found in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It also lists and differentiates other beginning dates given in declarations of war, as well as termination of hostilities' dates and armistice and ending dates given in proclamations, laws, or treaties.
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