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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Date: August 31, 2006
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: According to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), the number of private-sector workers between the ages of 25 and 64 whose employer sponsored a retirement plan fell from 53.1 million in 2004 to 52.5 million in 2005. This report analyzes the Current Population Survey and describes several elements, including: 1) the percentage of workers whose employer sponsored a retirement plan; 2) the percentage of workers who participated in an employer-sponsored retirement plan; 3) the likelihood of black, Hispanic, and other non-white workers to participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan; and 4) the percentage of part-year or part-time workers in the private sector whose employer sponsored a retirement plan.
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues

Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues

Date: June 1, 2006
Creator: Henning, Charles A.
Description: The military retirement system includes benefits for retirement after an active or reserve military career, disability retirement, and survivor benefits for eligible survivors of deceased retirees. The change to the system that has generated the most recent legislative activity involves whether some or all military retirees should be allowed to receive both military retired pay and any VA disability compensation to which they are otherwise entitled; this is referred to as "concurrent receipt." Starting in 1999 (FY2000), provisions in each year's annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorized payments to comparatively small groups (in the tens of thousands) of military retirees in lieu of concurrent receipt. The most significant military retirement issue Congress dealt with in 2005 was whether military retirees with a 100% VA unemployability rating, but less than a 100% disability rating, should be entitled to full concurrent receipt as was provided to 100% disability retirees in 2004.
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The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet

The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet

Date: August 7, 2006
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 authorized a non-refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 for eligible individuals who contribute to an IRA or an employer-sponsored retirement plan. The maximum credit is 50% of retirement contributions up to $2,000. This credit can reduce the amount of taxes owed, but the tax credit itself is non-refundable. The maximum credit is the lesser of either $1,000 or the tax that the individual would have owed without the credit. Eligibility is based on the taxpayer's adjusted gross income. The eligible income brackets are not indexed to inflation. Taxpayers under age 18 or who are full-time students are not eligible for the credit.
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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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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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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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Brief Facts About Congressional Pensions

Brief Facts About Congressional Pensions

Date: January 13, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick J.
Description: This report contains a table that lists the number of retired Members of Congress and the average amount of congressional pension they receive in retirement.
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Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969

Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969

Date: January 8, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: Under the terms of the Federal Employees' Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-509), pay for civilian federal employees is adjusted each year to keep the salaries of federal workers competitive with comparable occupations in the private sector. The annual increases in federal employee pay are based on changes in the cash compensation paid to workers in the private sector, as measured by the ECI. Under certain circumstances, the President may limit the annual increase in federal pay by executive order. Federal law also requires Social Security benefits and the pensions paid to retired federal employees to be adjusted each year. The COLAs for both Social Security and civil service pensions are based on the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI.
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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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401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

Date: July 14, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick & Topoleski, John J.
Description: Over the past 25 years, defined contribution (DC) plans - including 401(k) plans - have become the most prevalent form of employer-sponsored retirement plan in the United States. This report describes seven major policy issues with respect to defined contribution plans: 1) access to employer-sponsored retirement plans; 2) participation in employer-sponsored plans; 3) contribution rates; 4) investment choices; 5) fee disclosure; 6) leakage from retirement savings; and 7) converting retirement savings into income.
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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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Military Retirement and Veterans' Compensation: Concurrent Receipt Issues

Military Retirement and Veterans' Compensation: Concurrent Receipt Issues

Date: April 7, 1995
Creator: Goldich, Robert L.
Description: This report describes the history and background of the offset and the legislative history of recent attempts to eliminate or reduce the offset. It delineates and analyzes the arguments for and against eliminating or reducing the offset and allowing concurrent receipt, and addresses the issues of costs, precedents in other Federal programs, purposes of the two programs, and equity issues. Finally, options other than full concurrent receipt are mentioned.
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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 ยง401(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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Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969

Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969

Date: January 20, 2010
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: Under the terms of the Federal Employees' Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-509), pay for civilian federal employees is adjusted each year to keep the salaries of federal workers competitive with comparable occupations in the private sector. The annual increases in federal employee pay are based on changes in the cash compensation paid to workers in the private sector, as measured by the ECI. Under certain circumstances, the President may limit the annual increase in federal pay by executive order. Federal law also requires Social Security benefits and the pensions paid to retired federal employees to be adjusted each year. The COLAs for both Social Security and civil service pensions are based on the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI.
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Veterans Affairs: Benefits for Service-Connected Disabilities

Veterans Affairs: Benefits for Service-Connected Disabilities

Date: November 1, 2010
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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Veterans' Benefits: Pension Benefit Programs

Veterans' Benefits: Pension Benefit Programs

Date: October 18, 2010
Creator: Scott, Christine & Davis, Carol D.
Description: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers several pension benefit programs for veterans as well as their surviving spouses and dependent children. The most current pension programs available (for those meeting the eligibility criteria on or after January 1, 1979) are the Improved Disability Pension for certain low-income veterans and the Improved Death Pension for certain low-income surviving spouses or children of veterans. There is also a special pension for Medal of Honor recipients. This report describes these programs, including the eligibility criteria and current benefit levels. This report will be updated as needed to reflect legislative activity and changes to benefits or eligibility requirements.
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Veterans' Benefits: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for Survivors

Veterans' Benefits: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for Survivors

Date: October 18, 2010
Creator: Scott, Christine
Description: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers directly, or in conjunction with other federal agencies, several benefits for surviving spouses, children, and dependent parents of deceased veterans to provide them with financial, educational, and emotional support. Among these various programs, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly tax-free cash payment for eligible surviving spouses, children, and dependent parents. This report outlines the eligibility requirements and benefit levels for DIC, the policy issues associated with DIC, and legislation in the 111th Congress related to DIC.
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Veterans' Benefits: Burial Benefits and National Cemeteries

Veterans' Benefits: Burial Benefits and National Cemeteries

Date: October 18, 2010
Creator: Scott, Christine
Description: This report provides a descriptive analysis of both nonmonetary and monetary burial veterans' benefits and national cemeteries. It addresses congressional and constituent issues, such as who is eligible to receive burial benefits; who can be buried in a national cemetery; what plans does the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have to build new or expand existing national cemeteries; and what benefits does the VA provide, among others.
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Regulating Private Pensions: A Brief Summary of ERISA

Regulating Private Pensions: A Brief Summary of ERISA

Date: January 15, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report briefly discusses the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and how it protects the interests of participants and beneficiaries in private-sector employee benefit plans. ERISA covers a number of fringe benefits provided by employers, but most of its provisions deal with pension plans. Pension plans sponsored by the federal, state, and local governments, or by churches generally are exempt from ERISA.
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Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities

Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities

Date: October 15, 2010
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S. Periods of War

U.S. Periods of War

Date: September 14, 2010
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. 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Veterans' Benefits: Pension Benefit Programs

Veterans' Benefits: Pension Benefit Programs

Date: January 4, 2011
Creator: Scott, Christine & Davis, Carol D.
Description: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers several pension benefit programs for veterans as well as their surviving spouses and dependent children. The most current pension programs available (for those meeting the eligibility criteria on or after January 1, 1979) are the Improved Disability Pension for certain low-income veterans and the Improved Death Pension for certain low-income surviving spouses or children of veterans. There is also a special pension for Medal of Honor recipients. This report describes these programs, including the eligibility criteria and current benefit levels. This report will be updated as needed to reflect legislative activity and changes to benefits or eligibility requirements.
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Veterans Affairs: A Preliminary Analysis of the FY2012 Appropriations Request

Veterans Affairs: A Preliminary Analysis of the FY2012 Appropriations Request

Date: March 15, 2011
Creator: Scott, Christine & Panangala, Sidath Viranga
Description: This report provides a preliminary analysis of the President's budget request for FY2012 for the programs administered by the VA. This report is not an exhaustive discussion of VA's budget request for FY2012. A full CRS report on FY2012 VA budget and appropriations issues is planned after initial congressional consideration of appropriations legislation.
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Federal Employees: Pension COLAs and Pay Adjustments Since 1969

Federal Employees: Pension COLAs and Pay Adjustments Since 1969

Date: December 7, 2010
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Description: Congress has linked adjustments in federal pay to the ECI so that wages for federal employees will remain competitive with wages paid by firms in the private sector. Under the terms of the Federal Employees' Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-509), pay for civilian federal employees is adjusted each year to keep the salaries of federal workers competitive with comparable occupations in the private sector. These annual adjustments in federal employee pay-which are distinct from any pay raises associated with within-grade step increases or promotions to a higher pay grade-are based on changes in the cash compensation paid to workers in the private sector, as measured by the ECI. Under certain circumstances, the President may limit the annual increase in federal pay by executive order.
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