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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
S. 219: The National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act

S. 219: The National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act

Date: August 12, 2005
Creator: Purcell, Patrick J.
Description: On July 26, 2005, the Senate Finance Committee approved S. 219, the “National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee (NESTEG) Act of 2005,” a bill to reform federal pension laws. This report summarizes the major provisions of the bill, as approved by the Committee.
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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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S. 1783: The Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2005

S. 1783: The Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2005

Date: October 3, 2005
Creator: Purcell, Patrick J.
Description: On September 28, the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions announced that they had reached a compromise on a pension reform bill for consideration by the full Senate. The compromise bill has been introduced as S. 1783, “The Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2005.” S. 1783 combines provisions of S. 219, “The National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act,” reported by the Finance Committee, and “The Defined Benefit Security Act,” reported by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. This report summarizes the major provisions of the compromise bill, as announced by the chairmen and ranking members of the two committees.
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Age Dependency Ratios and Social Security Solvency

Age Dependency Ratios and Social Security Solvency

Date: October 27, 2006
Creator: Shrestha, Laura B.
Description: As highlighted by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the aging of the (United States) population, hastened by the impending retirement of the huge baby-boom generation, has caused policy-makers to question whether the U.S. Social Security system can meet the demands for retirement benefits in the future. Because the current system largely pays benefits through taxes paid by current workers, the financial health of the system is sensitive to the ratio of dependents to workers—sometimes called the age dependency ratio or support ratio. Trends and projections of dependency ratios, including the relationship between both older (years 65 and older) and younger (under age 20) dependents to the working-age population in the United States are considered in the first section of this demographic report. Next, the United States is compared to nine other nations, including the seven other members of the G8. In the final section, policy implications of the changing dependent-to-worker ratios are considered in the context of pay-as-you-go (paygo) social security systems.
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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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Automatic Cost of Living Adjustments: Some Economic and Practical Considerations

Automatic Cost of Living Adjustments: Some Economic and Practical Considerations

Date: January 11, 2010
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Description: This report looks at how automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) influence the budget and identifies major programs that have indexing provisions. It also explains what price indexes attempt to measure and discusses some of their weaknesses. Finally, it points out some practical things to keep in mind when establishing an indexing provision.
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Automatic Enrollment in Section 401(k) Plans

Automatic Enrollment in Section 401(k) Plans

Date: October 14, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses enrollment practices for 401k retirement plans. Historically, most employers that have sponsored retirement savings plans under §401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) have required employees to decide whether to enroll in the plan. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued rulings to inform employers that current law allows them to enroll employees automatically, provided that the employee is notified in advance and is permitted to leave the plan.
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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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Budget Reconciliation and the PBGC

Budget Reconciliation and the PBGC

Date: November 10, 2005
Creator: Renade, Neela K
Description: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) posted a deficit of $23.5 billion as of the latest reporting period, and the deficit is expected to grow further. Major bills introduced in the 109th Congress to reform funding rules for the defined benefit pension system and to raise PBGC premiums include H.R. 2830 and S. 1783. Neither has yet passed the full House or Senate. PBGC premiums are an important source of revenue for meeting the budget reconciliation targets. The House Budget Committee has reported out H.R. 4241, a budget reconciliation package that would raise PBGC premiums. The Senate has passed S. 1932, a budget reconciliation package that also contains PBGC premium increases.
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Can the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Be Restored to Financial Health?

Can the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Be Restored to Financial Health?

Date: December 16, 2004
Creator: Ranade, Neela K
Description: In 2003, the Bush administration made a proposal for reform to strengthen pension plan funding and the financial condition of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Various bills with the goal of reforming the PBGC were proposed in the 108th Congress but none were enacted into law. The doubling of the PBGC deficit from fiscal 2003 to fiscal 2004, has heightened awareness about the PBGC deficit situation. Congressional leaders from both parties have announced their intention to move aggressively on legislative solutions in the 109th Congress.
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Cash Balance Pension Plans: Selected Legal Issues

Cash Balance Pension Plans: Selected Legal Issues

Date: July 29, 2005
Creator: Lunder, Erika & Staman, Jennifer
Description: Over the past few years, cash balance pension plans have received significant attention. In particular, three issues have been controversial: the negative effect of a plan conversion on older employees due to wear-away, the whipsaw effect that may occur when computing a lump-sum payment of benefits prior to normal retirement age, and the claim that these plans violate federal laws prohibiting age discrimination. This report discusses the wear-away and whipsaw issues, a proposal by the Treasury Department that addresses them, and relevant legislation introduced in the 109th Congress (H.R. 2830 and S. 1304).
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Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: November 20, 2015
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. Congressional decisions on this issue could affect Coast Guard funding requirements, the Coast Guard's ability to perform its polar missions, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
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Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Date: April 4, 2016
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Description: This report provides background information and issues for Congress on the sustainment and modernization of the Coast Guard's polar icebreaker fleet. Congress's decisions on this issue could affect Coast Guard funding requirements, the Coast Guard's ability to perform its polar missions, and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
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COLAs for Military Retirees: Summary of Congressional and Executive Branch Action, 1982-2001 (FY1983-FY2002)

COLAs for Military Retirees: Summary of Congressional and Executive Branch Action, 1982-2001 (FY1983-FY2002)

Date: January 2, 2002
Creator: Goldich, Robert L
Description: The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1982 (which applied to FY1983 budget issues) suspended previously existing permanent law pertaining to cost-of-living adjustments(COLAs) for federal civilian and military retirees, and changed the COLA calculation formulas to postpone and/or reduce future COLAs for military retirees during 1983-1985 (FY1984-FY1986).This report examines executive and congressional COLA-related initiatives associated with each of the fiscal year budgeting processes from calendar year 1982 (FY1983) through calendar year 2000 (FY2001).
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COLAs for Military Retirees: Summary of Congressional and Executive Branch Action, 1982-2002 (FY1983-FY2003)

COLAs for Military Retirees: Summary of Congressional and Executive Branch Action, 1982-2002 (FY1983-FY2003)

Date: November 29, 2002
Creator: Goldich, Robert L
Description: The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1982 (which applied to FY1983 budget issues) suspended previously existing permanent law pertaining to cost-of-living adjustments(COLAs) for federal civilian and military retirees, and changed the COLA calculation formulas to postpone and/or reduce future COLAs for military retirees during 1983-1985 (FY1984-FY1986).This report examines executive and congressional COLA-related initiatives associated with each of the fiscal year budgeting processes from calendar year 1982 (FY1983) through calendar year 2000 (FY2001).
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COLAs for Military Retirees: Summary of Congressional and Executive Branch Action, 1982-2003 (FY1983-FY2004)

COLAs for Military Retirees: Summary of Congressional and Executive Branch Action, 1982-2003 (FY1983-FY2004)

Date: January 2, 2004
Creator: Goldich, Robert L
Description: The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1982 (which applied to FY1983 budget issues) suspended previously existing permanent law pertaining to cost-of-living adjustments(COLAs) for federal civilian and military retirees, and changed the COLA calculation formulas to postpone and/or reduce future COLAs for military retirees during 1983-1985 (FY1984-FY1986).This report examines executive and congressional COLA-related initiatives associated with each of the fiscal year budgeting processes from calendar year 1982 (FY1983) through calendar year 2000 (FY2001).
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A Comparison of Benefits Earned Under Social Security and Civil Service Retirement

A Comparison of Benefits Earned Under Social Security and Civil Service Retirement

Date: August 2, 1982
Creator: Snook, Dennis W
Description: This report provides a brief side-by-side comparison of Civil Service Retirement and Social Security benefits.
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Concurrent Receipt of Military Retirement and VA Disability Benefits: Budgetary Issues

Concurrent Receipt of Military Retirement and VA Disability Benefits: Budgetary Issues

Date: November 15, 2002
Creator: Belasco, Amy
Description: House and Senate conferees on the FY2003 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4546) are currently considering provisions that would lift the longstanding prohibition on concurrent receipt (simultaneous payment) of Department of Defense (DoD) retired pay and Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) disability benefits. The House-passed bill would phase in partial concurrent receipt by providing both retirement and VA benefits for those with disabilities of 60 percent or above by FY2007. The Senate-passed bill provides full concurrent receipt for military retirees with any disability rating in FY2003.
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Concurrent Receipt of Military Retirement and VA Disability Benefits: Budgetary Issues

Concurrent Receipt of Military Retirement and VA Disability Benefits: Budgetary Issues

Date: October 3, 2002
Creator: Belasco, Amy
Description: House and Senate conferees on the FY2003 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4546) are currently considering provisions that would lift the longstanding prohibition on concurrent receipt (simultaneous payment) of Department of Defense (DoD) retired pay and Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) disability benefits. The House-passed bill would phase in partial concurrent receipt by providing both retirement and VA benefits for those with disabilities of 60 percent or above by FY2007. The Senate-passed bill provides full concurrent receipt for military retirees with any disability rating in FY2003.
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Congressional Salaries and Allowances

Congressional Salaries and Allowances

Date: January 15, 2013
Creator: Brudnick, Ida A.
Description: This report provides basic information on congressional salaries and allowances and recent developments. First, the report briefly summarizes the current salary of Members of Congress; limits or prohibitions on their outside earned income, honoraria, and tax deductions; options for life and health insurance; and retirement benefits. Second, the report provides information on allowances available to Representatives and Senators to support them in their official and representational duties.
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Congressional Salaries and Allowances

Congressional Salaries and Allowances

Date: August 5, 2004
Creator: Dwyer, Paul E.
Description: This report provides basic information on congressional salaries and allowances. First, the report briefly summarizes the current salary of Members of Congress, limits on their outside earned income and honoraria, and applicable health insurance and retirement benefits. Second, it provides information on allowances available to Representatives and Senators to support them in their official and representational duties as Members. Third, it provides the salaries and allowances available to the Speaker of the House and the Vice President, as President of the Senate, and lists the salaries of congressional officers and officials and committee staff.
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Congressional Salaries and Allowances: In Brief

Congressional Salaries and Allowances: In Brief

Date: December 30, 2014
Creator: Brudnick, Ida A.
Description: This report provides basic information on congressional salaries and allowances and recent developments. First, the report briefly summarizes the current salary of Members of Congress; limits or prohibitions on their outside earned income, honoraria, and tax deductions; options for life and health insurance; and retirement benefits. Second, the report provides information on allowances available to Representatives and Senators to support them in their official and representational duties.
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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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Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities

Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities

Date: November 1, 2013
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Description: This report discusses the 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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