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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits

Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits

Date: May 17, 2010
Creator: Nuschler, Dawn & Shelton, Alison M.
Description: Social Security benefits received before a person attains full retirement age (FRA) are subject to an actuarial reduction for early retirement and also may be reduced by the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test (RET) if the beneficiary has earnings that exceed an annual threshold. This report explains how the RET is applied under current law and provides detailed benefit examples to show how the RET affects both the worker beneficiary and any family members (auxiliary beneficiaries) who receive benefits based on the worker beneficiary’s record. The report points out features of the RET that are not widely known or understood, such as the recomputation of benefits when a beneficiary attains FRA to adjust (increase) benefits to take into account months for which no benefit or a partial benefit was paid as a result of the RET. Finally, the report discusses policy issues related to the RET, including recent research on the effect of the RET on work effort and the decision to claim Social Security benefits.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits

Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits

Date: January 14, 2011
Creator: Nuschler, Dawn & Shelton, Alison M.
Description: Social Security benefits received before a person attains full retirement age (FRA) are subject to an actuarial reduction for early retirement and also may be reduced by the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test (RET) if the beneficiary has earnings that exceed an annual threshold. This report explains how the RET is applied under current law and provides detailed benefit examples to show how the RET affects both the worker beneficiary and any family members (auxiliary beneficiaries) who receive benefits based on the worker beneficiary’s record. The report points out features of the RET that are not widely known or understood, such as the recomputation of benefits when a beneficiary attains FRA to adjust (increase) benefits to take into account months for which no benefit or a partial benefit was paid as a result of the RET. Finally, the report discusses policy issues related to the RET, including recent research on the effect of the RET on work effort and the decision to claim Social Security benefits.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits

Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits

Date: January 4, 2012
Creator: Nuschler, Dawn & Shelton, Alison M.
Description: Social Security benefits received before a person attains full retirement age (FRA) are subject to an actuarial reduction for early retirement and also may be reduced by the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test (RET) if the beneficiary has earnings that exceed an annual threshold. This report explains how the RET is applied under current law and provides detailed benefit examples to show how the RET affects both the worker beneficiary and any family members (auxiliary beneficiaries) who receive benefits based on the worker beneficiary’s record. The report points out features of the RET that are not widely known or understood, such as the recomputation of benefits when a beneficiary attains FRA to adjust (increase) benefits to take into account months for which no benefit or a partial benefit was paid as a result of the RET. Finally, the report discusses policy issues related to the RET, including recent research on the effect of the RET on work effort and the decision to claim Social Security benefits.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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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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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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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Credit for Military Service Under Civilian Federal Employee Retirement Systems

Credit for Military Service Under Civilian Federal Employee Retirement Systems

Date: March 9, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses the earned pension benefits under one of two retirement plans for the federal employees with permanent appointments.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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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H.R. 4: The Pension Protection Act

H.R. 4: The Pension Protection Act

Date: September 27, 2006
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses the Pension Protection Act (PPA) reforms and the funding rules for defined benefit pensions; requires employers to disclose more information about pension funding; restricts benefit payments and accruals in underfunded plans; and clarifies, prospectively, that cash balance pension plans do not violate legal prohibitions on age discrimination in employee benefits.
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Income of Americans Aged 65 and Older, 1968 to 2008

Income of Americans Aged 65 and Older, 1968 to 2008

Date: November 4, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report presents data collected by the Census Bureau in the Current Population Survey from 1969 through 2009 about the employment status and the sources and amounts of income received by people aged 65 and older.
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Pension Issues: Lump-Sum Distributions and Retirement Income Security

Pension Issues: Lump-Sum Distributions and Retirement Income Security

Date: January 7, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report covers several issues regarding pensions. Forty-seven percent of all workers aged 21 and older participated in employer-sponsored retirement plans in 2006, but not all of these workers will receive a pension or other income from these plans when they retire.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

Date: September 11, 2015
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses trends that will affect the economic well-being of future retirees.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Retirement Plan Participation and Contributions: Trends from 1998 to 2006

Retirement Plan Participation and Contributions: Trends from 1998 to 2006

Date: January 30, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses worker participation in employer-sponsored retirement plans. The analysis CRS conducted for this report focused on workers aged 21 and older with a paid job in the private sector.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

Date: April 8, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses various issues that impact the retirement income of Americans. About half of all workers in the United States participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan of some kind, a proportion that has remained relatively stable over the past thirty years. Because the majority of assets held in retirement accounts are invested in stocks, trends in stock prices have a significant impact on households' retirement account balances.
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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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The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet

The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet

Date: April 1, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses the saver's tax credit, under which eligible individuals receive a non-refundable tax credit of up to $1,000 for contributing to a traditional IRA or an employer-sponsored retirement plan that is qualified under §401, §403 or §457 of the Internal Revenue Code. The credit was first available in 2002 but will expire after 2006 unless extended by Congress.
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Summary of the Pension Protection Act of 2006

Summary of the Pension Protection Act of 2006

Date: October 23, 2006
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report summarizes the main provisions of the Pension Protection Act (PPA) as they affect single-employer defined benefit plans, multiemployer defined benefit plans, and defined contribution plans.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department