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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Age Dependency Ratios and Social Security Solvency
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821418/
Summary of the Pension Protection Act of 2006
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822392/
H.R. 4: The Pension Protection Act
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822500/
Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10498/
Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends
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Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends
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The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10233/
Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10339/
Retirement Savings and Household Wealth: Trends from 2001 to 2004
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The Market for Retirement Annuities
A retirement annuity allows an individual to purchase a regular payment stream from an insurance company to last his lifetime. Despite the ability of the product to eliminate the risk that a retiree will outlive his assets, few retirement annuities have been sold in the individual market. In addition, the number of individuals who annuitize their defined contribution retirement plan balances remains small. New products are emerging that would offer alternate annuity designs and make annuity prices more attractive. This report discusses legislation has been proposed in the 109th Congress that would enhance the tax treatment of annuities and encourage the growth of stand-alone annuity and combined annuity and long-term care products. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821401/
Periods of War
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Topics in Aging: Income of Americans Age 65 and Older, 1969 to 2004
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Topics in Aging: Income of Americans Age 65 and Older, 1969 to 2004
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969
Pay increases for current federal employees and cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for retired federal employees often differ because they are based on changes in different economic variables. Increases in pay for civilian federal workers are indexed to wage and salary increases in the private-sector, as measured by the Employment Cost Index (ECI), while federal retirement and disability benefits are indexed to price increases as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This report discusses the procedures for determining such increases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8259/
Military Death Benefits: Status and Proposals
This report describes the various death benefits from the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and Social Security available to certain survivors of members of the Armed Forces who die on active duty. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8471/
Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Budget Reconciliation and the PBGC
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8307/
Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities
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). COLAs for both CSRS and FERS are determined by the average monthly CPI-W during the third quarter (July to September) of the current calendar year and the third quarter of the previous year. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7674/
Social Security: The Cost-of-Living Adjustment in January 2006
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Retirement Plan Participation and Contributions: Trends from 1998 to 2003
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Social Security Survivors Benefits
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S. 1783: The Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2005
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7676/
Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends
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S. 219: The National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7677/
Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Cash Balance Pension Plans: Selected Legal Issues
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). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7355/
Individual Accounts: What Rate of Return Would They Earn?
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Pension Issues Cloud Postal Reform Debate
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H.R. 2830: The Pension Protection Act of 2005
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Defined Benefit Pension Reform for Single-Employer Plans
This report includes quantitative analysis based on regulatory filings by pension plans for 2001 and 2002 to provide an assessment of the number of plans that might be affected by certain elements of the Administration proposal. It also summarizes the reaction to the Administration proposal by business and labor. The report also includes an illustration of the effect on a hypothetical plan sponsor’s plan contribution and funded ratio of the credit balance approach used in current law versus the Administration proposal. This report focuses on single-employer plans. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6939/
Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Military Death Benefits: Status and Proposals
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969
Pay increases for current federal employees and cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for retired federal employees often differ because they are based on changes in different economic variables. Increases in pay for civilian federal workers are indexed to wage and salary increases in the private-sector, as measured by the Employment Cost Index (ECI), while federal retirement and disability benefits are indexed to price increases as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This report discusses the procedures for determining such increases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8211/
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: A Fact Sheet
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Can the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Be Restored to Financial Health?
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7394/
Military Benefits for Former Spouses: Legislation and Policy Issues
This report discusses the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), which treats military personnel former spouses eligibility to receive certain military benefits or privileges. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8210/
The Military Survivor Benefit Plan: A Description of Its Provisions
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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues
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Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities
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). COLAs for both CSRS and FERS are determined by the average monthly CPI-W during the third quarter (July to September) of the current calendar year and the third quarter of the previous year. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7587/
Social Security: The Cost-of-Living Adjustment in January 2005
This report discusses how the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits are determined. The 2.7% COLA payable in January 2005 was triggered by the rise in the CPI-W (Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers) from the third quarter of 2003 to the third quarter of 2004. 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc795651/
Automatic Enrollment in Section 401(k) Plans
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824763/
Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends
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Social Security: The Government Pension Offset (GPO)
This report discusses the social security benefits and the spousal benefits of individuals who are not financially dependent on their spouses because they receive benefits based on their own work records. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847625/