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 Country: United States
 Decade: 2000-2009
 Year: 2004
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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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Federal Employee Retirement Programs: Budget and Trust Fund Issues

Federal Employee Retirement Programs: Budget and Trust Fund Issues

Date: May 24, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick J.
Description: Retirement annuities for civilian federal employees are provided mainly through two programs: the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). These annuities are financed through a combination of employee contributions and payments made by the federal government to the civil service retirement trust fund. This report discusses the two programs, how they work, and how they are financed.
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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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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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Social Security: The Government Pension Offset (GPO)

Social Security: The Government Pension Offset (GPO)

Date: July 6, 2004
Creator: Haltzel, Laura
Description: 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.
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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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Military Benefits for Former Spouses: Legislation and Policy Issues

Military Benefits for Former Spouses: Legislation and Policy Issues

Date: December 9, 2004
Creator: Burrelli, David F
Description: 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.
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Social Security: The Cost-of-Living Adjustment in January 2005

Social Security: The Cost-of-Living Adjustment in January 2005

Date: October 19, 2004
Creator: Sidor, Gary
Description: 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.
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