Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Social Security: Cost-of-Living Adjustments

Description: This report discusses the issues surrounding Social Security recipients that usually receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
Date: October 27, 2016
Creator: Whittaker, Julie M. & Liou, Wayne
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments

Description: This report discusses the military retirement system. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
Date: September 12, 2016
Creator: Kamarck, Kristy N.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Social Security Notch Issue: A Summary

Description: This report discusses recent attempts at legislative action regarding changes to the computation of benefits under Social Security Amendments of 1977 (P.L. 95-216), which directly affected retirees born in the 5- to 15-year period after 1916. These persons fall in the "notch" between previous Social Security legislation and those affected by the amendments.
Date: August 5, 2003
Creator: Kollmann, Geoffrey
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): A Primer

Description: This report describes the primary features of two common retirement savings accounts that are available to individuals: traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). In response to concerns over the adequacy of retirement savings, Congress has created incentives to encourage individuals to save more for retirement through a variety of retirement plans. Some retirement plans are employer-sponsored, such as 401(k) plans, and others are established by individual employees, such as IRAs.
Date: April 27, 2016
Creator: Topoleski, John J.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Salaries and Allowances

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.
Date: August 5, 2004
Creator: Dwyer, Paul E.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Description: This report discusses the windfall elimination provision (WEP), which reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who also have pension benefits from employment not covered by Social Security. Its purpose is to remove an advantage or "windfall" these workers would otherwise receive as a result of the interaction between the Social Security benefit formula and the workers' relatively small portion of their careers in Social Security-covered employment. The report provides information about how the provision works, who is affected, history and rationale, impacts, and relevant legislation.
Date: May 25, 2016
Creator: Morton, William R.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Who Is a "Veteran"?--Basic Eligibility for Veterans' Benefits

Description: This report examines the basic eligibility criteria for VA administered veterans' benefits, including the issue of eligibility of members of the National Guard and reserve components. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a broad range of benefits to U.S. Armed Forces veterans and certain members of their families. Among these benefits are various types of financial assistance, including monthly cash payments to disabled veterans, health care, education, and housing.
Date: May 25, 2016
Creator: Szymendera, Scott D.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Former Presidents: Pensions, Office Allowances, and Other Federal Benefits

Description: This report provides a legislative and cultural history of the Former Presidents Act. It considers the potential effects of maintaining the FPA or amending the FPA in ways that might reduce or otherwise modify a former President's benefits.
Date: March 16, 2016
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments

Description: This report discusses the military retirement system. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
Date: April 6, 2016
Creator: Kamarck, Kristy N.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Social Security: The Government Pension Offset (GPO)

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.
Date: July 6, 2004
Creator: Haltzel, Laura
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Veterans' Benefits: Burial Benefits and National Cemeteries

Description: This report provides a descriptive analysis of both nonmonetary and monetary burial benefits and national cemeteries. It addresses congressional and constituent issues.
Date: March 11, 2016
Creator: Szymendera, Scott D.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

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.
Date: April 4, 2016
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Automatic Enrollment in Section 401(k) Plans

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.
Date: October 14, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet

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.
Date: April 1, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues

Description: This report discusses various proposed changes to the military retirement system, which includes benefits for retirement after an active or reserve military career, disability retirement, and survivor benefits for eligible survivors of deceased retirees. Major issues include 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 -- referred to as "concurrent receipt" -- whether some military personnel should be entitled to military retired pay with less than 20 years of service, and whether many more personnel should serve well past the 20-year point before retiring.
Date: October 21, 2003
Creator: Goldich, Robert L.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2000: Analysis of Census Bureau Data

Description: This report examines recent trends in retirement saving and the policy implications. The aging of the American population and the impending retirement of the "baby boom" will place significant strains over the next several decades on both Social Security and on retirees' own financial resources. With continued increases in average life expectancies, retirees in the 21st century will have to stretch their savings and other assets over longer periods of retirement than were experienced by their parents and grandparents.
Date: December 12, 2002
Creator: Purcell, Patrick J.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Veterans' Pensions: Fact Sheet

Description: This report discusses veterans' pensions, which are monthly cash payments made to qualified veterans or survivors so that their total income from all countable sources reach specified annual levels and are administered by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
Date: February 26, 2001
Creator: Snook, Dennis W. & Alice D. Butler
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments

Description: This report discusses the military retirement system. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees.
Date: November 17, 2008
Creator: Henning, Charles A.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Salaries and Allowances

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.
Date: January 15, 2013
Creator: Brudnick, Ida A.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Summary of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

Description: Due to the recent economic decline and the desire to enact large-scale health reform, the current federal regulation of pension plans, health plans, and other employee benefit plans has received considerable congressional attention. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) provides a comprehensive federal scheme for the regulation of employee pension and welfare benefit plans offered by private-sector employers. ERISA contains various provisions intended to protect the rights of plan participants and beneficiaries in employee benefit plans. This report provides background on the pension laws prior to ERISA, discusses various types of employee benefit plans governed by ERISA, provides an overview of ERISA’s requirements, and includes a glossary of commonly used terms.
Date: May 19, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick & Staman, Jennifer
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Employees’ Retirement System: Budget and Trust Fund Issues

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.
Date: September 27, 2012
Creator: Purcell, Patrick J.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Employees’ Retirement System: Budget and Trust Fund Issues

Description: This report discusses the two retirement systems for federal employees: (1) the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) for individuals hired before 1984, and (2) the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) for individuals hired in 1984 or later.
Date: January 10, 2013
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits

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.
Date: May 17, 2010
Creator: Nuschler, Dawn & Shelton, Alison M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits

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.
Date: January 14, 2011
Creator: Nuschler, Dawn & Shelton, Alison M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department