Congressional Research Service Reports - 266 Matching Results

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The Market for Retirement Annuities

Description: 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.
Date: May 18, 2006
Creator: Ranade, Neela K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues

Description: 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.
Date: June 1, 2006
Creator: Henning, Charles A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet

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.
Date: August 7, 2006
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends

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.
Date: August 31, 2006
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

H.R. 4: The Pension Protection Act

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.
Date: September 27, 2006
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Age Dependency Ratios and Social Security Solvency

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.
Date: October 27, 2006
Creator: Shrestha, Laura B.
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 these workers would otherwise receive because of Social Security’s benefit formula that favors workers with smaller amounts of Social Security-covered career earnings. Opponents contend that the provision is basically inaccurate and often unfair.
Date: March 8, 2007
Creator: Haltzel, Laura
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Employee Retirement Programs: 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: March 14, 2007
Creator: Purcell, Patrick J.
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 these workers would otherwise receive because of Social Security’s benefit formula that favors workers with smaller amounts of Social Security-covered career earnings. Opponents contend that the provision is basically imprecise and often unfair.
Date: January 14, 2008
Creator: Haltzel, Laura
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: A Fact Sheet

Description: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal government agency established in 1974 by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) (P.L. 93- 406). It was created to protect the pensions of participants and beneficiaries covered by private sector, defined benefit (DB) plans. These pension plans provide a specified monthly benefit at retirement, usually either a percent of salary or a flat dollar amount multiplied by years of service. Defined contribution plans, such as §401(k) plans, are not insured. The PBGC is chaired by the Secretary of Labor, with the Secretaries of Treasury and Commerce serving as board members.
Date: January 29, 2008
Creator: Topoleski, John J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

ERISA’s Impact on Medical Malpractice and Negligence Claims Against Managed Care Plans

Description: This report examines the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which provides a comprehensive federal scheme for the regulation of employee pension and welfare benefit plans offered by employers. While ERISA does not require an employer to offer pension and welfare benefits, it does mandate compliance with its provisions if such benefits are offered. Congress enacted ERISA to eliminate the conflicting and inconsistent regulation of pension and employee welfare benefit plans by state laws. The provisions at issue in the preemption debate are sections 502(a) and 514(a) of ERISA.
Date: February 21, 2008
Creator: Shimabukuro, Jon O.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Summary of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

Description: 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 employers. ERISA contains various provisions intended to protect the rights of plan participants and beneficiaries in employee benefit plans. These protections include requirements relating to reporting and disclosure, participation, vesting, and benefit accrual, as well as plan funding. ERISA also regulates the responsibilities of plan fiduciaries and other issues regarding plan administration. ERISA contains various standards that a plan must meet in order to receive favorable tax treatment, and also governs plan termination. 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: April 10, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick & Staman, Jennifer
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Veterans Affairs: Benefits for Service-Connected Disabilities

Description: This report describes disability compensation, which is a benefit Congress provides to American veterans and their dependents through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Disability compensation is a monthly cash benefit program for veterans currently impaired from past service-connected activities.
Date: May 15, 2008
Creator: Weimer, Douglas Reid
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Veterans Benefits: An Overview

Description: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide range of benefits and services to eligible veterans, members of their families, and survivors of deceased veterans. VA programs include disability compensation and pensions, readjustment benefits, and health care programs. The VA also provides life insurance, burial benefits, housing and other loan guaranty programs, and special counseling and outreach programs. While eligibility for specific benefits varies, veterans generally must meet requirements related to discharge type and length of active duty military service. This report provides an overview of major VA benefits and the VA budget.
Date: June 25, 2008
Creator: Davis, Carol D.; Panangala, Sidath Viranga & Scott, Christine
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Veterans' Benefits: Issues in the 110th Congress

Description: This report discusses veterans' benefits issues that are already part of the legislative agenda for the 110th Congress or are likely to be of interest to Congress. These benefits and issues fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Also presented in this report are an overview of the benefits and their eligibility requirements, data on both the veteran population and the benefit population, and summary information on the FY2008 budget for veterans' benefits.
Date: August 15, 2008
Creator: Davis, Carol D.; Loane, Shannon S.; Peterson, Meredith; Scott, Christine; Perl, Libby & Weimer, Douglas Reid
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department