Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

Description: Over the past 25 years, defined contribution (DC) plans - including 401(k) plans - have become the most prevalent form of employer-sponsored retirement plan in the United States. This report describes seven major policy issues with respect to defined contribution plans: 1) access to employer-sponsored retirement plans; 2) participation in employer-sponsored plans; 3) contribution rates; 4) investment choices; 5) fee disclosure; 6) leakage from retirement savings; and 7) converting retirement savings into income.
Date: July 14, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick & Topoleski, John J.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Veterans' Benefits: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for Survivors

Description: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers directly, or in conjunction with other federal agencies, several benefits for surviving spouses, children, and dependent parents of deceased veterans to provide them with financial, educational, and emotional support. Among these various programs, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly tax-free cash payment for eligible surviving spouses, children, and dependent parents. This report outlines the eligibility requirements and benefit levels for DIC, the policy issues associated with DIC, and legislation in the 111th Congress related to DIC.
Date: October 18, 2010
Creator: Scott, Christine
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Investment Policy: Issues for Congress

Description: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is a federal corporation established under Title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It insures private pension beneficiaries against the complete loss of accrued benefits if their defined benefit pension plan is terminated without adequate funding. It receives no appropriations from general revenue. Its operations are financed by insurance premiums set by Congress and paid by sponsors of defined benefit plans, investment income from the assets in its trust fund, and recoveries from the companies formerly responsible for the trusted plans.
Date: September 8, 2008
Creator: Kinneen, Kelly & Purcell, Patrick
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Reserve: Dividends Paid to Commercial Banks

Description: This report briefly provides background on dividends paid to banks by the Federal Reserve (Fed), which would be reduced in the Senate-passed highway trust fund bill (H.R. 22) as a budgetary offset.
Date: October 28, 2015
Creator: Labonte, Marc & Murphy, M. M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Retirement Saving Plans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Description: This report provides answers to 10 of the most frequently-asked questions related to rules and provisions that govern savings in individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
Date: February 9, 2001
Creator: Franco, Celinda
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities

Description: This report discusses the Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and government retirees, as well as related legislation.
Date: October 15, 2015
Creator: Isaacs, Katelin P.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Individual Retirement Accounts: A Fact Sheet

Description: This report discusses general information about individual retirement accounts (IRAs), established by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-406) to promote retirement saving; the accounts were limited at first to workers (and spouses) who lacked employer pension coverage.
Date: February 22, 2001
Creator: Graney, Paul J.
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

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

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 4, 2012
Creator: Nuschler, Dawn & Shelton, Alison M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Qualified Charitable Distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts: Features and Legislative History

Description: A provision of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-280) allows tax-free distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) for charitable purposes. This report describes the IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) provision.
Date: February 4, 2015
Creator: Topoleski, John J. & Sidor, Gary
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 short careers in Social Security-covered employment. Opponents contend that the provision is basically imprecise and can be unfair.
Date: January 18, 2011
Creator: Shelton, Alison M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Description: This report discusses 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. Opponents contend the provision is basically imprecise and can be unfair.
Date: April 16, 2014
Creator: Sidor, Gary
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 short careers in Social Security-covered employment. Opponents contend the provision is basically imprecise and can be unfair.
Date: February 15, 2013
Creator: Scott, Christine
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 short careers in Social Security-covered employment. Opponents contend that the provision is basically imprecise and can be unfair.
Date: January 29, 2010
Creator: Shelton, Alison M.
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 these workers would otherwise receive because Social Security’s benefit formula is weighted such that workers with low lifetime earnings receive a greater share of their covered earnings in benefits than workers with medium or high lifetime earnings. Opponents contend that the provision is basically imprecise and can be unfair.
Date: May 11, 2009
Creator: Shelton, Alison M.
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 short careers in Social Security-covered employment.
Date: January 8, 2013
Creator: Scott, Christine
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 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
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department