Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Congressional Salaries and Allowances
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.
Federal Employees’ Retirement System: Budget and Trust Fund Issues
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.
Federal Employees’ Retirement System: Budget and Trust Fund Issues
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.
Fee Disclosure in Defined Contribution Retirement Plans: Background and Legislation
This report provides information on the kinds of fees that are charged in 401(k) and other defined contribution plans and details the provisions of bills introduced in the 111th Congress that address fee disclosure in retirement plans.
Congressional Salaries and Allowances
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.
Who Is a "Veteran"?--Basic Eligibility for Veterans' Benefits
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.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
Recent changes in the Nation's tax laws have made Individual Retirement Accounts available to many people previously excluded. This report provides general information on IRAs including material explaining these recent changes and their consequences.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): Issues, Proposed Expansion, and Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs)
No Description Available.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): Issues and Proposed Expansion
No Description Available.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): Issues and Proposed Expansion
No Description Available.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): Issues and Proposed Expansion
No Description Available.
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.
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.
Retirement Plans with Individual Accounts: Federal Rules and Limits
No Description Available.
Retirement Plans with Individual Accounts: Federal Rules and Limits
No Description Available.
Social Security Survivors Benefits
No Description Available.
Federal Employee Retirement Programs: Budget and Trust Fund Issues
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.
Federal Employee Retirement Programs: Budget and Trust Fund Issues
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.
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.
Military Benefits for Former Spouses: Legislation and Policy Issues
The purpose of this report is to provide a general discussion of legislative provisions and proposals relating to the military benefits for former spouses.
Military Benefits for Former Spouses: Legislation and Policy Issues
The purpose of this report is to provide a general discussion of legislative provisions and proposals relating to the military benefits for former spouses.
Worker Participation in Employer-Sponsored Pensions: A Fact Sheet
This fact sheet provides data on the percentage of American workers who have access to, and who participate in, employer-sponsored pension plans. The information is from the National Compensation Survey (NCS), conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The NCS provides data on occupational earnings and the availability of employee benefits among U.S. workers.
Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities
This report discusses the 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). All CSRS retirees and survivors receive COLAs. Under FERS, however, non-disabled retirees under age 62 do not receive COLAs. This report discusses cost-of-living adjustments for government retirees, as well as related legislation.
Reducing Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Military Retirees and the Bipartisan Budget Act: In Brief
This report discusses the reduction of cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for military retirees through the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA). It includes an overview of the changes, demographics of military retirees, and potential effects of the changes.
Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 151A and Annuities: Issues and Legislation
This report explains the different types of annuities, the taxation of annuities, and disentangles the federal and state roles in the regulation of annuities. It outlines the SEC rule, including practical considerations for implementation. It also discusses congressional action in response to the SEC rule.
Credit for Military Service Under Civilian Federal Employee Retirement Systems
This report discusses the earned pension benefits under one of two retirement plans for the federal employees with permanent appointments.
Multiemployer Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Plans: A Primer and Analysis of Policy Options
This report discusses the nature of multiemployer defined benefit (DB) pension plans, and issues regarding their financial solvency.
Veterans' Benefits: The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Duty to Assist Claimants
This report analyzes court decisions that have examined the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA's) obligation to assist veterans during the claims process.
Former Presidents: Pensions, Office Allowances, and Other Federal Benefits
This report describes the benefits Presidents receive upon leaving office, details the history of the Former Presidents Act (FPA), and analyzes some legislative options for the 110th Congress related to former Presidents.
Income of Americans Aged 65 and Older, 1968 to 2008
This report presents data collected by the Census Bureau in the Current Population Survey from 1969 through 2009 about the employment status and the sources and amounts of income received by people aged 65 and older.
Loss of Federal Pensions for Members of Congress Convicted of Certain Offenses
This report discusses the current law with respect to the loss of the federal pension of a Member of Congress for the conviction of certain crimes and the recent law to limit a former Member's receiving service credit toward a federal pension for any time served as a Member of Congress if that person is convicted of any one of a number of criminal offenses involving abuse of the public trust.
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). All CSRS retirees and survivors receive COLAs. Under FERS, however, non-disabled retirees under age 62 do not receive COLAs. This report discusses cost-of-living adjustments for government retirees, as well as related legislation.
Converting Retirement Savings into Income: Annuities and Periodic Withdrawals
To a worker contemplating retirement, there is perhaps no more important question than "How long will my money last?" Congress has a strong interest in the income security of older Americans because much of their income is either provided directly from public programs like Social Security, or in the case of pensions and retirement accounts, is subsidized through tax deductions and deferrals. This report discusses risks involved with retirement fund disbursement and strategies for dealing with such risks.
401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress
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.
Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends
This report discusses trends that will affect the economic well-being of future retirees.
Pension Sponsorship and Participation: Summary of Recent Trends
This report discusses trends that will affect the economic well-being of future retirees.
Veterans' Benefits: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) for Survivors
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.
Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress
Report that covers the logistics and background of the Congressional Pension program.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Investment Policy: Issues for Congress
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.
Multiemployer Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Plans: A Primer and Analysis of Policy Options
This report discusses the nature of multiemployer defined benefit (DB) pension plans, and issues regarding their financial solvency. DB pension plans are sponsored by more than one employer and maintained as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
Credit for Military Service Under Civilian Federal Employee Retirement Systems
This report discusses the earned pension benefits under one of two retirement plans for the federal employees with permanent appointments.
Federal Reserve: Dividends Paid to Commercial Banks
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.
Retirement Saving Plans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
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).
Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities
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.
Individual Retirement Accounts: A Fact Sheet
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.
The Retirement Savings Tax Credit: A Fact Sheet
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.
Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits
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.
Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits
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.
Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: How Earnings Affect Benefits
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.
Qualified Charitable Distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts: Features and Legislative History
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.