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Veterans' Benefits: Issues in the 110th Congress

Description: This report provides a general discussion of veterans' benefits issues that are part of the legislative agenda of the 110th Congress or are likely to be of legislative interest. Among those issues are disability compensation and pensions; education benefits; homelessness; life insurance; the status or eligibility of groups such as U.S. merchant seamen and World War II Filipino veterans for veterans' benefits; Reserve and National Guard eligibility for veterans' benefits; the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims; and legal representation for veterans. For each issue, an overview is provided, along with summaries of pertinent pending legislation. In addition, an overview of the benefits and their eligibility requirements, demographics for both the veteran population and the benefit population, and summary data on the FY2008 budget for veterans' benefits are provided.
Date: October 16, 2008
Creator: Davis, Carol D.; Loane, Shannon S.; Scott, Christine; Perl, Libby; Smole, David P. & Weimer, Douglas Reid
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Annuities and the Securities and Exchange Commission Proposed Rule 151A

Description: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently released a proposed rule that would effectively reclassify equity indexed annuities as a security product in addition to being an insurance product. This report presents the different types of annuities, explains the taxation of annuities, and disentangles the federal and state roles in the regulation of annuities. It outlines the proposed SEC rule and its current status.
Date: October 22, 2008
Creator: Webel, Baird
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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Converting Retirement Savings into Income: Annuities and Periodic Withdrawals

Description: 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.
Date: December 1, 2008
Creator: Mulvey, Janemarie & Purcell, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pension Issues: Lump-Sum Distributions and Retirement Income Security

Description: This report covers several issues regarding pensions. Forty-seven percent of all workers aged 21 and older participated in employer-sponsored retirement plans in 2006, but not all of these workers will receive a pension or other income from these plans when they retire.
Date: January 7, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969

Description: Under the terms of the Federal Employees' Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-509), pay for civilian federal employees is adjusted each year to keep the salaries of federal workers competitive with comparable occupations in the private sector. The annual increases in federal employee pay are based on changes in the cash compensation paid to workers in the private sector, as measured by the ECI. Under certain circumstances, the President may limit the annual increase in federal pay by executive order. Federal law also requires Social Security benefits and the pensions paid to retired federal employees to be adjusted each year. The COLAs for both Social Security and civil service pensions are based on the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI.
Date: January 8, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008: An Overview

Description: This report highlights the provisions of the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (WRERA) (P.L. 110-455) relating to the economic crisis. This report also discusses certain technical corrections to the Pension Protection Act made by WRERA, and certain other notable provisions of the Act affecting retirement plans and benefits.
Date: January 29, 2009
Creator: Staman, Jennifer
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Overview of Filipino Veterans' Benefits

Description: This report defines the four specific groups (Regular Philippine Scouts, Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, Recognized Guerilla Forces, and New Philippine Scouts) of Filipino nationals who served under the command of the United States. It also outlines the Rescission Acts of 1946, benefit changes since 1946, current benefits for Filipino veterans by group, and recent legislative proposals and legislation, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, P.L. 111-5).
Date: February 20, 2009
Creator: Scott, Christine; Viranga Panangala, Sidath & Davis, Carol D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

Description: This report discusses various issues that impact the retirement income of Americans. About half of all workers in the United States participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan of some kind, a proportion that has remained relatively stable over the past thirty years. Because the majority of assets held in retirement accounts are invested in stocks, trends in stock prices have a significant impact on households' retirement account balances.
Date: April 8, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
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.
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
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Periods of War

Description: This report lists the beginning and ending dates for "periods of war" found in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It also lists and differentiates other beginning dates given in declarations of war, as well as termination of hostilities dates and armistice and ending dates given in proclamations, laws, or treaties.
Date: January 7, 2010
Creator: Salazar Torreon, Barbara
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Automatic Cost of Living Adjustments: Some Economic and Practical Considerations

Description: This report looks at how automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) influence the budget and identifies major programs that have indexing provisions. It also explains what price indexes attempt to measure and discusses some of their weaknesses. Finally, it points out some practical things to keep in mind when establishing an indexing provision.
Date: January 11, 2010
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969

Description: Under the terms of the Federal Employees' Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-509), pay for civilian federal employees is adjusted each year to keep the salaries of federal workers competitive with comparable occupations in the private sector. The annual increases in federal employee pay are based on changes in the cash compensation paid to workers in the private sector, as measured by the ECI. Under certain circumstances, the President may limit the annual increase in federal pay by executive order. Federal law also requires Social Security benefits and the pensions paid to retired federal employees to be adjusted each year. The COLAs for both Social Security and civil service pensions are based on the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI.
Date: January 20, 2010
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department