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Veterans Affairs: "Gray Area Retirees"-- Issues and Related Legislation

Description: The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a broad range of benefits and services to American veterans and to certain members of their families. In addition, the Department of Defense (DOD) offers a variety of benefits to veterans who are also military retirees. When members of the National Guard or the Reserve who have not yet reached age 60 retire (usually after at least 20 years of service), however, they are not entitled to certain federal benefits, including health care. These military retirees are commonly known as "Gray Area Retirees" (GARs). These persons may not necessarily meet the relevant statutory definition of "veterans" for VA benefit purposes, nor are they eligible for DOD health benefits until they are eligible for military retired pay at age 60. This report examines the current VA and DOD benefit eligibility for members of the National Guard and the Reserves. It also examines the benefit status and situation of GARs.
Date: June 21, 2010
Creator: Weimer, Douglas R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Early Withdrawals and Required Minimum Distributions in Retirement Accounts: Issues for Congress

Description: In response to the economic downturn, Congress considered providing relief to Americans by suspending two tax penalties on defined contribution retirement plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). This report discusses the reasons offered in support of suspending these provisions, as well as the drawbacks. This report also presents data that estimates the number of households that these proposals would impact. Borrowing from retirement plans as an alternative to withdrawals is also discussed. Finally, the report discusses the kinds of proposals offered to either suspend or eliminate the early withdrawal penalty or the required minimum distribution provision.
Date: January 7, 2011
Creator: Topoleski, John J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Household Savings for Retirement in 2010

Description: This report provides data on a variety of household wealth measures in 2010 from the Federal Reserve's triennial Survey of Consumer Finances. Although the amount of retirement assets is the primary focus of the report, other measures of wealth (such as the amount of total assets, financial assets, total debt, net worth, and housing equity) are also included.
Date: April 30, 2013
Creator: Topoleski, John J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fact Sheet: The Social Security Retirement Age

Description: This report discusses the two important ages that may affect a worker's plans to claim Social Security retired-worker benefits. Workers may claim full Social Security benefits at the full retirement age (FRA), which is rising gradually to age 67 for workers who were born in 1960 or later. Retired workers may claim benefits as early as age 62, which is known as the early eligibility age (EEA). Social Security benefits are reduced, however, for every month that retired worker benefits are claimed before the FRA.
Date: January 24, 2013
Creator: Sidor, Gary
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends

Description: This report begins by describing the change in the age distribution of the U.S. population that will occur between 2005 and 2025 and by summarizing the historical data on the labor force participation of older workers. This discussion is followed by an analysis of data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey on employment and receipt of pension income among persons age 55 and older. Employment trends among older workers are then discussed in the context of data from the Social Security Administration on the proportion of workers who claim retired-worker benefits before the full retirement age (65 years and 10 months for people who turn 65 in 2008). The final section of the report discusses "phased retirement," a process that combines reduced hours of work with receipt of pension income.
Date: September 15, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Legal Issues Relating to State Health Care Regulation: ERISA Preemption and Fair Share Laws

Description: This report provides an overview of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) preemption, discusses legal challenges to fair share laws, and analyzes the fair share requirements included as part of the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act.
Date: August 26, 2008
Creator: Shimabukuro, Jon O. & Staman, Jennifer
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
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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Plan Types and Their Effect on Retirement Patterns

Description: In 1993, 38.9 million people were covered by a 401(k) plan, up from 7.1 million in 1983. The rapid growth of 401(k) and other defined contribution pension plans may alter retirement patterns of older workers. Previous research showed that the spread of defined benefit plans, with sharp age-related incentives first discouraging and later encouraging retirement, contributed to the early retirement trend of past decades. Defined contribution plans differ along several dimensions, especially in their smooth rate of pension wealth accrual. Data from the Health and Retirement Study show that retirement patterns have begun to change as defined contribution plans have spread. Estimates indicate that the financial incentives in defined benefit pensions lead people to retire almost two years earlier, compared to people with defined contribution plans.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Marrone, Mickey M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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.
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.
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.
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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Regulating Private Pensions: A Brief Summary of ERISA

Description: This report briefly discusses the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and how it protects the interests of participants and beneficiaries in private-sector employee benefit plans. ERISA covers a number of fringe benefits provided by employers, but most of its provisions deal with pension plans. Pension plans sponsored by the federal, state, and local governments, or by churches generally are exempt from ERISA.
Date: January 15, 2004
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department