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Media Alert: New Social Security Report Discusses Policy Questions for Payouts from Private Accounts to Retirees, Spouses, and Survivors

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jill Braunstein, (202) 452-8097, jillbraun@nasi.org

Where: Zenger Room, National Press Club, Washington, DC

President Bush has made the creation of personal accounts under the Social Security system his top domestic priority. Most of the debate has focused on what the proposed accounts would look like, and how they would accumulate money for retirement. But there has been little discussion of payouts from the accounts, how the money would be disbursed. A new report by the non-partisan National Academy of Social Insurance focuses on the impact of the accounts on retirees, their spouses and survivors, discussing how they would get their money.

Among the most pressing questions to be considered if private accounts become part of Social Security:

  • Would people be able to tap account funds for emergencies before they reach retirement age?
  • Should retirees be allowed to take out lump sums at retirement, or be required to buy an annuity that would give them a monthly check for life?
  • What rights would spouses have to account funds? What would happen to the accounts in the event of divorce?
  • Would people be able to bequeath their accounts to anyone they choose?

On Wednesday, Jan. 26, a non-partisan expert panel convened by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) will release the first major look at these and other questions in a report called “Uncharted Waters: Paying Benefits from Individual Accounts in Federal Retirement Policy.” The panel does not take a position favoring or opposing personal accounts.

The panel's co-chairs, Kenneth S. Apfel, who served as Social Security Commissioner in the Clinton Administration, and Michael J. Graetz, a top Treasury official in the George H.W. Bush Administration, will brief reporters on the panel's deliberations.

When: Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 10:00am – 11:00am
 
Where: Zenger Room, The National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC

Who: Panel co-chairs:
Former Social Security Commissioner Kenneth S. Apfel, Sid Richardson Chair in Public Affairs, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas; Former top Treasury official Michael J. Graetz, Justus S. Hotchkiss Professor of Law, Yale Law School

To RSVP for this event, please contact Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097 or by e-mail at jillbraun@nasi.org

Copies of the report will be available for reporters at the event.

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