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Workforce Issues & Employee Benefits

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shoring Up the Unemployment Insurance System

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Joint PhD Student, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government

The unemployment insurance (UI) system has provided an essential source of support for American workers and their families. Yet the system is not without its flaws, as panelists highlighted at the “Strengthening UI” session of NASI’s 23rd annual conference. The three speakers addressed a broad range of areas where the UI system could be improved and offered proposals that ranged from the very specific to new ways of conceiving of employment arrangements.

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Posted on March 9, 2011  |  2 comments  |  Add your comment
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Business and Retirement Income – What Role in the Future?

Anna M. Rappaport
President, Anna Rappaport Consulting

I have been very pleased to spend the last few days in Washington, DC and to participate in several meetings about retirement security. On Wednesday, June 17, I joined a group at the National Academy of Social Insurance at “The Quest for Adequate Retirement Income” a symposium focusing on current issues in the retirement system.

On Thursday [July 18th], I had the opportunity to meet with a number of plan sponsors who were discussing challenges in the retirement income system from their perspective. These large organizations were interested in providing retirement security to their employees, and frustrated at what often seems to be a stream of endless roadblocks.

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Posted on June 29, 2009  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Strengthening Social Security Wage Reporting For Farm Workers

Barbara Robles
Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Arizona State University

Farm workers are at risk of not having their work count toward Social Security benefits because their employers may erroneously classify them as independent contractors or simply fail to pay Social Security taxes and report wages. Strengthening Social Security for Farm Workers: The Fragile Retirement Prospects for Hispanic Farm Worker Families supports legislation introduced in the 110th Congress, along with stronger enforcement of existing laws, to strengthen wage reporting. The proposal also notes that the changes would increase tax receipts and benefit the Latino farm worker population by increasing their Social Security benefits, providing better access to the Earned Income Tax Credit, and easing the burden on adult children of farm workers who have the triple burden of school debt, raising children and supporting aging parents.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Increasing Social Security Benefits for Low-Wage Single Retirees

Patricia E. Dilley
Professor of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Single retirees (that is, never married, divorced or widowed) are at high risk of being poor in old age. The decline in private pensions, rising out-of-pocket health costs, and declining housing values can be expected to make the already precarious financial situation of unmarried retirees even worse. Restoring Old Age Income Security to Low-Wage Single Workers proposes a change to the basic Social Security retired-worker benefit formula that would increase benefits for single retirees with at least 30 years of covered employment and low lifetime earnings. A second change would target single beneficiaries over age 85. Those who had at least 30 years of covered work, and received relatively low benefits (less than 75 percent of the average benefit), would receive a 10 percent benefit increase at age 85.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

A New Social Security Minimum Benefit For Low Lifetime Earners

Melissa Favreault
Senior Research Associate, The Urban Institute

Despite a lifetime of hard work, many workers end up poor or near poor in retirement. A New Minimum Benefit for Low Lifetime Earners examines a new minimum benefit that targets workers with long careers and low lifetime earnings, along with a modest credit that compensates for up to three years of low (or no) earnings due to care giving, unemployment, or poor health. The benefit at the full retirement age would pay 60 percent of the poverty threshold for a worker with 20 years of Social Security covered work and increase to 110 percent of the poverty threshold for a worker with 40 years of work. Caregiver credits would be available only in years when a child is under age 4 and only to one parent. The credit would be 60 percent of the average wage in the first such year, 50 percent in the second year and 40 percent in the third year.

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