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Workforce Issues & Employee Benefits

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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Monday, December 1, 2008

Challenges and Opportunities for Retirement Security

Anna M. Rappaport, F.S.A., M.A.A.A.
President, Anna Rappaport Consulting

We are truly at a crossroads with respect to retirement security in America. We have an opportunity to improve and build on what we have in the longer run, but only if we effectively address some short-term challenges. We need to do several things or we will lose our opportunities:

Find a forum where diverse stakeholders will work together effectively – those who represent the public, labor and business must work together to strengthen the system. Repeated failure to work together has led to regulatory instability and chaos that for decades has been a major contributor to the decline of pensions and loss of retirement security.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Towards Guaranteed Retirement Security

Teresa Ghilarducci
Bernard L. and Irene Schwartz Chair of Economic Policy Analysis
The New School for Social Research

American workers lack pension security, beyond Social Security, because individual commercial retirement accounts are tied to the volatility of finance markets, are inadequately funded, have poor net-of-fees returns, and do not pay a guaranteed rate of return for the rest of a retiree’s life. Also, employers have conflict of interests between their needs and their workers' needs when choosing 401(k) investment vehicles. Pension coverage is stuck at half of the workforce

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Posted on November 5, 2008  |  2 comments  |  Add your comment
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Friday, January 11, 2008

Pensions for Everyone

Jonathan B. Forman, Alfred P. Murrah Professor of Law, University of Oklahoma College of Law

Only half of American workers have a pension plan, and only a fraction of those have traditional pensions that replace a meaningful part of their final pay. Instead, most workers with a pension today have a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account, and according to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, only a fraction of those workers will save enough to get a meaningful monthly benefit.

This month the oldest baby boomers started turning 62, and millions more will follow in the coming decades. Before it is too late, we need to adopt policies to ensure that every worker has adequate retirement savings.

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Posted on January 11, 2008  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
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