January 26, 2005

    Policy Seminar, January 26, 2005

    ** Registration for this event is closed. Please register on site.**

    “Longevity risk is little understood by the American public, in spite of the fact that it is a major factor that led to the ‘invention’ of annuities. Proposals for individual accounts in Social Security of the past 30 years have been light in their treatment of administration and the treatment of distributions. This is the most comprehensive report ever produced on this crucial subject of payout. It is the key issue in assuring that individual accounts provide lifetime retirement income. This report is must reading for those following the policy process and for those who will be asked to vote on Social Security reform.” Dallas Salisbury, President, Employee Benefit Research Institute

    Policy seminar on study panel report:
    – Welcome and overview
    – Overarching issues in retirement and pre-retirement payouts
    – Institutional Arrangements for Delivering Annuities, Choices, and Informed Choices
    – Spousal rights, disability insurance, and children’s benefits

    Who should attend: Social Security policy analysts, policymakers, journalists, Congressional and executive branch staff, retirement security and social security reform advocates, disability interest groups, analysts and advocates for women, families, and children.

    Copies of the report will be available.

    Details about the report: That people are living longer and generally enjoying better health while doing so is unquestionably a good thing. But as the elderly become a larger portion of our population, new challenges arise for making sure that retirees have enough income to live on. In an effort to strengthen personal savings for retirement, President Bush and both Democratic and Republican members of Congress have advanced proposals for establishing some form of universally available individual savings accounts. However, the question whether these individual accounts should be apart from and in addition to Social Security, or instead be integrated with a restructured Social Security system, has sharply divided politicians and policy analysts alike.

    On January 26, 2005, the National Academy of Social Insurance will release a report that considers some of the payout issues that might arise from implementing a system of individual accounts, if such accounts were to become a part of federal retirement policy.

    Why is it important to examine these “payout” issues? Because a central goal of retirement security policy is to assure some level of adequate income, it is essential that any debate about creating individual accounts include a complete understanding of how the benefits will be received. How would the assets accumulated in individual accounts be paid out during retirement? Would individuals have funds available to them before retirement? Do these answers change if an individual becomes disabled or dies before retirement? What rights would a spouse or former spouse have to these accounts? Could creditors reach the accounts? What institutions-government or private-would be responsible for making payments from the accounts? If private institutions are responsible, would the federal or state governments regulate their conduct? If these new accounts were part of Social Security or integrated with Social Security reforms, what would happen to payouts of Social Security benefits? These are the kinds of questions this report addresses in detail.

    Uncharted Waters Study Panel Members:

    Kenneth S. Apfel, Co-Chair, Sid Richardson Chair in Public Affairs, LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin
    Michael J. Graetz, Co-Chair, Justus S. Hotchkiss Professor of Law, Yale Law School
    Lily Batchelder, Assistant Professor of Law and Public Policy, NYU School of Law
    Ray Boshara, Director, Asset Building Program, New America Foundation
    Jeffrey Brown, Assistant Professor of Finance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Craig Copeland, Senior Research Associate, Employee Benefit Research Institute
    Douglas Elliott, President, Center on Federal Financial Institutions
    Joan Entmacher, Vice-President and Director of Family Economic Security, National Women’s Law Center
    Martha E. Ford, Director of Legal Advocacy, The Arc of the United States and United Cerebral Palsy
    Douglas Fore, Director of Portfolio Analystics, TIAA-CREF Investment Management
    Fred Goldberg, Attorney, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration
    Karen C. Holden, Professor of Public Affairs & Consumer Science, University of Wisconsin
    J. Mark Iwry, Non-resident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
    Howell Jackson, James S. Reid Jr., Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
    Charles A. Jones, Director of Reengineering, Michigan Family Independence Agency
    Kilolo Kijakazi, Program Officer, Ford Foundation*
    John H. Langbein, Sterling Professor of Law and Legal History, Yale Law School
    Maya MacGuineas, Director, Fiscal Policy Program & Retirement Security Program, New America Foundation
    Lisa Mensah, Executive Director, Initiative of Financial Security, The Aspen Institute
    Peter Orszag, Joseph A. Pechman Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution
    Pamela Perun, Affiliated Scholar at The Urban Institute
    Eric Rodriguez, Director, Economic Mobility Initiative, National Council of La Raza
    Jane Ross, Director, Center for Social and Economic Studies, National Research Council
    Dallas L. Salisbury, President, Employee Benefit Research Institute
    Bruce Schobel, Vice-President and Actuary, New York Life Insurance Company
    Sheila Zedlewski, Director, Benefits Policy Center, The Urban Institute

    The project received financial support from the Ford Foundation, The Actuarial Foundation, and the TIAA-CREF Institute.

    * Kilolo Kijakazi was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities when the study panel was formed.