For Immediate Release: January 26, 2005
Contact: Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097 or email@example.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid calls for Congress to create personal retirement accounts as part of Social Security, a new report by a non-partisan expert panel urges lawmakers to pay careful attention to how and when money from these accounts would be paid out to retirees, their spouses, and survivors if private accounts become a new part of the Social Security system or are created outside Social Security. The report, released today by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), addresses how people might be able to tap the funds and a number of other design issues that need to be addressed if individual accounts are added to Social Security.
Co-chairs of the panel are Kenneth S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security in the Clinton Administration and now a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin, and Michael J. Graetz, a top Treasury official in the George H.W. Bush administration and now a law professor at Yale Law School.
“Most of the Social Security discussion has been about how money would build up in the accounts,” said Graetz. “This report covers, in depth, the largely neglected questions about how the money would be paid out.”
“Payouts are important,” added Apfel, “because a central goal of Social Security policy is to assure some level of adequate income.” Among questions addressed in the report are:
The report, Uncharted Waters: Paying Benefits From Individual Accounts in Federal Retirement Policy, does not endorse nor oppose the concept of private accounts within the Social Security system. Panel members have different personal views on this question. See the full report for a list of panel members.
“It is crucial that these payout issues be clearly understood by policymakers,” said Graetz. “They must resolve the issues discussed in this report if they make a decision to add universally available individual accounts to our current system for providing retirement income.” Apfel added, “Retirement, divorce, disability, death of a loved one – these are life-changing events. Decisions on these issues will have real consequences for American workers and their families.”
The NASI project received financial support from The Ford Foundation, the Actuarial Foundation, TIAA-CREF Institute, and the Foundation for Child Development.
The National Academy of Social Insurance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to promote understanding and informed policymaking on social insurance and related programs through research, public education, training and the open exchange of ideas.