What's New - July 2005

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What's new at EBRI this month:

Publications:

July 2005 EBRI Issue Brief - "The Influence of Automatic Enrollment, Catch-Up, and IRA Contributions on 401(k) Accumulations at Retirement"

July 2005 EBRI Notes - "Social Security Reform: The Importance of Disability Insurance and Annuities in Individual Accounts"


Choose to Save Campaign Wins Emmy Award, A Choose to Save® public service campaign designed to encourage saving for retirement and a 30-minute CTS informational program have won regional Emmy awards from the National Capital/Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

New Social Security Research From EBRI -- A far greater portion of all current and future Americans would have a higher initial retiree benefit from the current Social Security program than from an individual account plan if the existing $90,000 wage cap was eliminated and all local, state, and federal workers were brought into the program to fill the projected funding deficit, a new EBRI analysis of various Social Security options shows.  But the study also shows that more of today’s younger workers would have a higher initial retiree benefit from an individual account plan than if nothing is done to reform the currently projected underfunded program. Press Release. Futher information can be found in this supplemental material

Research findings from EBRI's Social Security Research Program [includes Information and Resources for Reporters]

Frequently Asked Questions About Benefits - This section of EBRI's Web site is designed to answer basic questions about major benefit issues and trends. It provides short, graphical answers, with links to the detailed data underlying the figure. In addition, references are provided to the relevant EBRI publication.


EBRI Research Findings for 2003-2004:

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What's new in employee benefits:

  • HR News Online -- a daily update from the Society for Human Resource Management

The following items have been added to the Government Accountability Office's Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format:

Reports
Highlights of a GAO Forum: The Future of the Defined Benefit System and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. GAO-05-578SP, June 2005.  Highlights

Private Pensions: Government Actions Could Improve the Timeliness and Content of Form 5500 Pension Information. GAO-05-491, June 3.  Highlights

Testimonies
Social Security Reform: Considerations for Individual Account Design, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security sssues, before the Subcommittee on Social Security, House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-05-847T, June 23.   Highlights

Social Security: Coverage of Public Employees and Implications for Reform, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Social Security, House Committee on Ways and Means. GAO-05-786T, June 9.  Highlights

Private Pensions: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and Long-Term Budgetary Challenges, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the House Committee on the Budget. GAO-05-772T, June 9.  Highlights

Employee Benefits Security Administration: Improvements Have Been Made to Pension Enforcement Program but Significant Challenges Remain, by Barbara D. Bovbjerg, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. GAO-05-784T, June 9.  Highlights

Private Pensions: Revision of Defined Benefit Pension Plan Funding Rules Is an Essential Component of Comprehensive Pension Reform, by David M. Walker, comptroller general of the United States, before the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-05-794T, June 7.  Highlights

If a title link above no longer works, click here for the Find GAO Reports page and search for the report by report number,  title, abstract, agency/organization names, or subject terms.   Searches for reports can also be conducted in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports Online via GPO Access database.

If your computer does not already have the free Adobe Acrobat viewer software to read PDF files, click here for the one-time download necessary to read PDF publications.


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has established a National Call Center to serve its customers.  By calling 1-866-4-USA-DOL, America's employees and employers can find answers to questions on a range of employment issues.  This toll-free service offers live operator assistance and is a central access point for all DOL services and programs.  It serves both English and Spanish speaking callers.  The Call Center can assist workers and employers with questions about job loss, business closures, pay and leave, workplace injuries, safety and health, pension and health benefits, and reemployment rights for reservists.

 Additional Department of Labor toll-free numbers to call for questions regarding specific issues are listed below:

  •  1-877-US-2JOBS     Job Loss, Layoffs, Business Closures, Unemployment Benefits and Job Training

  •  1-866-4-US-WAGE     Pay, Overtime, Leave and Child Labor

  •  1-800-321-OSHA     Workplace Safety and Health

  •  1-877-889-5627     TTY number for all Department of Labor Questions


The Internal Revenue Service has announced that technical or procedural questions relating to retirement plans are answered at the EP Customer Account Services site.  Answers to many questions may already be available under Frequently Asked Questions about Retirement Plans.  If not:

Call:   TE/GE Customer Account Services at (877) 829-5500 (toll-free number).
            The call center is open 8:00am to 6:30pm Eastern Time.

Write:   Internal Revenue Service
               TE/GE Division, Customer Service
               P.O. Box 2508
               Cincinnati, OH 45201

Email:   RetirementPlanQuestions@irs.gov
               Note: All questions submitted via e-mail must be responded to via telephone,
               so please remember to include your phone number in your message.


[7/28/05] Business Insurance: "House Passes Bill for Small-Employer Health Plans"

[7/28/05] H.R.525, Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2005: “To amend title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to improve access and choice for entrepreneurs with small businesses with respect to medical care for their employees.” Bill Summary & Status Information

[7/28/05] U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi, House Democrats Introduce AmeriSave, a Plan for Retirement Security

[7/28/05] Watson Wyatt Insider: "Finance Committee Approves Pension Reform Legislation"

[7/28/05] The ERISA Industry Committee: Plain English Explanation of Funding Requirements for Single-Employer Pension Plans

[7/28/05] U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation: Estimated Revenue Effects of the Chairman’s Modifications to the “National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act of 2005” [NESTEG]: Fiscal Years 2006 - 2015

[7/25/05] U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation: Description of the Chairman’s Mark of the “National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act of 2005” [NESTEG]

[7/25/05] Employee Benefit News: "DOL Considers Measures to Help Plan Sponsors Get Fee Info"

[7/25/05] Economic Policy Institute Issue Brief: "Shifting Risk: Workers Today Near Retirement More Vulnerable and With Lower Pensions"

[7/25/05] AARP: How Carve-Out Private Accounts Deal with Increases in Life Expectancy [Fact Sheet]

[7/22/05] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Retiree Drug Subsidy Program [resource center]. Treatment of Account-Based Health Arrangements under the Medicare Modernization Act

[7/22/05] National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans: Legislative Scorecard [2005 Health, Pension, and Tax Legislation]

[7/22/05] U.S. Department of the Treasury: Use of Electronic Technologies for Providing Employee Benefit Notices and Transmitting Employee Benefit Elections and Consents; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Public Hearing [published in the Federal Register July 14, 2005]

[7/22/05] American Benefits Council: Summary: July 2005 Treasury and IRS Proposed Regulations -- Use of Electronic Technologies for Notices, Elections and Consents

[7/21/05] U.S. Social Security Administration: Estimated Financial Effects of the “Growing Real Ownership for Workers Act of 2005” H.R.3304 -- Information

[7/21/05] 401khelpcenter.com: "Understanding the True Cost of Your 401k Plan" [guest article]

[7/21/05] BenefitNews.com: "Airline Moves Salaried Employees from DB Plan"

[7/21/05] Deloitte: Options Take a Hit, but What Will Take Their Place? The 2005 Deloitte Stock Compensation Survey

[7/21/05] Towers Perrin Perspectives: "Employers Are Using New Strategies to Manage Prescription Drug Costs"

[7/20/05] Business Insurance: "Ways and Means Looks at Cementing 401(k) Boosts"

[7/20/05] Dechert LLP: Qualified Roth Contribution Programs Set to Debut in 2006

[7/20/05] Associated Press (via Forbes.com): "Many Companies Struggle With Pension Costs"

[7/20/05] Ariel Mutual Funds/Charles Schwab & Co.: "Employer Retirement Plans Could Help Close the Gap Between White and Black Stock Market Participation" [Press Release]. 2005 Ariel/Schwab Black Investor Survey Results

[7/20/05] AARP: International Retirement Security Survey

[7/20/05] Employee Benefit News: "Making a Business Case for Domestic Partner Benefits"

[7/19/05] Employee Benefit News: "Roth 401(k)s: Not Just for the Rich"

[7/19/05] Milliman, Inc. PERiScope: IRS Proposes New Section 415 Regulations

[7/19/05] U.S. Social Security Administration Policy Brief: The Distributional Consequences of a “No-Action” Scenario: Updated Results

[7/19/05] National Center for Employee Ownership: "Deloitte Survey Shows a Third of Companies Dropping Broad-Based Options"

[7/15/05] Congressional Research Service: Defined Benefit Pension Reform for Single-Employer Plans

[7/15/05] Prudential Financial: Compliance Checklist 2005 for Defined Benefit Plans, Defined Contribution Plans, and 403(b) Plans That Are Subject to ERISA

[7/15/05] Prudential Financial: Compliance Checklist 2005 for Governmental and Nonelecting Church Plans, Non-ERISA 403(b) Programs, 457 Plans, and Other Nonqualified Executive Benefit Plans That Are Not Subject to ERISA

[7/15/05] Milliman, Inc.: Medicare Part D Strategies for Plan Sponsors

[7/15/05] U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: HHS Secretary Names Medicaid Advisory Commission Members

[7/13/05] AARP: Administrative Costs for Social Security Private Accounts

[7/13/05] S.1304, Pension Benefits Protection Act of 2005: “A bill to amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to protect pension benefits of employees in defined benefit plans and to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to enforce the age discrimination requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.” Bill Summary & Status Information

[7/13/05] Kaiser Family Foundation: Women and Health Care: A National Profile

[7/13/05] Contingencies: "Electronic Processing of Participant Loans in Retirement Plans"

[7/13/05] Compensation and Working Conditions Online: "The Effect of Unions on Employee Benefits: Recent Results from the Employer Costs for Employee Compensation Data"

[7/13/05] The ERISA Industry Committee: Education and Workforce Committee Approves H.R.2830, with Amendments

[7/13/05] The ERISA Industry Committee: Comparison of Significant Pension Reform Proposals [prepared by Deloitte Consulting LLP for The ERISA Industry Committee]

[7/13/05] MarketWatch: "Older Adults Fret Over Health Security; Study: Most Back New Account, Early Medicare Enrollment"

[7/13/05] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Flexible Work Schedules in 2004 [chart data]. Formal Flexitime Programs Not Common [chart data]

[7/1/05] U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security: The Growing Real Ownership for Workers Act of 2005 - Summary. GROW Accounts [One-Page Summary]

[7/1/05] The Hill: "Boehner Outlines His Pension-Overhaul Bill"

[7/1/05] The Segal Company Bulletin: "New Retirement Savings Accounts Proposed: ERSAs, RSAs, and LSAs"

[7/1/05] The Retirement Security Project: Protecting Low-Income Families' Savings: How Retirement Accounts Are Treated in Means-Tested Programs and Steps to Remove Barriers to Retirement Saving

[7/1/05] U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security: Eighth in a Series of Subcommittee Hearings on Protecting and Strengthening Social Security

[7/1/05] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: Pension Markets in Focus [June 2005, Issue 1]

[7/1/05] 401k Source.com: 401k Averages Book, 7th Edition

[7/1/05] Urban Institute: "Tax Credits for Health Insurance"

Updated 7/28/05