From Phyllis C. Borzi, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security:
Women have made enormous strides over the past three decades, in the workplace and beyond – and it's important to reflect on the men and women who fought for the changes that have led to greater gender equality. One of those changes was introduced 29 years ago: The Retirement Equity Act became law, ushering in important protections for America's workers and their families.
As the assistant secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, one of my chief responsibilities is to oversee the administration and enforcement of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which sets minimum standards for pension plans.
ERISA was and is an important law that protects the retirement savings of America's workers, but the law's original text had some significant shortcomings, and those shortcomings disproportionately affected women.
ERISA has strict prohibitions against the "alienation of benefits," so that creditors could not claim an employee's pension benefits. But as written in 1974, this also meant that divorced women were unable to obtain their fair share of their ex-husband's retirement benefits – even if a woman had forfeited a career of her own in order to support a husband or raise the couple's children.
For more than 100 years, every Labor Day, America has celebrated working people's contributions. Labor Day is observed and celebrated in different ways all across the country by people in every walk of life. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
And after our working lives, we can continue to contribute to the country's strength and prosperity through secure retirements. When retirees can rely on their own secure retirement income, the economy wins, and that means workers win too.
PBGC wishes every American a safe and happy Labor Day. We reaffirm our commitment to protecting the more than 40 million American workers in private pension plans, to paying benefits for a million and a half people whose companies could not, and to fighting for American retirement security as part of every worker's American dream.
For a more in-depth look at the meaning of Labor Day, visit DOL's Labor Day 2013 webpage.
See the string of messages in the lower right-hand corner of this blog page? That's PBGC's Twitter feed. You can easily access the full feed on Twitter by clicking the famous Twitter bird under "Follow PBGC" to the right.
We use Twitter to spotlight our day-to-day efforts to protect pensions. When you follow us, you'll get quick bits of information to keep you in the know about PBGC. And each day you'll find a new fact about pensions, a link to a relevant article, or a news update about retirement security.
If you're among the more than 800,000 retirees who rely on PBGC for monthly income, you'll be first to get a link to your retiree newsletter.
If you work in the pension field, we'll tweet our monthly interest rates, premium filing updates, and news of important regulatory changes.
If you like one of our tweets and want to share it with friends, please favorite the tweet or simply retweet it, and help us spread the word as we work to save America's pensions.
Follow us at https://twitter.com/USPBGC.
The proposed Secure, Accessible, Flexible and Efficient (SAFE) Retirement Plan is outlined in the Center for American Progress's (CAP) report "American Retirement Savings Could Be Much Better." The SAFE Plan would combine elements of a traditional defined benefit pension — including regular lifetime payments in retirement, professional management, and pooled investing — with elements of a defined contribution plan, such as predictable costs for employers and portability for workers.
PBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 650 current and future retirees of Allied Systems Holdings Inc., a vehicle transportation business based in Atlanta, Ga.
The agency stepped in because Allied Systems is selling the majority of its assets in bankruptcy proceedings and potential buyers haven't agreed to continue the company's three single-employer pension plans.
PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by Allied Systems retirees up to the legal limit of about $57,500 for a 65-year-old.
Retirees will continue to get benefits without interruption, and future retirees can apply for benefits as soon as they are eligible.
According to PBGC estimates, Allied Systems plans are collectively 58 percent funded with $45 million in assets to pay $78 million in benefits. The agency expects to cover the entire $33 million shortfall.
MyPBA (My Pension Benefit Account) is our secure online service that lets you, the participant, handle certain common transactions with PBGC.
Participants in PBGC-trusteed plans can use PBGC's fast, free, and secure online service tool to apply for pension benefits, update contact information, adjust federal income tax withholding, and more.
Since generations accustomed to using technology are joining the ranks of retirees, this helps PBGC in enhancing technological resources, making your interactions with PBGC easier and more user-friendly.
The old system, which came online around 2004, has been decommissioned, while the new MyPBA recently got a facelift complete with features designed to give participants a more convenient option to calling the agency's Customer Contact Center.
Some of the new and improved items include:
- email communications
About 250,000 participants with MyPBA accounts are expected to use the new MyPBA system at some time in the future.
But, if you wish to call PBGC's Customer Contact Center, we'd still like to hear from you!