From the Pension Rights Center:
May is Older Americans Month, a time to celebrate the contributions older Americans have made to society — and to focus attention on the many services available to older Americans as part of the Older Americans Act.
The services that the Pension Rights Center is most proud of are those provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging's Pension Counseling and Information Program. The agency offers free legal assistance to people who need help in obtaining the retirement benefits they have earned. The Pension Rights Center provides training and technical assistance to the program's regional pension counseling projects. Since it was launched in 1993, the program has helped retirees and their families obtain more than $190 million in retirement benefits.
Throughout the month, the Pension Rights Center will highlight successful cases handled by the counseling projects.
- You will read about Vicki, who was shocked when she was told that she wasn't eligible for the pension her husband had told her would be there for her after his death.
- You'll also read about Bill, who was told that his 15 years of work had earned him only a one-time $500 lump sum, despite the fact that he knew he was entitled to a pension.
- You'll also read stories about many others who will now receive their pensions as a result of the work of the counseling projects.
- Finally, you can watch a video about the pension counseling projects that feature just a few of the real people whose lives were forever changed by the Pension Counseling and Information Program.
The Pension Counseling and Information Program provides free legal assistance to individuals in 30 states. To find out if you can be helped by a counseling project, visit http://www.pensionrights.org/find-help.
The best time to start thinking about and saving for retirement is always right now.
While that's true for everyone, recently there's been a steady flow of stories about twenty and thirty-somethings to get them ready for life after work.
That's because the estimates for how much a 20-year-old needs to save go as high as $7 million.
For some, the enormity of the task has paralyzed them into inaction, while others view themselves as highly disciplined money managers - a trait discussed in a recent report by Time.
There are many in the financial planning community who advise starting a savings plan with at least 10 percent of your yearly income. But for a generation with competing financial concerns like rent, car payments, and student loans, it's too easy not to save now for a need that's decades away.
Did you recently receive an Annual Funding Notice? Wondering what it means?
Annual Funding Notices keep you (pension plan participants) informed about the financial status of your pension plan.
Now, you're probably wondering why you received the letter. The answer is simple. You received the letter because employers are required to send an Annual Funding Notice each year to everyone covered by their pension plan.
The notice provides you with information about:
- How well your pension plan is funded
- The value of your pension plan's assets and liabilities
- How your pension plan's assets are invested
- The legal limits on how much PBGC can pay if your pension plan ends
The bottom line is there is no need to panic. The notice does not mean that your pension plan is ending or that PBGC is taking over payment of your benefit. While PBGC insures your pension, the pension plan remains under the sponsorship of your employer. PBGC does not have any specific information about your benefit.
For questions about your funding notice, pension plan, or individual benefit, please contact your pension plan administrator, not PBGC. PBGC only has information about pension plans that have ended. You can find contact information for the pension plan administrator in the annual funding notice or through the employer sponsoring the plan, typically via the human resources office.
Additional information is available on our Annual Funding Notice for Defined Benefit Pension Plans page.
Every March we celebrate the profound impact women continue to have on American and world history. While Women's History Month is usually the designated time of year to robustly commemorate the contributions women have made to society, we also think it's a good time to take a look at the state of women's retirement security. After all, life after retirement is very important to "women's history."
First, let's be clear, the retirement picture is dismal for both men and women. But compared to men, women's retirement security is often less than adequate.
The United States Department of Labor reports married women tend to outlive their spouses by two years once they reach age 65 — that's two whole years of additional savings needed to cover the cost of living expenses that some do not factor in. Women also tend to take a more conservative approach when it comes to saving for retirement. Simply put, women do not invest in high-risk stocks because of the volatility of the stock market.
Another factor contributing to the bleak retirement outlook is women often delay saving for retirement. The Department of Labor also reports only 45 percent of the 62 million salaried women working in the United States contribute to a retirement plan.
By now, you have probably received your Form 1099-R from us.
As you arrange to have your income taxes prepared and filed, we would like to share some important information about PBGC benefits and taxes.
While PBGC is required to withhold federal income tax, we do not withhold for state taxes. If your state has an income tax, you may owe tax on your PBGC benefit. To find out more, contact your state tax office (Excel file, 14.4 KB).
Also, if you receive a benefit from PBGC, we report the amount annually to the IRS.
For income tax purposes, each January PBGC sends you an IRS Form 1099-R that states the amount we paid you the previous year.
If you need a Form 1099-R for 2013 and haven't received it, PBGC will get you one.
The IRS has a tool, "Is My Pension or Annuity Payment Taxable?" that will help you determine if your pension or annuity payment from an employer-sponsored retirement plan is taxable.
The beginning of a new year typically means the onset of new goals and perhaps the continuation of last year's resolutions. For many, saving more money might always be #1 or a close second on that list.
One source of this year's extra savings could be money from an unclaimed pension.
Across the country, there are more than 31,000 people who haven't claimed pension benefits they are owed. Those unclaimed pensions are now north of $280 million, with individual benefits ranging from 12 cents to almost $1 million.
The states with the most missing pension participants and money to be claimed are:
- New York (6,678/$40.33 million)
- Illinois (4,344/$85.36 million)
- California (2,966/$7.64 million)
- Texas (2,278/$10.68 million)
- New Jersey (2,114/$11.70 million)
- Ohio (1,908/$12.82 million)