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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

PBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 830 current and future retirees of Noble Health Systems Inc., which operates Noble Hospital, a 97-bed acute-care hospital in Westfield, Mass.

The agency stepped in because the hospital can't pay its pension obligations and remain in business.

PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by the hospital's retirees up to the legal limit of $54,000 a year 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, as of April 15, 2011, the pension plan was 61 percent funded with $28 million in assets to pay $46 million in benefits. The agency expects to cover $17.8 million of the $17.9 million shortfall.

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Did you catch Director Josh Gotbaum's interview on C-SPAN? In case you missed it, we've got the details.

Josh spoke with Bob Litan, director of research at Bloomberg Government, about PBGC's efforts to safeguard the pensions of millions of Americans. Another trending topic Director Gotbaum spoke about: multiemployer pension plans and PBGC's multiemployer program.

Then, the conversation gained added insights from panelists Earl Pomeroy, Cary Franklin, Norman Stein, and Randy DeFrehn. 

Together, the panelists and Director Gotbaum talked about the need for pension reform.

Check out Director Gotbaum's remarks on C-SPAN.

The month of May is declared as Older Americans Month! Sponsored by the U.S. Administration on Aging, this year's theme is "Unleash the Power of Age."

In President Obama's proclamation of this month of recognition, he noted, "As older Americans strive to lift up their neighborhoods, my Administration is working to make sure they get the tools they need to make a difference."

One of those tools that aid older Americans in being able to "unleash the power of age" and thrive after retiring from years of service is the ability to collect the monthly pension check they've earned.

Older Americans

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation protects the retirement incomes of more than 44 million American workers. Eighty-five percent of retirees who receive benefits from PBGC receive the full amount of the promised benefit.

That's what makes the work of PBGC important — we're working to preserve pension plans and to make new plans possible for coming generations of older Americans, too.

As the days of the month pass, stay tuned for more from PBGC as we recognize and honor the contributions of older Americans!

In the meantime, we'd like to share a video about how PBGC works to protect pensions.

PBGC.gov Goes Mobile

  |   April 30, 2013

The new look of PBGC.gov on a mobile phone.Almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet, and many popular websites and web apps are available in mobile versions. Well now, so is PBGC.gov.

It doesn't require a special link or access code. Simply visit www.pbgc.gov from your smartphone and you'll be redirected to the mobile version housing some of our most visited pages on the site. From the PBGC mobile version, you have full access to much of the same content that appears on our desktop version, including:

  • Workers & Retirees
  • Practitioners
  • About
  • News
  • Blog
  • Rates

You can also perform searches and contact PBGC by phone or email with the simple click of a button.

If you want to opt out of viewing the site in the mobile format, that's simple too! Just click on the "Desktop Version" tab on the bottom of the screen.

Want to see how the mobile version of PBGC.gov looks? Go ahead, grab your smartphone, and visit www.pbgc.gov.

‘What is a Pension?’

  |   April 17, 2013

PBGC protects pensions. So, what is a pension? To most people, a pension is a retirement arrangement in which your employer promises you a regular payment from the day you retire, for as long as you live. The amount of your pension usually depends on how long you worked for an employer and your salary with that employer. Ask a retiree, "What is a pension?" and they may say,

"A pension is the $400 per month I receive for my many years of service at Acme Widgets. My pension helps to supplement the $600 per month I receive from Social Security and my retirement savings."

Normally, employees must work for an employer for a certain time period before the benefits they have earned belong to them. After they have done so, they are considered "vested" in those benefits. Today, in some pension plans, you are fully vested after five years on the job. In others, it takes you seven years to become fully vested - but you become vested in increasing portions of your benefit starting at three years. If you've worked for more than one company long enough to become vested in multiple pension plans, you can receive more than one pension payment.

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Surveys: Tell Us the Truth

  |   April 15, 2013

So far, in fiscal year 2013, PBGC has surveyed around 10,000 folks, but what does it mean?

When PBGC comes into someone's life, it may be at a time when everything is broken. Customers have lost jobs, insurance, promise of a comfortable retirement. Death, disease, and disability may bring these trials to a crisis.  While the Corporation can't solve every customer's every problem, it can provide compassionate and responsive service to those who may feel cheated, abused, or simply discarded by the trusted employer who terminated a promised pension.

PBGC can and does measure how many benefit determinations we send out and how fast we issue benefit estimates, which is just part of the story. We won't know about our success in providing information through online sources and by delivering checks, until we hear from the person on the other end. Was it on time by your definition? Was it what you needed? Did we help you understand?

When you tell us the truth, you reveal the opportunities for a process that flows well and makes sense, a graphic that makes a complicated matter clear, a few words that provide assurance and restore a little bit of faith in humanity.

PBGC welcomes your feedback, your questions, and especially your ideas on how we can all work together to make those moments of beauty a more frequent reality for you the customer.