Updated on 10/17/2013
If you get your health care coverage through the Internal Revenue Service's HCTC Program, you should know that the program is in the process of returning to regular operations. For more information, please call the HCTC Customer Contact Center at 1-855-379-0440.
About 11,000 PBGC benefit recipients participate in the Health Care Tax Credit Program, administered by the Internal Revenue Service. If you get your health care through HCTC, please read the following important message from the IRS:
"10/10/13 - Due to the federal government shutdown, the HCTC Program is currently closed and unable to issue payments to Health Plan Administrators on behalf of Monthly HCTC Participants. Although invoices were mailed to Monthly HCTC Participants in October, a timely payment to Health Plan Administrators cannot be guaranteed at this time. Any payment made to the HCTC Program during the shutdown will be processed upon receipt. For anyone who has already paid, or plans to pay, the HCTC Program in October, a payment will be issued to your health plan as soon as the government reopens and the HCTC Program becomes operable. To prevent a lapse in your health coverage, the HCTC Program suggests that you make a 100% payment directly to your health plan administrator in October and then claim the yearly HCTC for that payment when you file your 2013 federal income tax return. We understand the financial hardship facing our HCTC Participants and apologize that we cannot provide greater support at this time."
Please note that PBGC has no further information about the status of HCTC.
Academy President-Elect Tom Terry, PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum, Academy President Cecil Bykerk
Source: American Academy of Actuaries
PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum addressed the American Academy of Actuaries board last week. He applauded the academy's discussion paper, "Risky Business: Living Longer Without Income for Life," and encouraged the group to continue its lifetime income initiative. Gotbaum also discussed PBGC's efforts promoting sound retirement systems, and provided several ideas for how Congress, the public, and employers could each do their part to make sufficient lifetime income a reality.
In August, an analysis by the academy supported the methods used by PBGC to calculate the agency's financial position. "The Pension Committee of the American Academy of Actuaries believes the methods and assumptions used by the PBGC produce a reasonable representation of the PBGC's current obligation and deficit," the group said.
Editor's note: Portions of this blog post were reprinted from This Week with permission from the American Academy of Actuaries.
Should the government shutdown, PBGC will stay open for business. All of us at PBGC—federal employees and contractors—will remain on the job. We will continue to pay benefits to the retirees who depend on us, to do our other work, and to honor our obligations.
This is not new. PBGC stayed open throughout the government shutdowns in 1995-96. That's because PBGC is different from most government agencies: Our funds are paid for by insurance premiums and plan assets, not taxpayer dollars.
As always, PBGC regards it as especially important to continue to do our work well, diligently, and with the dedication America's workers and retirees deserve.
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.
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!