Pension Action Center

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Pension Notes

View past issues of our newsletter Pension Notes

PAC Comments To IRS on Revenue Procedures Related To Recoupment

On July 16, 2015, Ellen Bruce, JD, Senior Fellow, Gerontology Institute and former Director of The Pension Action Center submitted comments to the IRS advocating for retirees rights when faced with recoupment and corrective action taken by pension plans.

Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act (Passed January 4, 2015)

The IL Secure Choice Savings Program Act creates an automatic enrollment payroll deduction IRA. The purpose of the program is to promote increased retirement savings participation for employees in the private sector.

Finding a Financial Planner

This fact sheet provides information on how to find the right financial planner to help you meet your retirement planning goals.

Finding a Lost Pension

The Pension Action Center at the Gerontology Institute, University of Massachusetts Boston was a partner with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in the development of this booklet.

Letter Regarding IRS Form 8955-SSA Participant Notice Requirement

On April 27, 2012, the Pension Action Center wrote to the Internal Revenue Service to advocate for the pension rights of American workers and retirees. The Pension Action Center’s letter was prompted by a request from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) that plans be relieved of their legal obligation to notify departing workers of their right to a pension.

Letter Regarding PBGC Request for Information on Missing Participants in Individual Account Plans

On August 19, 2013, the Pension Action Center wrote to the Office of the General Counsel of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in response to their request for comments on the implementation of a new program to deal with benefits of missing participants in terminating individual account plans.

Massachusetts State Public Worker Retirees: How Are They Doing?

Although much has been made of the Massachusetts State Retirement System's funding and abuses, little has been written about the benefits its provides.  A retirement system should be judged first on whether it meets its goal of providing for workers in retirement.

My Company is Freezing the Pension Plan: What does this mean? What should I do?

When employees are in a defined benefit pension plan, they need to keep an eye on two things that affect their pension: benefit accrual and vesting credit accrual.

The Pension Factor: Assessing the Role of Defined Benefit Plans in Reducing Elder Hardships

This 2009 study looked at the impact of defined benefit plan pensions and concluded:
“Rates of poverty among older households without DB [defined benefit] pension income were approximately six times greater than the rate among older households with DB pension income.”

Protect Your Pension: Important Documents You Should Keep

No matter what kind of pension or retirement plan your employer offers, you should keep certain documents indefinitely to ensure that your retirement benefit is paid correctly. Based on our experience with finding lost retirement income and assisting workers and retirees to get the benefits they have earned, we recommend that you save certain documents. This fact sheet outlines what these important documents are.

Protecting Your Retirement Savings from Potential Creditors

State and federal laws provide strong protections to New England residents to shield their retirement savings from creditors. The particular protections available depend on whether you have filed for bankruptcy, how your retirement savings are kept, and where you live.

Summary of Mass State Pension Reform Law: Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2011

Massachusetts passed significant changes to its public pension system meant to create cost savings for the state and to encourage employees to work longer. Most of the changes apply only to people hired after April 2, 2012. This summarizes the most important changes.

Testimony Before the ERISA Advisory Council

Ellen Bruce, director of the Gerontology Institute and its Pension Action Center, testified before the ERISA Advisory Council on June 4, 2013. Her testimony provides insight into the issue of lost pensions and outlines policy considerations and recommendations for addressing this problem.

Understanding the Differences Between Defined Benefit Pension And Defined Contribution

In recent years, more and more employers are offering employees defined contribution plans instead of defined benefit plans. Although, there has been a shift away from the defined benefit pension plan, it is important for employees to understand the difference and value of both pension plans. Each type of pension plan has both advantages and disadvantages. What may appear as an advantage to one person might seem to be a disadvantage to another person.

Understanding the Specialized Language of Retirement Plans

Whether you are a participant in a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan, the realm of pension benefits can be tricky and confusing to navigate. Some of the terminology used might be unfamiliar to the average person. This glossary of common terms associated with retirement plans is meant to serve as a helpful resource for plan participants.

Your Former Employer's 401(k) Plan

When you leave a job where you have participated in a 401(k) plan, you may have a number of different options about what to do with the money in that account. This fact sheet explains those options and offers guidance about the pros and cons of each option.

Giving to the Pension Action Center

Help people understand their retirement benefits through a gift to the center. Read More 

New England and Illinois Pension Counseling Projects

Learn more about what the lawyers and pension counselors at the center's counseling projects do and the types of cases they handle. Read More 

Investor Education Initiative

The Pension Action Center was recently awarded a $20,000 grant for new investor education initiative. Read More