Federal law requires polling places for federal elections to be accessible to older voters & voters with physical disabilities. Following reports of problems encountered in the close 2000 presidential election with respect to voter registration lists, absentee ballots, ballot counting, & antiquated voting systems, the Help Amer. Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) was enacted. Among HAVA includes requirements for the accessibility of voting systems. This testimony focuses on: (1) a variety of factors that affect the ability of older voters to travel to polling places, cast their votes in the voting room, or avail themselves of alternative voting provisions; & (2) trends & changes regarding the accessibility of polling places & alternative voting methods. Illus.
Recent market declines have significantly diminished the asset value of state and local pension plans (PP). Reported unfunded liabil. for these plans are estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars. As a result, in the long term, these governments may need to make significant fiscal adjustments such as modifying employee benefits, or increasing contributions to plans. They may also alter invest. strategies to attempt to maximize returns by assuming increased risk. This report examined: (1) who makes invest. decisions for PP and what guides their decision making; (2) how PP allocate their assets and manage their invest.; and (3) practices that PP are using to meet a range of challenges in governance, invest., or funding. Illus. A print on demand report.
Some U.S. financial and pension consulting firms have recently proposed alternatives to terminating a defined benefit (DB) pension plan and contracting with an insur. co. to pay promised benefits. In their proposals, a plan sponsor would transfer the assets and liabilities of a hard-frozen DB plan along with additional money to a financial entity, which would become the new sponsor. This report addresses the following questions: (1) What is the basic model of proposed sales of frozen DB plans to third-party financial firms and how does it compare with a standard plan termination? (2) What are the potential risks and benefits of plan buyouts for participants, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), plan sponsors, and other stakeholders?
The Social Security number (SSN) was created in 1936 as a means to track workers earnings and eligibility for Social Security benefits. Since that time, the number has been used for myriad non-Social Security purposes. Private sector use of the SSN has grown exponentially. For example, businesses may ask individuals to provide their SSNs when they apply for credit, seek medical or other insurance coverage, rent an apartment, or place an order for merchandise. In addition, many federal, state, and local government agencies also use the SSN. In some cases, these government agencies use SSNs as they administer their programs to deliver services or benefits to the public. Individuals who provide SSNs to receive these services and benefits may expect the SSNs to be considered confidential and thus protected from public disclosure. In other cases, government agencies serve as the repository for records or documents that are routinely made available to the public for inspection. These public records may contain SSNs.
In 1999, disabled beneficiaries & their families accounted for about 17% of all Social Security (SS) beneficiaries. This report assesses the potential effects of Social Security reform options on the solvency of the Social Security Disability Insur. (DI) program trust fund & the benefits disabled beneficiaries receive. It analyzes both the potential effects of comprehensive SS reform proposals on the solvency of the DI trust fund & on the benefits that disabled beneficiaries receive & the likely contribution that individual proposal provisions would make to these effects. Examines the implications of SS reform for the Supplemental Security-income individuals with disabilities.
The U.S. Dept. of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Admin. (PWBA) works to safeguard the economic interests of more than 150 million people in an estimated 6 million employee benefit plans -- pension, health, and other plans with assets in excess of $5 trillion protected under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). This report discusses management issues associated with PWBA's enforcement of ERISA. It discusses: (1) PWBA's current strategy for enforcing ERISA's employee benefit plan provisions, and (2) the areas in which PWBA could improve the management of its enforcement program. Charts and tables.
Private pensions (PP) can help assure that workers receive adequate incomes in retirement. However, millions of workers have no individual pension coverage. Since the 1970s, only about half of the nation's workers have been covered by PP. This report examines the issues surrounding PP coverage and benefit adequacy and what measures might improve the income prospects of future retirees. Discusses the potential for reform of the PP system to improve workers' coverage and benefits. Reviews approaches other than the voluntary, single-employer-based pensions system that might expand pension coverage and improve the retirement income of those workers likely to lack pensions.