A Day of Celebration and Resolve for Realizing PRC’s Vision

A Day of Celebration and Resolve for Realizing PRC’s Vision


By David Brandolph

February 17th will be a day to celebrate where the Pension Rights Center has been and where it’s heading.

Not only is it the PRC’s 46th anniversary, it’s also the birthday of the Center’s founder and hero, Karen Ferguson, who sadly died on December 23, 2021. While we miss Karen deeply, we are also celebrating her life, legacy and vision for the future that PRC is committed to carry forward.

On February 17th, the Pension Rights Center will be joined by Social Security Works and many other organizations and colleagues in organizing a day of action — including a Twitter storm, blogs and Congressional statements — that will honor Karen’s legacy and promote her retirement-security-for-all vision.

Everyone is invited to join in and add their tweets, blogs and statements about Karen’s and PRC’s accomplishments – and their real-world impact. It’s also a time to focus public attention on the need for an improved retirement income system and expanded Social Security.

Karen’s impact on this issue began on February 17, 1976, when she opened PRC’s doors to the nation. The Center was then what it is today, a stalwart consumer organization dedicated solely to protecting and promoting the retirement income security of American workers, retirees and their families.

Even back then, Karen could see much of what needed to improve to achieve retirement security for American workers and had concrete ideas about how to make her vision a reality. She wanted a world where there existed strong consumer protections for retirement plans and where the rights of working Americans were safeguarded. She wanted to ensure that people received the pension benefits they were promised. She also sought to create a nationwide network that would educate workers about their pension rights and assist them in securing the benefits they earned.

Under Karen’s leadership, the Pension Rights Center made significant advances toward these goals. Among its accomplishments, PRC has provided training and technical support to a 31-state network of pension counseling projects that help older persons get help with their pension problems and that has, thus far, recovered $277 million in benefits for more than 66,000 retirees, workers, widows, spouses and former spouses.

It has also helped to expand protections for older workers and retirees and widowed and divorced spouses in laws including: the Retirement Equity Act of 1984; Tax Reform Act of 1986; Pension Protection Act of 2006; and the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021.

More recently, PRC has been hard at work on many other issues, such as:

  • convening an ambitious common-ground Initiative on Women and Retirement at Divorce to address the challenges faced by women in securing their rightful share of their spouse’s retirement benefits during divorce;
  • monitoring the implementation of the Butch Lewis Act, which Congress passed, with the input of PRC and our allies, to protect the pensions of millions of workers and retirees in underfunded multiemployer plans;
  • advocating for policy solutions to ensure retirees are protected from the often-harsh consequences when plans accidentally overpay them and then seek to recoup the money as well as the establishment of a Lost Plan Registry to ensure workers can find their retirement plans when their employers move, change names or merge; and
  • promoting innovative ways to expand coverage and work long-term for a secure and adequate retirement system on top of a strengthened Social Security system.

So, please join us on February 17, as the PRC celebrates its legacy and aspirations.

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