President Biden Celebrates the Butch Lewis Act on day PBGC issues final rule on law. President Joe Biden, surrounded by cheering workers and retirees, gave a heartfelt speech during a recent event in Cleveland that highlighted the importance of the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act (BLA). The President talked about the success of the bill in providing about $90 billion to rescue troubled multiemployer pension plans – and “protect the dignity of millions of workers who played by the rules and did their jobs day-in-and-day-out.” He was joined by other elected officials, the Secretary of Labor and retired trucker drivers, iron workers and spouses. Later in the day, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation issued final rules implementing the BLA to ensure that severely financially troubled plans will be able to meet their obligations to retirees until at least 2051. This is a reminder that BLA is a success story, saving an estimated 268 plans and the pension benefits of millions of workers and retirees.
PRC founder Karen Ferguson receives posthumous Public Service award. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans on May 24 gave its 2022 Public Service award to Karen, who died on December 23, 2021. Kevin E. Tighe, the IFEBP’s president and chair of the board, presented the award to Karen’s son, Andrew Ferguson, who accepted it on behalf of his mother. Andrew told those attending the award ceremony that his mom was dedicated to helping people, calling this her “superpower.” Also speaking was James A. Klein, president of the American Benefits Council (ABC), who explained that he nominated Karen for the award because she meant a lot to him and to the employee benefits community. He said she pursued the Pension Rights Center’s mission in a respectful manner that elicited cooperation even from those who disagreed with her views and which made progress possible. He then moderated a panel with PRC’s Executive Director Karen Friedman and ABC’s Senior Vice President Lynn D. Dudley, who debated various benefit plan issues. Read our blog post about the event here.
PRC sends a letter to the Senate HELP Committee on the RISE & SHINE Act. PRC sent comments on the discussion draft of the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement to Supplement Healthy Investments for the Nest Egg Act (RISE & SHINE Act). In the letter, PRC applauded several key consumer issues: the inclusion of provisions to address the practice of recoupment – where plans accidentally overpay individuals and then demand repayment – by providing certain key protections to retirees in these scenarios; and requiring that pension plans provide critical information to employees when they must choose between keeping a lifetime annuity or trading it for a lump sum payment offered by the company. We, however, expressed disappointment that the bill excludes the bi-partisan provisions creating the Retirement Savings Lost and Found Registry. This is an essential database that would help retirees find their retirement plans that are now difficult to locate because the company they worked for moved, changed its name, or went out of business. Read the full letter here.
PRC receives significant cy pres award donation from law firms. Three law firms involved in a class action settlement, Keller Rohrback LLP, Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky LLP and the Law Offices of Jonathan Feigenbaum, with the consent of the contending parties, designated the Pension Rights Center as the recipient of a $389,483 cy pres award, the largest cy pres award ever donated to the Center. A cy pres award allows for the distribution of leftover funds from a lawsuit settlement to be disbursed to a charitable organization whose mission generally aligns with the purpose of the action. “We are delighted to have obtained the award for the Pension Rights Center, which has for decades fought to protect and expand the retirement rights of workers and their families,” Keller Rohrback attorney Jeff Lewis said. Read our blog post about the award here.
PRC, National Women’s Law Center and WISER comment on Federal Retirement Board’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board’s new online recordkeeping system would detrimentally affect the rights of retirees and beneficiaries. PRC, National Women’s Law Center and WISER provided joint comments addressing their concerns with the notice’s new and less protective spousal consent requirements. The three organizations expressed their opposition to the rule’s elimination of the spousal consent notarization requirement and its failure to impose requirements on how spousal consents will be provided or executed under this online system. The organizations also decried the rule’s inadequate provisions for enforcing spousal consent requirements and assessing violation penalties. Read our full comments here.
Save the Date! PRC is throwing our first in-person event since 2019. It will be on October 26th (from 5:00-8:00 pm at Planet Word, 925 13th Street, NW, Washington, DC). Please come and help us celebrate our wonderful founder, the late Karen Ferguson, her legacy and the Pension Rights Center’s mission forward. You won’t want to miss this heartfelt event – good music, good food and good friends.
PRC Perspectives Blog
|Pension Rights Center Supports Domestic Partner’s Claim for Survivor Benefits
|Pension Rights Center’s Founder Karen Ferguson Receives Award Posthumously Recognizing Her Importance to Employee Benefits Field
|PRC receives major cy pres award
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