Retirement benefits (1 - 10 of 151 items)
401(K) Plans: Effects of Eligibility and Vesting Policies on Workers' Retirement Savings
GAO-17-69: Published: Oct 21, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 2016.
GAO's nongeneralizable survey of 80 401(k) plans ranging in size from fewer than 100 participants to more than 5,000 and its review of industry data found that many plans have policies that affect workers' ability to (1) save in plans (eligibility policies), (2) receive employer contributions, and (3) keep those employer contributions if they leave their job (vesting policies). Thirty-three of 80...
401(K) PLANS: DOL Could Take Steps to Improve Retirement Income Options for Plan Participants
GAO-16-433: Published: Aug 9, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 2016.
Workers relying in large part on their 401(k) plan in retirement may not always have a feasible way to make their savings last throughout retirement. Responses to GAO’s non-generalizable questionnaire from 11 401(k) plan record keepers—entities that manage participant account data and transactions for plans—showed that most plans covered by the questionnaire had not adopted products and serv...
Retirement Security: Shorter Life Expectancy Reduces Projected Lifetime Benefits for Lower Earners
GAO-16-354: Published: Mar 25, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 4, 2016.
The increase in average life expectancy for older adults in the United States contributes to challenges for retirement planning by the government, employers, and individuals. Social Security retirement benefits and traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans, both key sources of retirement income that promise lifetime benefits, are now required to make payments to retirees for an increasing num...
Private Pensions: Participants Need Better Information When Offered Lump Sums That Replace Their Lifetime Benefits
GAO-15-74: Published: Jan 27, 2015. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2015.
Little public data are available to assess the extent to which sponsors of defined benefit plans are offering participants immediate lump sums to replace their lifetime annuities, but certain laws and regulations provide incentives for use of this practice. Although the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has primary responsibility for overseeing pension sponsors' reporting requirements, it does not re...
401(K) Plans: Greater Protections Needed for Forced Transfers and Inactive Accounts
GAO-15-73: Published: Nov 21, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 2014.
When a participant has saved less than $5,000 in a 401(k) plan and changes jobs without indicating what should be done with the money, the plan can transfer the account savings—a forced transfer—into an individual retirement account (IRA). Savings in these IRAs are intended to be preserved by the conservative investments allowed under Department of Labor (DOL) regulations. However, GAO found t...
Private Pensions: Pension Tax Incentives Update
GAO-14-334R: Published: Mar 20, 2014. Publicly Released: Apr 21, 2014.
To encourage private-sector employers to sponsor new pension plans and U.S. workers to save for retirement, federal law authorizes a variety of tax incentives, such as the ability to defer taxes on contributions to qualified plans until the funds are distributed, up to certain limits. Since 2000, the dollar amount of these limits has increased over time. However, from 2009 through 2011, the number...
Retirement Security: Trends in Marriage and Work Patterns May Increase Economic Vulnerability for Some Retirees
GAO-14-33: Published: Jan 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 2014.
Over the last 50 years, the composition and work patterns of the American household have changed dramatically. During this period, the proportion of unmarried and never-married individuals in the population increased steadily as couples chose to marry at later ages and live together prior to marriage. At the same time, the proportion of single-parent households more than doubled. These trends were...
U.S. Postal Service: Health and Pension Benefits Proposals Involve Trade-offs
GAO-13-872T: Published: Sep 26, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 2013.
GAO has reported that Congress needs to modify the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) retiree health benefit payments in a fiscally responsible manner. GAO also has reported that USPS should prefund any unfunded retiree health benefit liability to the maximum extent that its finances permit. Deferring funding for postal retiree health benefits could increase costs for future ratepayers and increase the...
Automatic IRAS: Lower-Earning Households Could Realize Increases in Retirement Income
GAO-13-699: Published: Aug 23, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2013.
Households without employer-sponsored defined contribution (DC) pension plans or individual retirement accounts (IRA) had lower incomes and tax rates than households with those plans, and are also likely to have limited additional resources to draw upon in retirement, according to GAO estimates. The median adjusted gross income for households without DC plans or IRAs was $32,000, compared to $75,0...
Retirement Security: Challenges and Prospects for Employees of Small Businesses
GAO-13-748T: Published: Jul 16, 2013. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2013.
About 14 percent of small employers sponsor some type of plan for their employees to save for retirement and these employers in general can face numerous challenges establishing and maintaining a plan. GAO's March 2012 report found that many of the small employers who were contacted said they felt overwhelmed by the number of plan options, plan administration requirements, and fiduciary responsibi...