- ProtectSeniors.Org achieves introduction of benefit protection legislation in Congress
- Pension protection legislation passes in the Pennsylvania House with overwhelming bipartisan support
- the benefits of using our Legislative Action system
- Legislative report from the annual meeting
PA House passes legislation to protect retirees
referred to Judiciary committee in the State Senate
A bill protecting the assets of Pennsylvania retirees whose pensions have been sold off passed the State House overwhelmingly, and advocates are calling on the State Senate to follow suit.
The legislation, House Bill 324, would prevent creditors from garnishing the retirement assets of retirees whose pensions have been converted into annuities.
Pensions are protected from creditors under the federal ERISA law, but once a pension is converted to a pension replacing group annuity, or “de-risked,” it loses all those legal protections. This Pennsylvania legislation would provide that protection at the state level.
The legislation was introduced by State Representative Warren Kampf (R-PA) and has now been referred to the Judiciary Committee in the Senate.
“This legislation will give back the protections retirees lost when their pensions were de-risked,” said James Casey, President of ProtectSeniors.Org, a national non-profit, advocacy group that fought for the bill. “Retirees across Pennsylvania are currently vulnerable to losing their nest eggs when they need it most. It is essential that the Pennsylvania State Senate shows itself to be an ally of older residents and pass this crucial legislation.”
ProtectSeniors.Org has over 5,800 retiree members in Pennsylvania, many of whom were among the 41,000 Verizon retirees whose pensions were sold off to Prudential in January 2013.
Don Kaufmann, a Gettysburg, Pennsylvania resident and director of the Association of BellTel Retirees, a retiree advocacy group, was one of the 41,000 who were de-risked said, “I dedicated 30 years to Bell of PA and Bell Atlantic, now Verizon, and to have the company strip my pension payments from the protections built into ERISA is unacceptable and breaks a fiduciary commitment Verizon made upon my retirement. I am asking elected officials in the Pennsylvania Senate to protect retirees, now and in the future, by passing this legislation.”
ProtectSeniors.Org is a non-profit retiree advocacy organization fighting to protect the benefits of millions of retirees across the United States. Its membership includes retirees from 392 companies, 45 labor unions, 98 municipal, state and federal retiree groups, and 16 retiree associations.
Bi-Partisan Retiree Healthcare Protection Legislation Arrives on Capitol Hill
Washington, DC- With earned health care benefits under continuing threat, American retirees would gain further protections under legislation introduced in the U.S. House in May 2017.
The bi-partisan bill, H.R.2578, requires that retirees be informed of a modification or termination of their benefits and creates a legal presumption that earned healthcare benefits cannot be reduced or terminated during retirement. It was introduced by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), ranking member of the House Rules Committee, and Representative Walter Jones (R-NC).
It would help ensure that employment commitments to provide company-funded healthcare that were made to workers in some cases 30-plus years ago would be fulfilled. The legislation is backed by the national advocacy group ProtectSeniors.Org, which was instrumental in getting the bill introduced.
This legislation protects earned benefits, does not increase taxes, and if included in the new healthcare plan, would reduce the cost of any bill that reaches the President’s desk.
U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY-25) said, “Our retirees cannot continue to live in fear that the benefits they have earned after decades of work could simply be stripped away at a moment’s notice. Solving this problem and defending our nation’s retirees begins with passing my bill. I will continue to advance this legislation for workers across Monroe County and the nation.”
“When we went to work for our employers, we were asked to work for less pay, take less vacation time and in return, we would receive healthcare benefits during retirement,” said James Casey, president of ProtectSeniors.Org. “We lived up to our end of the deal and cannot reclaim years of service already rendered to our employers and we are now simply asking our former employers to live up to theirs.”
ProtectSeniors.Org Chairman, C. William Jones said, “While Senate Republicans begin re-writing the health care plan to repeal and replace the ACA, an opportunity has arisen for ProtectSeniors.Org to make a case for retirees to be included in the new plan. We believe that if included, H.R. 2578 will lower the cost of the health care plan by making it more difficult for the private sector to shift its financial obligations onto the federal government and put a stop to companies that dump their retirees off their company sponsored healthcare plans.”
ProtectSeniors.Org is a national organization of retirees that represents 450,000 retirees from 392 different companies and 74 different unions, all dedicated to improving post-retirement healthcare policy.
In this issue:
- Public and private pensions at risk
- Executive Director’s report on the need for retirees to demand real healthcare and pension protections from our elected officials
- legislative update state by state
- and ways to get involved with ProtectSeniors.Org
“This bill is an attack on hard working Americans, retirees and seniors in favor of tax cuts for large corporations and wealthy individuals. As one of the nation’s leading retiree advocacy organizations, we urge Congress to stand up for older Americans by voting down this harmful legislation. We cannot stand by and watch our elected leaders create a new national medical system that balances the cost of healthcare on the backs of older Americans.
We are a block of voters leaders can count on to reliably come out every single Election Day. If you stand with us, we will stand with you and we will remember how you voted on the future of our healthcare protections come 2018.
If the Affordable Care Act is to be fixed, then improvements need to be made in a way that provides better coverage and strengthens protections for older and working Americans. Congress ought to go back to the drawing board and come up with a plan that improves our health care, protects retirees and covers more Americans, not another giveaway to the wealthy and the insurance, pharma and medical industry CEOs.”
Statement from Jim Casey, President of ProtectSeniors.Org on the healthcare plan:
“As an organization dedicated to enhancing the economic security and quality of life for America’s seniors, ProtectSeniors.Org cannot support the current form of the American Health Care Act. First and foremost, any new healthcare bill must restore the $700 billion taken away from Medicare to pay for the Affordable Care Act.
Congress ought to be focused on preserving Medicare and Social Security and ensuring that private sector pensions and earned healthcare benefits for millions of older Americans are protected.
For our part, ProtectSeniors.Org is the only organization that has a plan to solve the healthcare crisis for a large group of older Americans which is also fiscally responsible and would come at no cost to the taxpayer. The Administration and Congress should go back to the drawing board and together draft a new health care plan that better supports seniors and their health care needs.”
In this issue:
- Executive Director Paul Miller discussing what a new administration and Congress in 2017 means for retirees
- A look back at 2016’s impact
- More corporate retirees have their pension de-risked
- Our “Broken Promises” Video series
- Important retiree pension litigation to continues
In this issue, read about: