2016 is ProtectSeniors’ tenth anniversary and for the last decade we have been a vital and strong advocate for retirees, fighting to protect earned pensions, benefits and so much more.
This has been needed as one member recently noted, “the numerous retiree financial issues have been divided, so that they and we can be conquered. The attacks and tactics on retiree benefits by employers and government alike have meshed together and spread like viruses.”
To counter these very real retiree concerns, we have taken action on numerous fronts resulting in significant progress. Now we need you to help maintain that positive momentum in 2016. Our impact so far this year:
In late February, ProtectSeniors.Org met with federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Director W. Thomas Reeder and his executive staff to address de-risking concerns from a retirees’ perspective. ProtectSeniors.Org has been communicating with the PBGC’s senior staff for the last two years to better inform their leadership of the growing perils of pension de-risking and the personal impact on retirees who lose ERISA law protections.
We have also been advocating for the U.S. Department of Labor to strengthen national fiduciary and conflict of interest requirements for financial managers overseeing pension and other retirement savings. A federal ruling on this is expected by late spring or summer.
Bipartisan federal legislation drafted by ProtectSeniors, the Employee Benefits Protection Act (H.R. 1856) to mandate protections for retirees’ earned pension and healthcare benefits, has gained the attention of U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). The Congressional leadership has referred our bill to the House Healthcare Task Force for review, meaning it could be added into any Republican healthcare amendment this year.
In less than three months of 2016, this is what ProtectSeniors.Org has done on behalf of retirees on the federal level alone. But there is more.
On the state level, we are working in New York to get a new bill passed (S1092B/A6796A) to provide, for the first time, protections to retirees whose pensions are de-risked.
This includes protections from creditor claims, and prohibits the subsequent transfer of the retirees’ pension benefits without the confirmation that the insurer acquiring the group pension annuity contract has the financial strength to fulfill its long-term obligations to all retirees.
To follow up on our 2015 success in Connecticut, we are pushing for a strengthened de-risking protection bill, (H.B. 5445) – of course against the wishes of the insurance industry – to guarantee pension annuitants are provided mandatory annual financial disclosures, while also preventing healthy insurance companies from transferring retiree benefits to financially troubled firms. In March, we testified in support of the legislation and the joint committee voted 17-2 in favor of the bill. We now move to the House and Senate floor for a vote.
In 2015, ProtectSeniors.Org defeated “big insurance”, when Connecticut Public Act 15-167 of 2015 was signed into law, protecting de-risked retirees from creditor claims, and we expect to win again this year!
On a multi-state level in 2015, ProtectSeniors.Org’s efforts got leaders in seven states to raise coverage protections from only $100,000 to $250,000 for annuitants. If you live in Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, and Nevada, this is a vital enhancement should your pension ever be de-risked.
Tell us what you think about our progress. Our results will continue, only with you as part of our team, but we cannot do it without your support.
Will you join us today and continue to support our advocacy? Will you become a volunteer to make a difference? Please make a pledge to do so.
We look forward to even greater results in 2016 and beyond, with your active support.