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February 19, 2013          Get Health & Welfare News  |  Advertise  |  Unsubscribe
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Employee Benefits Jobs

Account Managers
for The Plexus Groupe in IL

Benefit Coordinators
for The Plexus Groupe in IL

Vested Interest Relationship Manager
for PNC in KY

Employee Benefits Manager
for County of Sacramento in CA

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Webcasts and Conferences

FREE WEBINAR - Healthcare Reform—The Employer Pay or Play Rules!
Nationwide on March 27, 2013 presented by University Conference Services

2013 Chicago Mid-Sized Retirement & Healthcare Plan Management Conference
in Illinois on June 4, 2013 presented by University Conference Services

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[Guidance Overview]

PBGC Extends Reportable Events Guidance for Post-2012 Plan Years
"The PBGC noted that public comments on the proposed regulations [issued in 2009] were generally negative.... [T]he PBGC plans to issue new proposed regulations 'that will more effectively target troubled plans and sponsors while reducing [the] burden for those that are financially sound.' To provide interim guidance for plan years beginning after 2012, this latest technical update extends the guidance provided in Technical Update 11-1, subject to applicable provisions of amendments that the PBGC makes to the reportable events regulations." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)


[Advert.]

Register Today – Defined Contribution Conference – Miami, March 10-12

Sponsored by Pensions & Investments

Free registration for qualified plan sponsors. Sponsored by Pensions & Investments - learn how to develop a defined contribution plan that helps ensure your participants lifetime income.


[Guidance Overview]

IRS Now Accepting 'Cycle C' Determination Letter Applications
"The deadline for filing these applications is January 31, 2014. Two main categories of plans fall within Cycle C. The first consists of all individually designed plans sponsored by employers whose employer identification number ends with either '3' or '8'. The other category consists of all such plans sponsored by governmental employers. As was the case five years ago, the IRS has given governmental plans the option of either filing during Cycle C or waiting two years and filing during Cycle E." (Spencer Fane)

[Guidance Overview]

EPCRS Now Covers Common 403(b) Compliance Issues
"The updated version of EPCRS includes the following provisions that apply specifically to 403(b) plans: 1. Failure to Adopt a Timely Written Plan.... 2. Failure to Comply with Written Plan.... 3. Failure to Comply with Section 403(b).... 4. Extended 403(b) 'Remedial Amendment Period'.... 5. Requirement to Have a 'Favorable Letter'." (Spencer Fane)

Federal Budget Crisis Issues for Retirement Plans
"[N]ew, increased tax rates on high earners -- particularly increased capital gains/dividend rates and the new Medicare tax on net investment income -- have made qualified retirement plan benefits more valuable.... [B]asically, it now costs more in taxes if you are saving outside of a qualified plan ... [P]ossible outcomes for retirement plans in the next round of crises [include]: If Congress acts only on spending, retirement plans are likely to be unaffected.... If Congress acts on taxes, several elements of retirement policy may be 'in play'." (October Three)

Surveys Show Retirement Confusion Among Younger Workers
"Recent surveys and anecdotal evidence show that younger workers are finally thinking seriously about saving for retirement. Or they're not. Of the various surveys of worker sentiment published lately, even experts admit that the results have been contradictory." (Institutional Investor)


[Advert.]

Register Today for PSCA's Premier One-Day DC Plan Conference

Sponsored by PSCA (Plan Sponsor Council of America)

Join top DC plan experts March 6 at this unique conference designed to educate plan sponsors about the latest issues and trends affecting the DC industry. Gain the tools you need to manage your plan effectively. Register by Feb. 15 and save $100.


Florida Pension Reform Plan Put on Hold
"A report ... by Milliman ... concluded that closing the state's pension system to future employees would endanger the benefits of those currently enrolled in the pension plan. The problem: Because [the] proposal would turn away new workers, the pension plan would be forced to rely on a shrinking payroll base on which contributions to retirees are made. To make up the shortfall, either workers or taxpayers would chip in more, the report stated.... But what the report didn't include were costs associated with keeping the pension plan intact, making it difficult to compare costs between reform and status quo." (Miami Herald)

Why Some Americans Might Get Less Social Security
"Roughly one million Americans are receiving less Social Security than they were expecting, and the group includes teachers, firefighters, police officers, college professors, state troopers, park rangers, highway maintenance crews and federal workers hired before 1984. All of these individuals have one thing in common: in addition to Social Security, they're also eligible for a government pension either at the federal, state or local level." (FoxBusiness.com)

Loss of Pay Through Furloughs Could Mean Less in Savings Accounts for Federal Employees
"Employees invest in the [federal government's Thrift Savings Plan] based on a dollar amount per pay period or based on a percentage of salary. For those using the latter method and who are furloughed, the percentage invested 'will be of the actual pay, not the original/regular salary, so the TSP contribution would be lower than the participant initially intended,' TSP spokeswoman Kim Weaver said ... Employees under the Federal Employees Retirement System also would face a reduction in employer contributions to their accounts." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Can I Receive Social Security Benefits from Two Countries?
"Q. My husband, an American citizen, and I were married in 1990, and I became an American citizen in 2000. But all of my working days were in Canada, and I will be eligible to collect Old Age Security from there. Will I also be eligible for a Social Security spousal benefit? A. You should be OK, provided you and your husband meet the qualifications for a spousal benefit.... The Government Pension Offset, which can reduce a benefit if you get a U.S. federal, state or local government pension, doesn't apply to foreign pensions." (AARP)

[Opinion]

The Anti-401(k) Agenda Continues
"Myth #1: 401(k) Plans Only Benefit the Wealthy -- [Response:] Eighty percent of 401(k) participants make less than $100,000 per year, and almost 40% of 401(k) participants make less than $50,000. That translates to almost 50 million not-so-wealthy working Americans who benefit from 401(k) plans.... Myth #2: Only Half of American Workers Have Access to a Retirement Plan -- [Response:] The fact is that 8 out of 10 full-time workers are eligible for some kind of workplace retirement plan, the most common of which is by far a 401(k)-style plan.... Myth #3: 401(k) Plans Have Produced Meager Savings -- [Response:] [T]he Employee Benefit Research Institute found that people between 55 and 64 with 30 years in the same plan had an average account balance of more than $250,000. Myth #4: The Tax Incentive for 401(k) Plans is Expensive -- [Response:] When the money comes out of the plan it is subject to tax, and the U.S. Treasury gets substantially paid back. In reality, the true present value cost of the tax incentives for retirement is only about half of what these critics say they are." (Brian Graff, Esq. on NAPA Net)

[Opinion]

America's New Pension Poverty?
"[A] 401(k) and any defined-contribution (DC) plan is nowhere near as safe as a defined-benefit (DB) plan. Importantly, there is no pension promise attached to DC plans. People are vulnerable to abrupt shifts in public markets and if they retire at the wrong time, they're basically screwed. Worse still, the fees attached to these retail funds are outrageous, eating up most of the performance over the lifetime of contributing. And by and large, this performance is mediocre because unlike large DB plans, DC plans are not able to invest directly or indirectly across public and private markets." (Pension Pulse)

[Opinion]

China Is No Country for Old Age
"Since 2009, when China enacted a nationwide program of rural pensions, some 325 million Chinese have been promised retirement benefits. That's more than the entire population of the United States.... The share of China's population over the age of 60 is now 185 million, and will nearly double by 2030. A recent study estimated that over the next 20 years, the government will have accumulated $10.9 trillion in pension liabilities." (Reuters, via The New York Times; free registration required)

[Opinion]

Have Seniors Really Paid for Medicare and Social Security?
"Few seniors have actually paid for their Medicare benefits. According to an Urban Institute estimate, the typical retired couple paid $122,000 in lifetime Medicare taxes but can expect to receive benefits worth $387,000. Social Security is another story. There, the average retired couple paid $600,000 in lifetime taxes for $579,000 in benefits. Put together, it's $722,000 in taxes for $966,000 in benefits." (The Washington Post; free registration required)

Benefits in General; Executive Compensation

Supreme Court Cases on Same-Gender Marriage Likely to Affect Benefit Plans
"For private employers, the most significant impact may be on employee benefits governed by [ERISA]. Because of DOMA, the terms 'spouse' and "marriage" in employee benefit plans currently apply only to opposite-sex couples, and employers are not required by law to extend benefits to same-gender couples that are otherwise available to opposite sex couples (though many do so voluntarily). If this portion of DOMA were invalidated by the Supreme Court, the ERISA references to 'spouse' and 'marriage' would likely apply to same-gender marriages recognized by the states in which they are performed." (Faegre Baker Daniels)

Press Releases

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