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June 11, 2013

20th Anniversary of Pension Counseling and Information Program
The Pension Rights Center celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Pension Counseling and Information Program at a reception that featured remarks by Joshua Gotbaum, director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary of Aging, U.S. Department of  Health and Human Services; and J. Mark Iwry, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Treasury. The seven regional counseling projects cover 30 states and have recovered more than $175 million in benefits by providing free legal advice to people who have questions about their pension or retirement savings plans. The reception took place during the annual training conference for the staff of the counseling projects, which included presentations on legal issues, a visit to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and a panel on the history of the Retirement Equity Act. The Program is supported by the U.S. Administration on Aging and private partners, including The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Retirement Research Foundation.
Video about the pension counseling projects | Photos from the reception | Counseling Project success stories

Pensions restored for hundreds of former Hospital Center at Orange employees
Pensions for nearly 800 workers and retirees from the Hospital Center at Orange have been restored after the PBGC agreed to reinstate the insurance protections that were lost more than a decade ago when their pension plan received a “church plan” ruling. In a letter to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the Center thanked PBGC staff for rectifying an injustice the law never intended. Earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service revoked a private letter ruling that had designated HCO’s pension plan a church plan, paving the way for PBGC’s intervention. The Center advocated for three years on behalf of the HCO participants, researching the law, writing legal memos, and getting the story in the media. The Center is now working to preserve the pensions of other workers and retirees whose non-church employers are seeking church plan rulings.
More: Pension Rights Center press releases:
Government Agencies Restore Protections to Hospital Retirees’ Pensions and Pension Rights Center Applauds the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s Take-Back of a Hospital Pension Plan | Church Plan fact sheets | New York Times article: I.R.S. Reversal on ‘Church’ Pension Plan Rescues a Fund

Pension Rights Center calls for Lost Pension Plan Registry
In testimony before the U.S. Department of Labor’s ERISA Advisory Council, PRC Policy Analyst Jane Smith called for the creation of an online searchable database that would contain information to help individuals locate the retirement plans of former employers who have moved, changed names or merged with another company. The “Lost Pension Plan Registry” would be hosted on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s website alongside the already-existing Missing Participants Program for employers seeking to locate “lost” participants. A provision authorizing the PBGC to establish a registry is included in the Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act of 2013 (H.R. 2117) introduced by Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA). Also testifying about lost pension plans was Ellen Bruce, director of the New England Pension Assistance Project and the Pension Action Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Pension Rights Center proposal for a Lost Pension Registry  
Webinar: Finding Lost Pension Plans
Pension Rights Center staff attorney Emily Spreiser will host an interactive webinar on tips and tricks for tracking down a lost pension or retirement savings plan. Participants in this June 18 webinar will learn about the problem of lost pension plans and the resources available to find these plans. This webinar is offered free of charge for legal service providers and advocates.
Register for the webinar

Karen Friedman participates in webinar
PRC Executive Vice President and Policy Director Karen Friedman participated in a webinar sponsored by TIAA-CREF and Independent Sector on how financial security impacts nonprofit career decisions. Experts from these organizations discussed the results of a study titled, Financial Security and Careers in the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Sector, showing how a perceived and real lack of financial security can undermine a nonprofit's ability to attract, retain, and develop the most talented individuals and leaders. Karen’s comments focused on retirement issues in the nonprofit sector, and she discussed both the need to develop sector-wide solutions as well as innovative national and state-based solutions. 
Watch the archived webinar | Read the study: Financial Security and Careers in the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Sector

PRC in the News

In the past few months, Center staff have been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, the Star-Ledger, the Dallas Morning News, and by Reuters. Check out the In the News section of our website for the latest news articles that mention the Center or that quote our staff.
More: In the News

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  Pension Rights Center
1350 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 206 | Washington, DC 20036 | (202) 296-3776