Last week, we mounted an all-hands-on-deck effort to stop Congress from passing legislation that would, for the first time, cut retiree pensions. You sent nearly 60,000 e-mails to members of Congress alerting them to this amendment and educating them on its disastrous effects. And while we were unsuccessful this time, we laid the groundwork for the fight ahead.
In the words of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the new law lets “companies renege on promises they made to their workers by cutting the pension benefits of current retirees.”
Senator Sanders and many of his colleagues stood with us. They know that when the new Congress convenes in January, we will stand with them to protect 40 years of established law protecting retirees’ pensions, and fight to repeal the cutback provisions.
We’ve heard from many of you who want to learn more about the legislation and how you might be affected. Here are answers to the questions we’ve been asked the most:
Will I be affected? The new law goes into effect in 2015 and could affect more than one million workers and retirees who are covered by multiemployer pension plans. The law allows the trustees of certain underfunded multiemployer pension plans to cut retiree benefits as a way to improve the plan’s funding. Read our summary for more information.
How will I find out if my benefit will be cut? Before cutting benefits, plan trustees must provide information to all plan members about the cuts and appoint a plan participant to represent the interests of retirees. Read our summary for more information.
How much could my benefit be cut? You can use our calculator to determine how much your pension benefit might be cut. Retirees younger than 75 will be the hardest hit by the new law. If you are age 80 or over, or are receiving a disability pension, the new law will not apply to you. If you are age 75 – 79 your pension reduction will be less than the cuts for retirees younger than age 75.
What can I do? Tell the trustees of your plan not to cut your pension benefits. Explain to them why you cannot afford a cut. Add in as many personal details as possible. Paint a picture of your financial circumstances and help them understand how you’d be affected by any cut to your pension.
How did my members of Congress vote? Congressional voting records: House | Senate
Thank you for your hard work and support of current and future retirees.
Outreach Manager, Pension Rights Center