Uncharted Waters: Paying Benefits From Individual Accounts In Federal Retirement Policy

Policy Seminar, January 26, 2005
** Registration for this event is closed. Please register on site.**

"Longevity risk is little understood by the American public, in spite of the fact that it is a major factor that led to the 'invention' of annuities. Proposals for individual accounts in Social Security of the past 30 years have been light in their treatment of administration and the treatment of distributions. This is the most comprehensive report ever produced on this crucial subject of payout. It is the key issue in assuring that individual accounts provide lifetime retirement income. This report is must reading for those following the policy process and for those who will be asked to vote on Social Security reform." Dallas Salisbury, President, Employee Benefit Research Institute

Policy seminar on study panel report:
- Welcome and overview
- Overarching issues in retirement and pre-retirement payouts
- Institutional Arrangements for Delivering Annuities, Choices, and Informed Choices
- Spousal rights, disability insurance, and children's benefits

Who should attend: Social Security policy analysts, policymakers, journalists, Congressional and executive branch staff, retirement security and social security reform advocates, disability interest groups, analysts and advocates for women, families, and children.

Copies of the report will be available.

Details about the report: That people are living longer and generally enjoying better health while doing so is unquestionably a good thing. But as the elderly become a larger portion of our population, new challenges arise for making sure that retirees have enough income to live on. In an effort to strengthen personal savings for retirement, President Bush and both Democratic and Republican members of Congress have advanced proposals for establishing some form of universally available individual savings accounts. However, the question whether these individual accounts should be apart from and in addition to Social Security, or instead be integrated with a restructured Social Security system, has sharply divided politicians and policy analysts alike.

On January 26, 2005, the National Academy of Social Insurance will release a report that considers some of the payout issues that might arise from implementing a system of individual accounts, if such accounts were to become a part of federal retirement policy.

Why is it important to examine these "payout" issues? Because a central goal of retirement security policy is to assure some level of adequate income, it is essential that any debate about creating individual accounts include a complete understanding of how the benefits will be received. How would the assets accumulated in individual accounts be paid out during retirement? Would individuals have funds available to them before retirement? Do these answers change if an individual becomes disabled or dies before retirement? What rights would a spouse or former spouse have to these accounts? Could creditors reach the accounts? What institutions-government or private-would be responsible for making payments from the accounts? If private institutions are responsible, would the federal or state governments regulate their conduct? If these new accounts were part of Social Security or integrated with Social Security reforms, what would happen to payouts of Social Security benefits? These are the kinds of questions this report addresses in detail.

Uncharted Waters Study Panel Members:

Kenneth S. Apfel, Co-Chair, Sid Richardson Chair in Public Affairs, LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin
Michael J. Graetz, Co-Chair, Justus S. Hotchkiss Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Lily Batchelder, Assistant Professor of Law and Public Policy, NYU School of Law
Ray Boshara, Director, Asset Building Program, New America Foundation
Jeffrey Brown, Assistant Professor of Finance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Craig Copeland, Senior Research Associate, Employee Benefit Research Institute
Douglas Elliott, President, Center on Federal Financial Institutions
Joan Entmacher, Vice-President and Director of Family Economic Security, National Women's Law Center
Martha E. Ford, Director of Legal Advocacy, The Arc of the United States and United Cerebral Palsy
Douglas Fore, Director of Portfolio Analystics, TIAA-CREF Investment Management
Fred Goldberg, Attorney, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration
Karen C. Holden, Professor of Public Affairs & Consumer Science, University of Wisconsin
J. Mark Iwry, Non-resident Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Howell Jackson, James S. Reid Jr., Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Charles A. Jones, Director of Reengineering, Michigan Family Independence Agency
Kilolo Kijakazi, Program Officer, Ford Foundation*
John H. Langbein, Sterling Professor of Law and Legal History, Yale Law School
Maya MacGuineas, Director, Fiscal Policy Program & Retirement Security Program, New America Foundation
Lisa Mensah, Executive Director, Initiative of Financial Security, The Aspen Institute
Peter Orszag, Joseph A. Pechman Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution
Pamela Perun, Affiliated Scholar at The Urban Institute
Eric Rodriguez, Director, Economic Mobility Initiative, National Council of La Raza
Jane Ross, Director, Center for Social and Economic Studies, National Research Council
Dallas L. Salisbury, President, Employee Benefit Research Institute
Bruce Schobel, Vice-President and Actuary, New York Life Insurance Company
Sheila Zedlewski, Director, Benefits Policy Center, The Urban Institute

The project received financial support from the Ford Foundation, The Actuarial Foundation, and the TIAA-CREF Institute.

* Kilolo Kijakazi was a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities when the study panel was formed.

January 26th, 2005 9:00 AM   through   9:00 AM
National Press Club
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045
United States
Topics Social Security
Contact Name Anita Cardwell
Contact Email acardwell@nasi.org

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