Stop pension bait-and-switches

January 25, 2013

In 2012, corporations were being permitted to simply discard the legal rights of America's retirees and simply ignore federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act laws meant  to protect pensioners.

This is creating a dangerous and potentially devastating trend.

In late October, Verizon announced it is forcing 41,000 of its management retirees into Prudential insurance annuities, with no choice or voice in the decision.

What this means is that these retirees will lose both federal ERISA pension law protections and the safety net that the federal government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation provides.

Corporate pensions are protected by the PBGC, but annuity policies are not, so if an annuity issuer goes bankrupt or suffers an asset shortfall, retirees are up a creek without a paddle.

Are we all forgetting the financial meltdown of 2008, when many too-big-to-fail insurers and financial firms sought out the federal government as their financial safety net? Who in Washington is looking out for America's retirees? Our nation's politicians need to wake up and stop corporations from pulling these pension bait-and-switches on older Americans.

Russ Payne
Long Neck/Millsboro

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