Early last week, many of the Central States retirees received letters concerning the proposed cuts to their pension benefit. Although cuts to pension benefits is not a new concept, the fact that these cuts are now affecting participants who are already collecting their pension benefit, retirees, is a new concept.
This is due to 2015 Omnibus spending bill which was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in December 2014. This legislation permits financially-troubled multiemployer plans to cut retiree pensions by 60% or more. The decision to cut these benefits is made by plan trustees. Retirees who are age 80 or over, or who are receiving a disability pension, are not subject to the cuts. Retirees age 75-79 are subject to smaller cuts than retirees under age 75.
Recently, a new bill has been introduced called the Keep Our Pension Promises Act of 2015. In short, this Act will ensure that plans will have enough money to pay promised pensions.
For now, the Pension Rights Center recommends that retirees:
- Check the calculation;
- Ask your member of Congress to support the Keep Our Pension Promises Act;
- Contact local media;
- Spread the word;
- Add your voice to the Pension Rights story bank;
- And, for Central States retirees, vote on whether the proposed plan to cut benefits should be implemented (when this vote becomes available).
For detailed information about the 2015 Omnibus spending bill, the Keep Our Pension Promises Act of 2015 and what to do about such cuts visit the Pension Rights Center website.
Sandra A. Wisnewski is the Director of Legal Services, and has been a staff member of Elder Law since 2010. Sandra earned her Bachelor of Arts from Siena Heights University in applied science in electronic engineering technology, and graduated with her Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan.
Before coming to Elder Law, Sandra devoted her time as a volunteer at the Legal Services of South Central Michigan. As a volunteer, she answered hotline questions and advised clients on various legal issues. In 2009, Sandra started her own general practice, Wisnewski Law Firm, P.L.L.C. in Stockbridge, Michigan where she focused on family law, wills and trusts, and criminal law.