Literally all eyes are on your pension plans.
The Obama Administration, Congress, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Congressional Budget Office, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, and of course, everyone in the federal workforce wants to know whether it will be a smooth, or rocky, ride for the federal retirement system and your pension benefits.
We know that question has yet to be answered, especially following a flurry of proposals in recent years calling for adverse changes to your pension benefits and even a few laws that forced you to contribute more out-of-pocket work earnings to the funds.
Now, another board is being created to keep tabs on the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF), the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
At the request of U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta, a “Civil Service Retirement System Board of Actuaries” will be formed in order to monitor the funds and provide “independent advice and recommendations” to Ms. Archuleta as to whether OPM is doing a good job keeping the funds solvent.
The notice advising of the board’s formation was posted in the Federal Register on May 4.
Just how much influence this new oversight board — whose members will be appointed by Ms. Archuleta from among actuaries who are members of the American Academy of Actuaries — will wield in Congress, at the White House, or on your pension plans, is not clear at this time.
What is known is that the board will develop annual reports about the pension funds, closely monitor the solvency of the funds, and potentially recommend changes in how the funds are run “to protect the public interest and maintain the retirement systems on a sound financial basis.”
Aside from that fairly opaque, and not very insightful, bureaucratic language, it will be interesting to see what the board recommends and what impact, if any, that may have on your pension, including whether you will be asked to contribute more money from your paycheck.
Remember, Washington has increased your pension contribute rates in recent years, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility. It’s possible this board could recommend a similar action.
Again, as we’ve said before, there are many eyes on your pension funds, representing a wide range on interest groups — some of whom are driven by agendas that may not be in your best interest.
Stay tuned to this blog for updates about this board and other news regarding your pension plans.
Also, please visit the section of our website dedicated to federal pensions. Here, you will find plenty of information that will provide answers to some of your questions about your pension benefits.
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