ERIC Number: ED318903
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988
Reference Count: N/A
Older Women and Pensions: Catch 22. Gray Paper.
Older women, who comprise two-thirds of the retired U.S. population, share substantially less of the $1.3 trillion worth of over 800,000 private and public pension plans by every way of measurement. Of the one-in-five women receiving pension income, some obtain it from their own paid work history, while others are widows and divorced women who receive survivor's benefits from their husbands' plans. Of white men over the age of 65, 47 percent receive an average of $7,506 in annual pension income, whereas only 22.2 percent of white women get pensions averaging $4,390; 28.2 percent of Black men receive pensions averaging $5,102 and 15.4 percent of Black women receive $4,496; 28.1 percent of Hispanic men receive pensions averaging $5,594 and 7.1 percent of Hispanic women get pensions averaging $4,383. No law, federal or state, requires that private employers offer their employees retirement coverage of any kind except Social Security. Pension plans reward the long-term, steady worker with low mobility and high earnings; this conforms best to the white male work pattern. Private pension plans are regulated by the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the 1984 Retirement Equity Act (REA), and the 1986 Tax Reform Act (TRA). The reforms included in these laws are primarily not retroactive; thus it will be decades before women reach parity in pensions. Problems occur in the areas of vesting, age exclusions, part-time exclusions, portability, cost of living increases, and pension integration with Social Security. Hundreds of thousands of public pension plans have varying requirements that affect millions of women; thus government pensions represent a major area of unfinished business for women's pension rights. (Fifteen reference notes and 10 organizational resources are included in the paper.) (CML)
Descriptors: Divorce, Eligibility, Employed Women, Employer Employee Relationship, Employment Level, Employment Patterns, Employment Practices, Females, Fringe Benefits, Older Adults, Personnel Policy, Retirement, Retirement Benefits, Salary Wage Differentials, Sex Discrimination, Widowed
Older Women's League, 730 Eleventh Street, N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20001 ($3.00).
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Retirement Research Foundation.
Authoring Institution: Older Women's League, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Employee Retirement Income Security Act; Social Security; Tax Reform Act 1986