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February 11, 1999

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We know the most secure retirement belongs to retirees who can count on a pension in addition to Social Security and personal savings. Today, I am proud to announce our Administration's five-part plan to address these challenges, and expand and strengthen our nation's private pension system for a new century.

Vice President Al Gore
February 11, 1999

Today, Vice President Al Gore will announce a package of initiatives in the Administration's fiscal year 2000 budget to continue to enhance Americans' retirements security by increasing access to, and ensuring the security of, retirement income.

The Need For Better Pension Plans. Millions of Americans retire comfortably because they can count on income from three sources: Social Security, individual savings, and employer-provided pensions. Unfortunately, many Americans have little or no pension plan to retire with. Half of all American workers -- more than 50 million people -- have no pension plan at all, and a report shows that as of 1994, only 30 percent of all women aged 65 or older who retired from the private sector received a pension.

The Clinton-Gore Administration Is Committed To Expanding Pension Benefits To All Americans. To help ensure that all Americans have access to income not only from Social Security and savings, but also from pension benefits, the Clinton-Gore Administration's fiscal year 2000 budget will support:

  • Expanding Pension Benefit Coverage, by creating a new plan that will make it easier for small businesses to start private pension plans that provide predictable and secure benefits, and by making it easier for employees to save in IRAs through payroll deductions. The Administration's proposal also includes a tax credit for small businesses that start up new pension plans, and a new reduction in the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation insurance premium for new small business plans;
  • Increasing Portability of Pension Benefits, by permitting employees to rollover benefits from different types of retirement plans. This will make it easier for workers to take their pensions with them when they change jobs, and take their savings with them into retirement. In addition, the Administration is proposing that employees be fully vested in the employer's matching contributions after three years of service, or six years if vesting phases in;
  • Strengthening Women's Retirement Security, by allowing workers to count time taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act toward their retirement benefits. In addition, the President and Vice President are calling for pension plans to offer a 75 percent joint and survivor annuity option -- so that families can choose to reduce benefits while both are alive in order to guarantee that a surviving spouse would get higher benefits;
  • Expanding Workers' Right To Know, by providing periodic benefit statements so they can keep track of their pension accounts, and giving spouses full disclosure of survivor benefit options before any rights are waived;
  • Strengthening The Security Of Workers' Retirement Savings and simplifying the pension system by improving audits of pension plans to ensure that workers' savings are secure and other streamlining changes.

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