Creating Effective State-Sponsored Retirement Plans

By Gary Koenig, Vice President, Financial Security, and David John, Senior Policy Adviser, Financial Security State-sponsored retirement savings plans can help private-sector workers not covered by employer plans build financial security. How many workers? More than you might think. In 2013, about 55 million private-sector employees did not have access to a retirement plan at work, including more than 7 million in California, 2 million in Illinois, and about 1 million each in Indiana and Maryland. Research shows that middle …

Social Security Halts Tax-Refund Grab to Recover Old Debts

Update: The Social Security Administration says it will immediately stop collecting old debts by grabbing taxpayers’ refunds. In a statement, Carolyn W. Colvin, the acting commissioner of the agency, says: “I have directed an immediate halt to further referrals under the Treasury Offset Program to recover debts owed to the agency that are 10 years old and older pending a thorough review of our responsibility and discretion under the current law to refer debt to the Treasury Department. “If any Social Security …

New IRS Message to Taxpayers: We’ve Got Your Back

The recently installed head of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, dropped in on members of the media the other day at the National Press Club in Washington. His message: The tax collection agency is out to restore public trust amid accusations the IRS acted inappropriately in reviewing tax-exempt status for certain public welfare groups, known as 501(c)(4) organizations. “Taxpayers need to be confident that the IRS will treat them fairly. It doesn’t make any difference who they are, what …

The Cost of Not Expanding Medicaid

States have divided almost evenly on whether to expand Medicaid to millions more low-income Americans, many of them uninsured. Many Republican governors or state legislatures have rejected expansion, saying that although the federal government will pick up most of the tab now, states could be left on the hook in the future. Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter And although expansion aims for low-income people, “you’re expanding coverage for graduate students and Starbucks baristas,” says Edmund Haislmaier, senior research fellow at the Heritage …

What the $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Means for Older Americans

The $1.1 trillion bipartisan spending bill passed by Congress funds federal agencies through the rest of the fiscal year, eases the sharp budget cuts known as the sequester and ends the lingering threat of another government shutdown. It also affects a number of programs especially important to older Americans. Here’s how, according to an AARP analysis: Increases spending by $41 million on nutrition programs for older Americans, including Meals on Wheels. This replaces across-the-board spending cuts, called sequestration, that took hold …