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Pension stripping puts seniors in jeopardy

Date published: 4/24/2014

May is Older Americans Month, with the message of "save today, healthy tomorrow."

One of the most important things retirees must do to ensure their financial safety today is to protect their hard-earned pensions from being stripped away.

Pension stripping is a tactic being deployed by corporate America. Companies do this by off-loading their longtime retirees' defined benefit pensions to an insurer, which then converts those to annuities.

More than 41,000 Verizon retirees and 100,000 GM retirees have already been victimized.

What's the big deal? Well, it means retirees lose their federal ERISA pension law protections and federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation insurance protections.

Insurance company annuities are not protected in the same way. If an annuity issuer goes bankrupt or suffers an asset shortfall, retirees can lose everything they worked a lifetime to earn.

Knowing our retirement assets are safe is critical.

The nonprofit ProtectSeniors.Org, which I founded, is leading a state legislative effort to ensure pension protections. I urge all retirees to band together to protect our futures.

Jim Casey