Friday, May 13, 2016

Cleaver: Retirees must receive their pensions

(From Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver)

Last Friday afternoon, the U.S. Treasury Department announced its decision to deny the Central States Pension Fund's application for benefit suspension. Special Master Ken Feinberg announced the decision on May 6, 2016, due to the application not meeting the requirements set forth by the Kline-Miller Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. The notification letter from Mr. Feinberg can be found here.

Over 400,000 people from across several states who have vested millions of dollars into their pension funds have been told their benefits from the Central States Pension Fund would be drastically cut, some as much as by 60 percent. I have been working with hundreds of retirees who have written to my office seeking assistance. In February we hosted Treasury’s Kenneth Feinberg for a town hall in Kansas City, MO with nearly 1,000 retirees from the region to answer their questions.

I am pleased that the Treasury Department has denied the Central States Pension Fund’s application to cut benefits for thousands of retirees. More time is needed for the Department of Justice to investigate the management of the fund – as I have called for – and for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation to continue.

It is time for Central States Pension Fund to work with all of the stakeholders to find a responsible solution that saves the plan and protects benefits. We cannot turn our backs on the thousands of people who spent a lifetime building this nation. They deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor in retirement.

Please know that I will continue to work to ensure that thousands of retirees have what they have worked a lifetime to earn. If you would like to read my original letter to the Department of Justice, it can be found here.

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