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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters
Col. Charles McGee

Col. Charles McGee delivers keynote address at PBGC'S Black History Month Celebration.

On Feb. 11, 2014, PBGC staff witnessed living black history as the agency's Chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG) and the Special Emphasis Program (SEP) hosted the annual Black History Month program. With the national theme in mind, Civil Rights in America, this year's program was widely deemed one of the greatest in PBGC history.

Col. Charles McGee, an original, and now retired, member of the Tuskegee Airmen delivered the keynote address to the agency's staff as they filled the building's training institute in celebration of Black History Month. McGee's career in the legendary all-black 332nd Fighter Group-12th Air Force began in 1944. He is among the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed forces.

During WWII black pilots were trained at a segregated air base in Tuskegee, Ala., and became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. At the helm of P-39 fighters they flew hundreds of patrol and attack missions, and were also used to escort B-17 and B-24 bombers. The airmen were portrayed in the 2012 motion picture, "Red Tails," produced by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. The Red Tails nickname came from the ruby-toned tails of the airmen's planes.

In his address, McGee recounted the struggles he and his fellow soldiers faced as African Americans in the Air Force. Throughout World War II, African Americans in a number of U.S. states were subject to Jim Crow laws and all branches of the military were racially segregated. But these obstacles didn't stop McGee and his peers from stepping up and fighting for freedom at home and abroad. He stressed the "Three Ps," which helped to shape his illustrious career as a Tuskegee Airman: persevere, prepare, and perform. "Excellence should always be your goal," McGee said.

On Jan. 31, 1973, McGee retired from the Air Force after 30 years of military service.

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Constar Logo

PBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 4,400 current and future retirees of Constar Inc., a plastic container manufacturer based in Trevose, Pa. just outside Philadelphia.

The agency stepped in because the company is selling the majority of its assets in bankruptcy proceedings and the buyer isn't assuming responsibility for the pension plan.

PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by Constar's retirees up to the legal limit of about $59,320 for a 65-year-old.

Retirees will continue to get benefits without interruption, and future retirees can apply for benefits as soon as they are eligible.

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By now, you have probably received your Form 1099-R from us.

As you arrange to have your income taxes prepared and filed, we would like to share some important information about PBGC benefits and taxes.

While PBGC is required to withhold federal income tax, we do not withhold for state taxes. If your state has an income tax, you may owe tax on your PBGC benefit. To find out more, contact your state tax office (Excel file, 14.4 KB).

Also, if you receive a benefit from PBGC, we report the amount annually to the IRS.

For income tax purposes, each January PBGC sends you an IRS Form 1099-R that states the amount we paid you the previous year.

If you need a Form 1099-R for 2013 and haven't received it, PBGC will get you one.

The IRS has a tool, "Is My Pension or Annuity Payment Taxable?" that will help you determine if your pension or annuity payment from an employer-sponsored retirement plan is taxable.

President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 28, 2014.

President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In his fifth State of the Union address, President Barack Obama urged Congress to help restore opportunity for Americans, but pledged to take action himself.

In an effort to bolster retirement security, he announced that he will use his executive authority to direct the Department of the Treasury to create "myRA," a starter savings account to help people prepare for retirement.

In case you missed it, here's an excerpt from his speech:

"Let's do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don't have a pension.  A Social Security check often isn't enough on its own.  And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn't help folks who don't have 401ks. That's why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It's a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg.  MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in..."

For a more in-depth explanation of "MyRA," read the White House issued FACT SHEET: Opportunity for All: Securing a Dignified Retirement for All Americans.  

States with the Highest Number of Unclaimed Pensions. New York (6,678/$40.33 million). Illinois (4,344/$85.36 million). California (2,966/$7.64 million). Texas (2,278/$10.68 million). New Jersey (2,114/$11.70 million). Ohio (1,908/$12.82 million).
The beginning of a new year typically means the onset of new goals and perhaps the continuation of last year's resolutions. For many, saving more money might always be #1 or a close second on that list.

One source of this year's extra savings could be money from an unclaimed pension.

Across the country, there are more than 31,000 people who haven't claimed pension benefits they are owed. Those unclaimed pensions are now north of $280 million, with individual benefits ranging from 12 cents to almost $1 million.

The states with the most missing pension participants and money to be claimed are:

  • New York (6,678/$40.33 million)
  • Illinois (4,344/$85.36 million)
  • California (2,966/$7.64 million)
  • Texas (2,278/$10.68 million)
  • New Jersey (2,114/$11.70 million)
  • Ohio (1,908/$12.82 million)

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PBGC works to ensure that people who get benefits from us receive them on time — by the first of the month. However, there's one time when that doesn't happen — the beginning of the year.

Typically, if the first of the month falls on a weekend or holiday, direct deposits will usually post before the first of the month. For this reason, June, September, and December 2013 direct deposits arrived before the first of the month. For tax purposes, January is the exception to this rule.

If payments arrived in December, it would result in a tax liability for 2013 instead of 2014. For this reason, your funds will be deposited on Jan. 2, 2014, one day after the New Year.

If you get a paper check (mailed on Dec. 27, 2013), and have not received it by January 7, please call us at 1-800-400-7242 or visit our Contact Us page for other options.

Want to receive future payments more quickly? Remember, PBGC offers direct deposit. It's the most secure and fastest way to receive your payment, and your funds are always available on payday — even if the weather's bad, the post office is closed, or you're out of town. The future electronic direct deposit dates are already mapped out.

To learn more or sign up for direct deposit, please visit MyPBA or call 1-800-400-7242.