Policymakers from both parties are focused on strengthening retirement security and are exploring ways to encourage more saving in 401(k)s and IRAs. Yet many means-tested government programs penalize those who do save for retirement, by disqualifying people who have accumulated even modest retirement savings. Asset tests in programs like Medicaid and Food Stamps have not been updated to reflect changes in the pension system, and the penalties they generate are often both steep and arbitrary.
The Retirement Security Project (RSP) will release a new paper by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that documents the barriers to saving imposed by these rules and describes steps that both the federal government and state governments can take to reduce them. Peter Orszag, director of RSP and a senior fellow at Brookings, will moderate a discussion on the paper’s findings with guest panelists Robert Greenstein, executive director for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Kent Smetters, associate professor of insurance and risk management at The Wharton School and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department under President Bush; and Audrey Rowe, who managed social services for Connecticut and the District of Columbia and served as Executive Vice President of the National Urban League. Panelists will discuss these findings and their implications for low-income families in removing barriers to retirement saving.
A question and answer session will follow remarks.