Protecting Low-Income and Moderate-Income Families' Savings

Protecting Low-Income and Moderate-Income Families' Savings

Washington, D.C. - 06/13/2005 - Policy-makers from both parties are focused on strengthening retirement security and are exploring ways to encourage more savings 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 on Tuesday, June 21, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. that documents the barriers to saving imposed by these rules and describes steps the federal government and state governments can take to reduce them.

Peter Orszag, director of the RSP and a senior fellow at Brookings, will moderate a discussion on the papers' 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- and moderate-income families in removing barriers to retirement savings.

A questions and answers session will follow remarks. Please RSVP: 202.483.1430 or

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information visit the Retirement Security Project on