For Problems in Retirement-Plan Distributions, Congress
Wall Street Journal (09/28/00) Vol. 5, No. 17 p.C1; Asinof, Lynn

Congressional lawmakers have included three provisions in pension legislation that promises a fresh start to retirees whose retirement distributions are in disarray because of clerical foul-ups or other mistakes. Among other things, the attachments would extend the time for retirees and their heirs to house money in tax-sheltered retirement plans, which could yield older Americans millions of dollars in tax savings. Some observers favor the proposal because the bill "provides relief from a system that is becoming increasingly unenforceable." Under current regulation, decisions about minimum distributions from individual retirement accounts and other tax-favored retirement plans become irrevocable at age 70.5. The problem is that many people are finding themselves locked in by choices they made years earlier, and they are unable to change those decisions. The legislation is getting attention from both the executive and legislative branches of government. Special committees in both the House and Senate have passed versions of pension legislation, and President Clinton is said to be interested in the proposal.


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