Cypen & Cypen
MARCH 27, 2008
Stephen H. Cypen, Esq., Editor
The United States Supreme Court has let stand a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which upheld an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulation exempting from the Age Discrimination in Employment Act employer coordination of retirement benefits with, inter alia, Medicare benefits (see C&C Newsletter for August 30, 2007, Item 2 and C&C Newsletter for June 21, 2007, Item 1). The EEOC rule clarifies that employers can spend more on retirees under 65 years of age then those over 65, without running afoul of age discrimination laws. American Association of Retired Persons had sought intervention by the United States Supreme Court, but its most recent (in)action closes the book on this issue, at least for the time being. For legal scholars, the case is AARP v. EEOC, Case No. 07-662 (U.S., March 24, 2008), cert. denied.
As we celebrate National Women’s History Month, MediaNews Group, Inc. talks about women and Social Security. Although Social Security coverage is the same for men and women, there are things a woman should know that can make a difference in how well she does under the program. Following are ten things to be aware of:
For details about Social Security taxes, call IRS at 800.829.1040.
The Social Security Board of Trustees has released its annual report on financial health of the Social Security Trust Funds. While the key dates for program costs exceeding tax revenues and trust fund exhaustion remain unchanged, the 2008 Trustees Report shows improvement in the projected long-term financial status of the Social Security program from last year -- particularly in the latter half of the long-range projection period. This improvement is principally the result of methodological changes for projecting certain aspects of immigration. In the 2008 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:
Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:
For your information, the Board of Trustees comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security; Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of Labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant. Readers can access the entire 220-plus page Report at http://www.treas.gov/offices/economic-policy/reports/social-security-report-2008.pdf.
The Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds, whose members are also trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds, have released their 2008 Annual Report. In short, last year 44.1 million people were covered by Medicare: 36.9 million aged 65 and older and 7.2 million disabled. Total benefits paid in 2007 were $425 Billion. Income was $462 Billion, expenditures were $432 Billion and assets held in special issue U.S. Treasury securities grew to $369 Billion. The financial outlook for the Medicare program continues to raise serious concerns, and a “Medicare funding warning” is triggered again by findings of this report. The complete 230-plus page report is available at http://www.treas.gov/offices/economic-policy/reports/medicare-report-2008.pdf.
A Qwest supervisor in Southwestern Colorado took his concerns over extended bathroom breaks to an uncomfortable level, union officials charged. As reported by Rocky Mountain News, the manager recently gave disposable urinal bags to about 25 male field technicians, with the message: when you have to go, don’t waste time searching for a public bathroom. A female (of course) spokesperson said there was no policy whatsoever requiring field technicians to use the bags. “They are there for convenience, and they are there because employees asked for them,” she said (with a straight face?). Not surprisingly, women are not being required to use the bags (gloves, please). One type of bag is called “Brief Relief” -- we are not making this stuff up, Folks. The union has not decided whether to file a grievance. Meanwhile, skip to my loo, my darlin’.
From yet another humorous NewsDash.com piece, we learn that a postman in the United Kingdom was suspected of stealing items from the mail. Thus, his supervisors set up a sting operation, by including in his bag a bra and thong worth about 200 bucks. They spotted the man acting suspiciously on hidden camera. Although the postman denied stealing the items on his route, he did agree to searches of his person and vehicle, but not his home. When investigators went to search his person, they asked him to disrobe in the presence of an officer...and found him to be wearing the thong underwear. However, the bra was never recovered. How poignant.
“I prefer rogues to imbeciles because they sometimes take a rest.” Alexander Dumas
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Items in this Newsletter may be excerpts or summaries of original or secondary source material, and may have been reorganized for clarity and brevity. This Newsletter is general in nature and is not intended to provide specific legal or other advice.