The mission of the American Retirees Education Foundation is to research, educate and inform retirees, future retirees and the general public on how best to protect and promote retirement income security and retiree health care. The Foundation will develop and advocate policy recommendations based on its research findings to relevant constituency groups, the media, the general public, and Federal and state policymakers.
AREF Mission Is Not…
we're not allowed to lobby members of Congress, their staffs or Congressional Committees. The bottom line is that the AREF is not allowed to lobby for passage of legislation or regulations.
AREF Is A Tax-Exempt Organization
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has approved the American Retirees Education Foundation (AREF) as a tax-exempt organization that is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable donations. Click on the "Tax- Deductible Information" tab above to read and copy three important IRS approval documents.
AmazonSmile Program to Benefit the American Retirees Education Program (AREF)
The National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) board created the American Retiree Education Foundation (AREF) in 2014 as a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible, nonprofit education foundation to expand the research and educational reach of the NRLN and to enable NRLN to sharpen its focus as an organization lobbying for the passage of federal legislation and regulations that benefit retirees.
The AREF is always seeking ways to increase its funding through individual tax-deductible contributions, grants from public and private foundations, individual tax-deductible bequests and non-traditional ways. AREF funds pay for a number of tasks previously paid for by the NRLN. For example, the updating this month of the white paper on Protecting Pension Assets which is used to educate members of Congress on the need for legislation to prevent pension plan sponsors from using plan assets for non-pension expenses. Access the white paper here.
The AREF has identified a non-traditional way that you can help fund the AREF without costing you anything extra if (when) you make a purchase online from Amazon through its AmazonSmile program designed to provide a percentage of a purchase price to qualified non-profit organizations, such as the AREF. I urge you to read the following information and help provide funding to the AREF should you make an Amazon purchase. Click here to learn more about AmazonSmile.
AREF Chairman’s Message
AREF’s 2016 Key Actions
The American Retiree Education Foundation (AREF) in its second year of efforts to expand the research and education reach of the National Retiree Education Foundation (NRLN) has taken on a number of the tasks previously performed by the NRLN. This has made it possible for the NRLN to spend more time lobbying Congress and the Administration on issues and bills important to retirees.
The AREF Board hopes that the following actions by the AREF will demonstrate its value to the NRLN.
- In 2016, to begin the year, a 22-page document was written describing the type of research the AREF plans to undertake to educate policy makers and the public about retiree pension and health care benefits. These benefits, earned through decades of hard work, are being steadily cut back and put at risk due to a variety of corporate financial maneuvers, as well as by outdated or shortsighted federal government policies. A prototype for an inquiry letter was written that is being used to seek foundations that may be interested in providing grants to financially support research on retirement income security and retiree health care, particularly the need to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. A part-time grant writer was hired and has been using these documents in submitting proposals seeking foundations’ potential interest in making grants to AREF.
- In 2016, the AREF updated whitepapers, executive summaries and talking points that were used to educate NRLN retiree associations and NRLN Chapter members during the first afternoon of the February NRLN Annual Leadership Conference and the September Fly-In to Washington, DC. For the first time for the fall Fly-In, AREF provided proposed amendments to existing laws that would accomplish the NRLN’s objectives. The attendees used the documents to educate members of Congress and their staffs on:
- the need for changes to the Annual Funding Notice (AFN) to make the document received by single-employer pension beneficiaries more easily understood and with information that showed the real status of the funding of their pension plan.
- the need for changes to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that would require advance approval by the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation and Department of Labor before two or more pension plans could be merged.
- the need for changes to ERISA to better protect pension plan beneficiaries when corporate Mergers, Acquisitions and Spin-offs of a piece of a company takes place.
- the need for Congress to pass legislation to reduce prescription drug price gouging by allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs and the importation of safe, lower cost of drugs from Canada. A letter prepared by the AREF was presented to lawmakers during the Fly-In asking that the letter or a similar version be sent to the Secretary of Health and Human Services requesting that she exercise her authority granted in a 2003 law to legalize the importation of drugs from Canada. Two weeks later 33 U.S. Representatives sent a letter to President Obama that included some of the wording used in the NRLN letter requesting he ask the HHS Secretary to explore implementing drug importation; keep drugs affordable developed with taxpayer funds, and address reforms to prevent pay-for-delay to block generic drugs from coming to market.
- During the February conference the AREF arranged for a professional Staff Member of the House Majority Ways and Means Committee to educate attendees on the Committee’s position not to be viewed as doing price setting on prescription drugs. At the September Fly-In, the AREF hosted a panel of Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation officials who educated the attendees on PBGC’s projected financial capabilities to serve as a safety net for terminated pensions; the PBGC’s 2016 annual guarantee limit for payments to individuals; the PBGC Risk Management and Recovery Maximization activities; Early Warning Program for at-risk pension plans, and information available at www.PBGC.gov.
- The AREF’s effort to educate retirees included the preparation and mailing of spring, summer and fall issues of the NRLN FOCUS newsletter.
- Information prepared by the AREF was used that to educate retirees of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Avaya, DuPont and in The Villages, Florida about the NRLN which led to the formation in 2016 of four new NRLN Chapters.
- The AREF prepared the questionnaire used to gain input, May 2 – June 5, from 6,737 retirees and future retirees in the NRLN Future Directions online survey. Participants in the 2016 survey were retired from 107 companies and public entities with nearly 2% of those responding still employed. The AREF also prepared the questionnaire to gain input, Aug. 3 – Aug. 18, from retirees in The Villages, Florida on the issue of The Villages Health Clinics’ decision to no longer accept traditional Medicare participants effective January 1, 2017. After the formation of the NRLN Villages Chapter, the AREF prepared the questionnaire for the Chapter’s Future Directions Survey, Oct. 29 – Nov. 30.
- In 2017, we have an opportunity to be on the ground floor of a new movement where all Americans interests will be re-assessed. The AREF has positioned the NRLN with valuable input, more research and advocacy is needed for the NRLN to lobby for retiree interests and to rebuff negative proposals.
I hope you can tell from above that financial support to the AREF is essential to the NRLN carrying out its mission to protect retirement income security and reduce the cost of health care, particularly prescription drugs.