Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., is reviving a womens pension bill put on hold after Sept. 11. The bill would require all defined contribution retirement plans to offer a joint and survivor annuity or a stream of payments paid over the lives of the participant or the surviving spouse. Participants also could choose to have surviving spouses receive at least 75% of the value of the payment to the participant. Under current law, surviving spouses can receive at least 50% of the value paid to the participant.
Participants interested in withdrawing all their money out of the retirement plans as a lump sum would need to get written permission from their spouses. This provision would not, however, apply to loans, hardship withdrawals or rollovers to other plans.