DOL Launches Grant Program for Retirement Benefits

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By Sean Forbes

July 27 — Efforts to kick-start retirement benefits projects for Americans without workplace-savings plans are getting a boost with a $100,000 grant program from the Department of Labor.

The DOL said its “Portable Retirement Benefits Planning grant program” is intended to assist those who have traditionally lacked access to an employer-provided retirement benefits program—including independent contractors--or are otherwise less likely to have income from pensions or other assets. The program is administered by the DOL’s Women’s Bureau.

About half of American workers have no retirement savings at all, the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute said in a March report.

The grant project will help nonprofit organizations undertake program-planning activities needed to develop a portable retirement benefits program for their stakeholders or target populations, the DOL said. Two to four grants between $25,000 and $75,000 will be awarded to nonprofit organizations.

About half of the states are also exploring how to establish retirement plans for their private-sector citizens who don't have coverage through the workplace, in part due to the DOL’s guidance in 2015 to allow states to establish such programs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sean Forbes in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at

For More Information

Information on the Portable Retirement Benefits Program is at

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