CalPERS Press Release, July 30, 2009

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) today praised the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) for their study that shows defined benefit plans play a critical role in reducing the risk of poverty and hardship among older Americans.

In the NIRS report — The Pension Factor: Assessing the Role of Defined Benefit Plans in Reducing Elder Hardships – said that pension income among Americans in 2006 helped avoid nearly $7.3 billion in public assistance expenditures and kept 4.7 million households out of poverty or near poverty.

“This study validates what we have always known, defined benefit plans like CalPERS significantly contribute to society and our economy every day,” said Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive Officer.  “Pensions protect Americans, especially the elderly, from poverty, material hardships and reliance on public assistance.”

The Pension Factor finds that pension income among older American households can be attributed to 1.7 million fewer poor households and 2.9 million fewer near poor households; 560,000 fewer households experiencing a food hardship; and 320,000 fewer households struggling with health care, among other contributions.

A copy of the report can be found on the NIRS Web site at

CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund with assets of more than $187 billion.  It administers retirement benefits for 1.6 million active and retired State, public school, and local public agency employees and their families and health benefits for 1.3 million members.