DOL Awards Research Grants for Exploring Portable Retirement Savings

The grant program seeks to assist those workers who have traditionally lacked access to an employer-provided retirement benefits program or are otherwise less likely to have income from pensions or assets.

By Rebecca Moore | September 22, 2016

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded a total of $153,836 in grants to organizations to support the planning and research of portable retirement benefit plans for low-wage workers.

Administered by the department’s Women’s Bureau, the awards are funded by the Portable Retirement Benefits Planning grant program. As previously announced, the program’s ultimate goal is to assist those workers—particularly women and others in low-wage occupations—who lack access to an employer-provided retirement benefits program and are less likely to have pension or asset-related income.

The Brazilian Worker Center, Inc. in Allston, Massachusetts, will receive $25,000 to conduct research to inform the development of a prototype mobile platform to provide benefits, including retirement benefits, to predominantly low-wage, non-benefited domestic- and direct-care workers.

The Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights in Chicago will receive $75,000 to conduct a needs assessment of Illinois’ economically vulnerable, low-wage, and underserved workers without access to an employer-provided retirement savings plan. The organization will also conduct research to identify barriers to participation in the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program faced by low-wage workers and underserved workers.

The Fair Work Center in Seattle will receive $53,836 to conduct a needs assessment among low-wage workers, employers and benefits providers to understand the challenges and barriers low-wage workers currently face  in saving for retirement.

“Ensuring economic security for America’s workers, especially women and low-wage workers, is our mission at the U.S. Labor Department,” says Women’s Bureau Director Latifa Lyles. “Today’s announcement is another step toward our goal of supporting innovation in bringing retirement security to America’s lowest-paid workers.”