Wednesday, U.S. Senators Mike Braun and Sherrod Brown led the introduction of the Susan Muffley Act, bipartisan legislation to restore retirement benefits to over 20,000 Delphi Salaried Retirees. When General Motors filed for bankruptcy during the Great Recession, the U.S. Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) assumed responsibility for the terminated benefits but could not pay an individual more than a statutory maximum benefit. Therefore, retirees experienced significant losses to their benefits, affecting 20,000 Delphi Salaried Retirees, including more than 4,000 retirees in Indiana and 5,000 retirees in Ohio.
“Over 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees, including 4,000 Hoosiers, lost their retirement benefits at no fault of their own. This bipartisan legislation is a long overdue effort that would restore pensions rightfully earned by these American workers,” said Sen. Braun.
“After years of work by workers and retirees in Ohio and Michigan, it’s past time to restore the full benefits of the Delphi Salaried Retirees,” said Sen. Brown. “I’ll keep working with members of both parties and the White House to get results for these retirees.”
This legislation—supported by Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives—would restore the terminated pensions, making the retirees whole. This bill would make up the difference between the pension benefits earned by Delphi Salaried Retirees and what they received following the GM bankruptcy in 2009. This means beneficiaries who have already begun receiving benefits will receive a lump sum payment of the difference between what was actually paid by PBGC and would have been paid without the limitations, plus interest. Retirees may pay income taxes on this lump sum over three years to ease the tax burden. All beneficiaries will receive their full earned benefit amount moving forward.
In addition to Braun and Brown, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Todd Young (R-IN), Bob Casey (D-PA), and John Fetterman (D-PA) will introduce the legislation in the Senate. U.S. Representatives Dan Kilde (D-MI-8) and Mike Turner (R-OH-10) introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives.
For over a decade, the Delphi Salaried Retirees have been fighting to restore their benefits. In September 2009, the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA) filed a lawsuit against the PBGC to restore their pension benefits. After losing decisions at lower courts, the DSRA petitioned to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case in January 2022. Congressional action is now the only option for restoring their pensions.
The legislation is named after Susan Muffley, who was part of the DSRA’s core leadership in the effort to restore their pensions. Her husband, David, worked at Delphi as an electronics technician for 31 years, but lost the full value of his pension in 2009. Despite health problems, Susan avoided seeing her doctor given her family’s financial constraints due to losing their pension. She was ultimately diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away on August 9, 2012.
There are over 20,000 affected Delphi retirees across the country, including:
New York: 2,337
North Carolina: 156
South Carolina: 147
Other States: 672