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Are Pennsylvania’s cities facing a pension crisis?

Graphic on distressed pension plans


Seeking a better understanding of Pennsylvania's issues and proposed solutions? Sometimes, complicated jargon and concepts can get in the way. That's why we started Explainers, a series that tries to lay out key facts, clarify concepts and demystify jargon. Today's topic: Pensions.

What is a pension?

A pension is a set amount of money paid regularly to a retired worker. The money comes from a fund that has been financed by an employee and/or their employer over several years. Pensions are available in both the public and private sectors.

There are two main types of pensions: "defined benefit" plans and "defined contribution" plans.

Read a full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.