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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

Surveys: Tell Us the Truth

  |   April 15, 2013

So far, in fiscal year 2013, PBGC has surveyed around 10,000 folks, but what does it mean?

When PBGC comes into someone's life, it may be at a time when everything is broken. Customers have lost jobs, insurance, promise of a comfortable retirement. Death, disease, and disability may bring these trials to a crisis.  While the Corporation can't solve every customer's every problem, it can provide compassionate and responsive service to those who may feel cheated, abused, or simply discarded by the trusted employer who terminated a promised pension.

PBGC can and does measure how many benefit determinations we send out and how fast we issue benefit estimates, which is just part of the story. We won't know about our success in providing information through online sources and by delivering checks, until we hear from the person on the other end. Was it on time by your definition? Was it what you needed? Did we help you understand?

When you tell us the truth, you reveal the opportunities for a process that flows well and makes sense, a graphic that makes a complicated matter clear, a few words that provide assurance and restore a little bit of faith in humanity.

PBGC welcomes your feedback, your questions, and especially your ideas on how we can all work together to make those moments of beauty a more frequent reality for you the customer.

Big Apple logo.

PBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 200 current and future retirees of Bill Johnson's Restaurants Inc. The eatery has five locations throughout Arizona.

The agency is stepping in because the pension plan doesn't have enough money to pay benefits when due. Also, Bill Johnson's is attempting to reorganize in bankruptcy proceedings and will likely abandon the plan when the case concludes leaving no one to administer benefits.

The restaurant chain operates under the Bill Johnson's Big Apple brand, and its retirement plan, the Defined Benefit Plan of Bill Johnson's Restaurants Inc., will end as of April 4, 2013.

PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by the company's retirees up to the legal limit of about $57,500 a year for a 65-year-old.

More...

Renting a new apartment?  Buying a house? Applying for benefits from a government agency?  If so, someone may ask you to prove your income. 

If you get a retirement benefit from PBGC, we'll be happy to verify the amount you receive.  Mail us your request in writing, and we'll send income verification to you or a third party (like a landlord or mortgage company).   

To protect your privacy, we have to be sure you authorize us to send out this information.  So you or the third party will have to follow a few simple steps.  You can find complete instructions on our Income Verification Procedures webpage.  

image of question marks

If you are new to the PBGC family, we know you have a lot of questions. Even if you've been with us for a while, changes in your life or something you hear in the latest news may raise more questions.

Chances are, if you're wondering about it, someone else is, too. That's why we keep an extensive list of FAQs (frequently asked questions) on our website.

From benefit payment options to PBGC's financial condition, we've got it covered. Just click on the link above to see it now.

For future reference, look for the FAQs in the top menu on the main page of PBGC.gov. And, if you are new to PBGC, check out "New to PBGC", a page designed especially for you. 

Still have questions? We're just a phone call or email away.

PBGC, Taxes, and You

  |   March 25, 2013

As the income tax deadline approaches, here is some important information about PBGC benefits and taxes.

While PBGC is required to withhold federal income tax, we do not withhold for state taxes. If your state has an income tax, you may owe tax on your PBGC benefit. To find out more, contact your state tax office (Excel file, 14.4 KB).

Also, if you receive a benefit from PBGC, we report the amount annually to the IRS.

For income tax purposes, each January PBGC sends you an IRS Form 1099-R that states the amount we paid you the previous year.

If you need a Form 1099-R for 2012 and haven't received it, PBGC will get you one.

The IRS has a tool, "Is My Pension or Annuity Payment Taxable?" that will help you determine if your pension or annuity payment from an employer-sponsored retirement plan is taxable.

There isn't any doubt that the economy has taken a big hit in recent years.

As the housing market begins to rebound and the stock market hits a new high, the percentage of Americans who are confident that they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement is the lowest it has been in 23 years.

According to the latest Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) only 13 percent were very confident of having a comfortable retirement, while 38 percent were somewhat confident, 21 percent not too confident, and 28 percent not at all confident.

Some of the biggest factors influencing the drop in confidence are high debt levels, and uncertainty about employment.

Read the 2013 EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey Results.