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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

Follow Us on Twitter

  |   August 29, 2013

twitter logo: light-blue background with the outline of a white bird in the centerSee the string of messages in the lower right-hand corner of this blog page? That's PBGC's Twitter feed. You can easily access the full feed on Twitter by clicking the famous Twitter bird under "Follow PBGC" to the right.

We use Twitter to spotlight our day-to-day efforts to protect pensions. When you follow us, you'll get quick bits of information to keep you in the know about PBGC. And each day you'll find a new fact about pensions, a link to a relevant article, or a news update about retirement security.

If you're among the more than 800,000 retirees who rely on PBGC for monthly income, you'll be first to get a link to your retiree newsletter.

If you work in the pension field, we'll tweet our monthly interest rates, premium filing updates, and news of important regulatory changes.

If you like one of our tweets and want to share it with friends, please favorite the tweet or simply retweet it, and help us spread the word as we work to save America's pensions.

Follow us at https://twitter.com/USPBGC

MyPBA  (My Pension Benefit Account) is our secure online service that lets you, the participant, handle certain common transactions with PBGC.

Participants in PBGC-trusteed plans can use PBGC's fast, free, and secure online service tool to apply for pension benefits, update contact information, adjust federal income tax withholding, and more.

Since generations accustomed to using technology are joining the ranks of retirees, this helps PBGC in enhancing technological resources, making your interactions with PBGC easier and more user-friendly.  

The old system, which came online around 2004, has been decommissioned, while the new MyPBA recently got a facelift complete with features designed to give participants a more convenient option to calling the agency's Customer Contact Center.

Some of the new and improved items include:

  • login
  • registration
  • email communications

About 250,000 participants with MyPBA accounts are expected to use the new MyPBA system at some time in the future.

But, if you wish to call PBGC's Customer Contact Center, we'd still like to hear from you!

Brown gavel sitting on a wood blockThings looked bleak last year for plan funding when a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts said private equity firms didn't operate as trades or businesses, but passive investors in the companies they own. If the ruling was left intact, it would have created a major loophole in this kind of liability for private equity funds connected to pension plans.

At the time, the court considered whether two funds managed by private equity firm Sun Capital were responsible for $4.5 million in withdrawal liability after their company, Scott Brass, a Rhode Island-based metal fabricator, left the New England Teamsters multiemployer plan.

Such distinctions are important because entities engaged in a trade or businesses may be responsible for pension shortfalls in single employer plans and for withdrawal liability in multiemployer plans.

Earlier this year, the Teamsters asked the First Circuit Court of Appeals to revisit the issue and PBGC filed a friend of the court brief supporting their cause.

More...

With recent news of the Detroit bankruptcy, more people are asking about PBGC's role in public pensions. However, by law, PBGC doesn't insure state, county, or city plans.

While we insure most private-sector (non-governmental) pension plans, Congress has also defined exceptions that PBGC does not insure. But for more information about public pensions, please contact the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems

Informational graphic with silhouette of call center representative on the right. The graph describes the responsibilities of the 70 team members mentioned in the article and the call volume received over the past two years, also mentioned in the article.

When retirees and workers wish to contact PBGC, they first turn to the Customer Contact Center, which does its best to answer every call.

The center is nestled in Kingstowne, Va., outside of the hustle and bustle of Washington. Its representatives are the agency's first responders, making sure no call goes unanswered.

The team of 70 comprised of two federal managers, 13 contact center leadership team members, and 55 customer service representatives, regularly communicate with the Corporation's Field Benefit Administrators (FBA), transferring participants' calls to the FBAs to ensure questions on benefit entitlement are answered. The center also transfers calls to the Corporation's lawyers when participants have inquiries regarding legal matters.

The number of calls received fluctuates each month. From 2010 to 2012, the center received an average of 521,000 calls yearly or about 2,000 every business day.

More...

PBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 2,400 current and future retirees of KidsPeace Corporation, a private charity dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, families, and communities.

KidsPeace Corporation is headquartered in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania with operations in Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

The agency stepped in because the charity organization can't pay its pension obligations and remain in business.

PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by the hospital's retirees up to the legal limit of almost $56,000 per year for a 65-year-old.

Retirees will continue to get benefits without interruption, and future retirees can apply for benefits as soon as they are eligible.

More...