PBGC was just getting started when Vietnam was winding down, President Nixon resigned, the NFL granted a franchise to Seattle, and Americans preferred avocado green kitchen appliances over anything that color on four wheels.
When we started, we churned out plans and memos and reports from typewriters and could smoke on the job, and pensions still seemed to be almost as solidly American as basketball, jazz, and poker.
In the distance, however, the sunrise of change was already hinting at dusk.
Events and crises, economic disruptions and volatility triggered a shift in how pensions were viewed — morphing from promises and pledges that were "solid" to being cast as liabilities on balance sheets. During 40 years our creativity and resourcefulness have been challenged, keyed on what tools we can use to protect Americans.
As we look at our 40 years to see where we came from and how our mission has been steadfast in changing dynamics, here is what part of our world was like when PBGC — as well as 21 of our current employees — was born.
The nation had never seen anything like us: an agency dedicated to saving pensions and protecting those about to lose pensions.
We were then, and we still are.
Col. Charles McGee delivers keynote address at PBGC'S Black History Month Celebration.
On Feb. 11, 2014, PBGC staff witnessed living black history as the agency's Chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG) and the Special Emphasis Program (SEP) hosted the annual Black History Month program. With the national theme in mind, Civil Rights in America, this year's program was widely deemed one of the greatest in PBGC history.
Col. Charles McGee, an original, and now retired, member of the Tuskegee Airmen delivered the keynote address to the agency's staff as they filled the building's training institute in celebration of Black History Month. McGee's career in the legendary all-black 332nd Fighter Group-12th Air Force began in 1944. He is among the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed forces.
During WWII black pilots were trained at a segregated air base in Tuskegee, Ala., and became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. At the helm of P-39 fighters they flew hundreds of patrol and attack missions, and were also used to escort B-17 and B-24 bombers. The airmen were portrayed in the 2012 motion picture, "Red Tails," produced by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. The Red Tails nickname came from the ruby-toned tails of the airmen's planes.
In his address, McGee recounted the struggles he and his fellow soldiers faced as African Americans in the Air Force. Throughout World War II, African Americans in a number of U.S. states were subject to Jim Crow laws and all branches of the military were racially segregated. But these obstacles didn't stop McGee and his peers from stepping up and fighting for freedom at home and abroad. He stressed the "Three Ps," which helped to shape his illustrious career as a Tuskegee Airman: persevere, prepare, and perform. "Excellence should always be your goal," McGee said.
On Jan. 31, 1973, McGee retired from the Air Force after 30 years of military service.
We at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation challenge each other each day to better serve the public in every way possible. We like to think we succeed — and now we are pleased that many of you agree.
PBGC received the fourth best score in a study of citizen satisfaction with federal government service, garnering a score of 90 in a report released on January 28. This puts us at levels of user satisfaction similar to high-performing private sector companies.
We achieved a similar breakout status in the same report a year ago.
The aggregate mark across the federal government was 66.1, close to the all-time low.
The 2013 ACSI report on citizen satisfaction is based on interviews with 1,448 users, chosen at random and contacted via telephone and email between October 11 and December 8, 2013. Respondents are asked to evaluate their recent experiences with federal government services.
Read the full ACSI Report on U.S. Federal Government 2013. (PDF)
By now, you have probably received your Form 1099-R from us.
As you arrange to have your income taxes prepared and filed, we would like to share 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 2013 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.
The beginning of a new year typically means the onset of new goals and perhaps the continuation of last year's resolutions. For many, saving more money might always be #1 or a close second on that list.
One source of this year's extra savings could be money from an unclaimed pension.
Across the country, there are more than 31,000 people who haven't claimed pension benefits they are owed. Those unclaimed pensions are now north of $280 million, with individual benefits ranging from 12 cents to almost $1 million.
The states with the most missing pension participants and money to be claimed are:
- New York (6,678/$40.33 million)
- Illinois (4,344/$85.36 million)
- California (2,966/$7.64 million)
- Texas (2,278/$10.68 million)
- New Jersey (2,114/$11.70 million)
- Ohio (1,908/$12.82 million)
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.
Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1966 defined "marriage" as a "legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife" and a "spouse as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
As a result, PBGC changed its policy to recognize same-sex marriages in our administration of benefits in terminated plans under the same rules applicable to opposite-sex marriages.
For a more detailed explanation of how PBGC recognizes marriage, please visit the "Benefits" section of our Workers & Retirees page.