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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

If you're a participant in a National Steel pension plan, you may have received a communication claiming that PBGC is conducting a general review of the benefit amounts paid to National Steel participants.

Please be assured that this is not the case. PBGC did not send out any such communication, and is not reviewing National Steel benefits.

We are confident that your pension benefit has been determined accurately and that you are receiving the maximum amount you are entitled to under law.

If you have any questions or receive additional false information purporting to come from PBGC, please feel free to contact us at mypension@pbgc.gov or 1-800-400-7242.

Interfaith Medical Center logo

PBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 1,400 current and future retirees of Interfaith Medical Center, which operates a 287-bed hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The agency stepped in because Interfaith Medical is unable to meet the minimum funding requirements for the two pension plans it sponsors.

PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by Interfaith Medical's retirees up to the legal limit of about $55,840 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.

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Joshua Gotbaum sitting with Adam Shapiro

In part one of a two-part series, "Insuring Private Pensions," Fox Business reporter Adam Shapiro and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Director Josh Gotbaum, discuss the need for Congress to raise premiums to ensure 42 million Americans receive the pensions they were promised.

By now, you may have read news headlines addressing a study on PBGC premium increases released by the Pension Coalition. In an official PBGC statement, Gotbaum responded saying, "Unlike the FDIC and other Federal insurance programs, Congress has continued to set PBGC premiums and has done so in ways that both underfunds PBGC and is convincing some companies they shouldn't offer pensions at all."

In his interview, Gotbaum explains the specific PBGC-related issues that affect the retirement crisis.

Watch the complete video interview on the Fox Business website.

Generic newspaperIn the recently published article "Thought Secure, Pooled Pensions Teeter and Fall," New York Times reporter Mary Williams Walsh gets candid commentary from PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum on the crisis facing the multiemployer pension system.

Gotbaum was quoted saying, "If Congress allows the PBGC to get the money and the authority it needs to do its job, then these plans can be preserved," he added. "If not, the PBGC will run out of money, too, and multiemployer pensioners will get virtually nothing. This is not something that can wait a few years. If people kick the can down the road, they'll find it went off a cliff."

Read the full article and find out more about multiemployer pension plans.

Did you recently receive an Annual Funding Notice? Wondering what it means?

Annual Funding Notices keep you (pension plan participants) informed about the financial status of your pension plan.

Now, you're probably wondering why you received the letter. The answer is simple. You received the letter because employers are required to send an Annual Funding Notice each year to everyone covered by their pension plan.

The notice provides you with information about:

  • How well your pension plan is funded
  • The value of your pension plan's assets and liabilities
  • How your pension plan's assets are invested
  • The legal limits on how much PBGC can pay if your pension plan ends

The bottom line is there is no need to panic. The notice does not mean that your pension plan is ending or that PBGC is taking over payment of your benefit. While PBGC insures your pension, the pension plan remains under the sponsorship of your employer. PBGC does not have any specific information about your benefit.

For questions about your funding notice, pension plan, or individual benefit, please contact your pension plan administrator, not PBGC. PBGC only has information about pension plans that have ended. You can find contact information for the pension plan administrator in the annual funding notice or through the employer sponsoring the plan, typically via the human resources office.

Additional information is available on our Annual Funding Notice for Defined Benefit Pension Plans page. 

Photo of Kathleen P. Utgoff

Kathleen P. Utgoff, PBGC Director 1985-89

In its 40-year history, PBGC has had 14 agency directors, including current Director Josh Gotbaum. One among them stands out, however. With Women's History Month underway, Retirement Matters features former agency director Kathleen P. Utgoff.

Among a dozen wood-framed portraits on the 12th floor of the agency's Washington, DC headquarters, one photo stands out. That's because the image depicts the only female ever to serve as PBGC's executive director.

Installed as the agency's seventh director during the Reagan administration, Utgoff led PBGC from 1985 to 1989. When her term ended, who knew that in 40 years of protecting America's pensions, her photo would be the only woman's to grace that wall of fame of former directors?

As the agency celebrates both National Women's History Month with the 2014 theme of Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment, as well as PBGC's 40th anniversary with its theme of Celebrating the Past, Securing the Future, Retirement Matters thought it'd be a good idea to dust off some old Rolodexes and introduce, or in some cases reintroduce Utgoff to PBGC, which she calls "a jewel among agencies."

Cartoon representation of Kathleen P. Utgoff in front of sign reading PBGC Renovation Project. Project Engineer: Kathleen P Utgoff

Reprinted with permission, Business Insurance 1989. © Crain Communications, Inc.

In a 1989 cartoon (pictured left), cartoonist Roger Schillerstrom of Business Insurance depicts Utgoff at the completion of her term. She touted the PBGC Renovation Project as one of her biggest accomplishments.

Some plan participants may have been introduced to the agency under Utgoff's reign, but for those who have no idea who she is, here's "herstory."

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