[Federal Register: June 12, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 112)]
[Notices]               
[Page 33778-33779]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr12jn06-117]                         

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PENSION BENEFIT GUARANTY CORPORATION

 
Submission of Information Collection for OMB Review; Comment 
Request; Qualified Domestic Relations Orders Submitted to the PBGC

AGENCY: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

ACTION: Notice of request for extension of OMB approval.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (``PBGC'') is 
requesting that the Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') approve a 
revision of a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act. The information collection relates to qualified domestic relations 
orders submitted to the PBGC. This notice informs the public of the 
PBGC's request and solicits public comment on the collection of 
information.

DATES: Comments should be submitted by July 12, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget, Attn: Desk 
Officer for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Washington, DC 20503. 
Copies of the request for extension (including the collection of 
information) may be obtained without charge by writing to the 
Disclosure Division of the Office of the General Counsel of PBGC at 
1200 K Street, NW., 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20005-4026, or by 
visiting or calling (202-326-4040) the Disclosure Division during 
normal business hours. (TTY and TDD users may call the Federal relay 
service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 202-326-
4040.)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jo Amato Burns, Attorney, Legislative 
and Regulatory Department, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K 
Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026, 202-326-4024. (TTY and TDD 
users may call the Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 
and ask to be connected to 202-326-4024.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The PBGC is requesting that OMB extend its 
approval (with modifications) of the guidance and model language and 
forms contained in the PBGC booklet, Divorce Orders & PBGC.
    A defined benefit pension plan that does not have enough money to 
pay benefits may be terminated if the employer responsible for the plan 
faces severe financial difficulty, such as bankruptcy, and is unable to 
maintain the plan. In such an event, the PBGC becomes trustee of the 
plan and pays benefits, subject to legal limits, to plan participants 
and beneficiaries.
    The benefits of a pension plan participant generally may not be 
assigned or alienated. However, Title I of ERISA provides an exception 
for domestic relations orders that relate to child support, alimony 
payments, or the marital property rights of an alternate payee (a 
spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a plan 
participant). The exception applies only if the domestic relations 
order meets specific legal requirements that make it qualified, i.e., a 
qualified domestic relations order, or ``QDRO.'' ERISA provides that 
pension plans are required to comply with only those domestic relations 
orders which are QDROs, and that the decision as to whether a domestic 
relations order is a QDRO is made by the plan administrator. Thus, as 
statutory trustee of terminated plans, PBGC must first determine 
whether any domestic relations order submitted to PBGC is qualified--
i.e., is a QDRO--before any obligation to comply is triggered.
    When PBGC is trustee of a plan, it reviews submitted domestic 
relations orders to determine whether the order is qualified before 
paying benefits to an alternate payee. The requirements for submitting 
a QDRO are established by statute. The models and guidance provided in 
the PBGC booklet, Divorce Orders & PBGC (the booklet's title will be 
changed to Qualified Domestic Relations Orders & PBGC, to better 
reflect its scope), assists parties by making it easier to comply with 
ERISA's QDRO requirements when drafting orders for plans trusteed by 
PBGC. The booklet does not create any additional requirements.
    The PBGC is revising the QDRO booklet by: Defining a participant's 
``earliest PBGC retirement date,'' which affects when a participant and 
alternate payee may start receiving benefit payments; describing new 
annuity benefit forms that are available to alternate payees; providing 
information on how to make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request 
to obtain information necessary for the preparation of a domestic 
relations order; and providing additional model forms and language to 
address a greater variety of situations. The revised booklet will be 
available on the PBGC's Web site at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.pbgc.gov.

    The collection of information has been approved through December 
31, 2006, by OMB under control number 1212-0054. The PBGC is requesting 
that OMB approve the revised collection of information for three years. 
An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to 
respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently 
valid OMB control number.
    PBGC estimates that it will receive an average of 875 domestic 
relations orders annually, and estimates 855 of these will be prepared 
by attorneys or other professionals. The average hour burden for the 
alternate payee or participant is .75 hours if the order is prepared by 
a professional. In the case where the alternate payee or participant 
prepares the order, the average hour burden is estimated to be 10 
hours. The total annual hour burden for alternate payees and 
participants is thus 841.25 hours ((855 x .75 hour = 641.25) + (20 x 10 
= 200) = 841.25 hours). If the alternate payee or participant hires an 
attorney, PBGC estimates costs of $450 to $880 in professional fees for 
each order. PBGC estimates the total annual burden will be 841.25 hours 
of the alternate payee's

[[Page 33779]]

or participant's time, and professional costs of $384,750 to $752,400.

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 6th day of June, 2006.
Cris Birch,
Acting Chief Technology Officer, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
 [FR Doc. E6-9065 Filed 6-9-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7708-01-P