PBGC Protects Pensions at Victory Memorial Hospital
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 05, 2006
WASHINGTON-The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today announced it has assumed responsibility for the underfunded pension plan sponsored by Victory Memorial Hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y. The Victory Memorial Hospital Pension Plan, which covers about 1,200 current and former employees and retirees, has been frozen since 1997.
The PBGC stepped in after Victory failed to make legally required minimum funding contributions to the plan, and the agency determined that the plan would be unable to pay benefits when due because of underfunding. The PBGC will pay retirees' monthly benefit checks without interruption, up to legal limits, and will ensure other plan participants receive benefits when they are eligible to retire.
Victory missed almost $8 million in legally required contributions. The hospital's last contribution was for the 2003 plan year. According to PBGC estimates, the plan is 42 percent funded, with about $20 million in assets to cover nearly $49 million in promised benefits. The agency expects to be liable for the entire $29 million shortfall.
Assumption of the plan will have no material effect on the PBGC's balance sheet, as an estimate of the liability was included in its fiscal 2005 financial statements according to generally accepted accounting principles. The pension plan terminated as of September 15, 2005, and PBGC became trustee on June 15, 2006.
Under federal pension law, the maximum guaranteed pension at age 65 for participants in plans that terminated in 2005 is $45,613 per year. The maximum guaranteed amount is lower for those who retire earlier or elect survivor benefits. Within the next several weeks, the PBGC will send trusteeship notification letters to all plan participants. Workers and retirees with questions may consult the PBGC Web site, www.pbgc.gov or call toll-free at 1-800-400-7242. TTY/TDD users should call the federal relay service by dialing 711 and asking for 800-400-7242.
Victory Memorial Hospital retirees who draw a benefit from the PBGC may be eligible for the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit. Further information may be found on the PBGC Web site at http://www.pbgc.gov/workers-retirees/benefits-information/content/page13692.html.
The PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits earned by 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 30,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and by investment returns.
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PBGC No. 06-54