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News & Policy

PBGC Publishes Pension Insurance Data Book 2008

September 01, 2009

WASHINGTON - The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today released the Pension Insurance Data Book 2008, which offers information on statistical trends related to defined benefit retirement plans in the private sector.

The 2008 Data Book features two new tables with historical information on single-employer frozen pension plans. Table S-36 details the number of PBGC-insured hard-frozen plans by size. Table S-37 shows the number of workers and retirees who participate in those plans. For 2006, the most recent data available, out of about 34 million insured participants, 2.8 million were in hard-frozen pension plans. Additionally, out of nearly 29,000 plans, 4,851 were hard-frozen. Information on hard-frozen plans is taken from the IRS Form 5500, the annual report filed by sponsors of defined benefit and other pension and welfare plans.

When a plan has been hard-frozen, employees will receive the benefits they have earned, but no new benefits will be earned after the date that the plan has been frozen. Under this scenario, an employee who has spent 20 years at a company and intends to stay for another five years until retirement will not receive additional pension benefits for future work. New employees are not allowed to participate in the pension plan.

The Data Book provides researchers, journalists and others interested in the federal pension insurance program easily accessible, detailed statistics for PBGC's two separate programs covering single-employer and multiemployer plans. For both of PBGC's insurance programs, the book includes graphs and tables on the financial condition of the program, numbers of people and plans protected by the program, the people receiving or eligible to receive benefits from PBGC and the benefits paid to them, claims against the program, and other vital statistics.

The Data Book is available on PBGC's Web site at Single copies of the publication may be obtained by writing to: PBGC Data Book, Room 12108, 1200 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005-4026. Requests also may be submitted by FAX to (202) 326-4344. Email: Publications@PBGC.GOV.

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 more than 29,000 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 PBGC's investment returns.

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PBGC No. 09-56