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News & Policy

PBGC Data Book Reports on Growing Multiemployer Liability

August 20, 2010

WASHINGTON-The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today released the Pension Insurance Data Book 2009, which offers information on statistical trends related to defined benefit retirement plans in the private sector. The new edition features a detailed article on the smaller of the agency's two pension insurance programs, which provides financial assistance to insolvent multiemployer pension plans.

After surveying the multiemployer program's legislative background and key operational aspects, the article discusses the PBGC's overall experience with financial assistance to multiemployer plans and the probability of such claims increasing significantly in the years ahead.

Since fiscal year 1981, the PBGC has paid just over $500 million in financial assistance to 62 insolvent multiemployer plans covering more than 93,000 participants. The agency estimates its liability for such payments in the future at nearly $2.3 billion, to 104 plans covering about 136,000 participants.

If an insolvent multiemployer pension plan recovers financially, it is required to repay the financial assistance with interest. In the program's nearly 30 years of existence, only one multiemployer plan has repaid PBGC for the financial assistance it received.

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:

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. 10-46