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News & Policy

PBGC to Take Over Venture Stores Pension Plan

April 14, 1999

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today announced it will take over the pension plan of bankrupt discount department store operator Venture Stores, Inc., O'Fallon, Mo., to protect the pensions of about 4,300 workers and retirees as the company liquidates.

"Venture Stores workers will receive pensions when they retire because their pension plan is insured by the PBGC," said PBGC Executive Director David M. Strauss. "And workers already retired will continue to receive their benefit checks without interruption."

The company had over 90 outlets in eight midwestern states. The Venture Stores pension plan is underfunded by about $1.7 million, with assets of about $17.4 million and liabilites of $19.1 million. By agreement between PBGC and the plan administrator, the plan terminated effective August 30, 1998, the date specified by the company in a letter telling participants of its intent to end the plan. When a pension plan ends, workers can no longer earn more benefits.

Nearly all workers, except for a few highly compensated individuals, are expected to receive full benefits from PBGC. All covered workers who made valid elections for lump sums prior to August 30, 1998 will receive them from PBGC. The maximum pension benefit guaranteed for workers in plans that terminated in 1998 is $2,880.68 a month ($34,568.16 a year) for persons who retire at age 65 or older. The guarantee is lower for those who retire early or have survivor's benefits.

Workers and retirees do not need to take any action. Those wishing to retire or anyone with questions about benefits may contact PBGC's Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7242. For TTY/TDD users, call the federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 800-400-7242.

PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to guarantee payment of basic pension benefits earned by some 42 million American workers and retirees participating in about 44,000 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 investment returns.

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PBGC No. 99-19