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Disaster Relief Announcement 97-01
PBGC RELIEF FOR SEVERE WEATHER IN THE MIDWEST AND SOUTH

March 12, 1997

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is waiving certain penalties and extending certain deadlines in response to the major disasters declared by the President of the United States on account of severe weather in the Midwest and South.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE: This relief is generally available to persons residing in, or whose principal place of business is within, an area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as affected by major disasters declared by the President of the United States on account of recent severe weather in the Midwest and South.

DATE COMPLIANCE IS REQUIRED: The waivers of penalties and deadlines discussed below are conditional on compliance by April 30, 1997.

ELIGIBLE LOCATIONS: In general, this relief is applicable with respect to plans for which the administrator's or sponsor's principal place of business, or the office of a service provider, bank, insurance company, or other person maintaining information necessary to meet the applicable deadlines, is located in an area that has been or is hereafter designated a major disaster area on account of severe weather in the Midwest and South occurring on or after February 28 and before April 30, 1997 (a "designated disaster area"). However, the extension (discussed below) for filing requests for reconsideration or appeals is applicable to any aggrieved person who is residing in, or whose principal place of business is within, a designated disaster area, or with respect to whom the office of the service provider, bank, insurance company, or other person maintaining the information necessary to file the request for reconsideration or appeal is within such an area.

PREMIUMS: The PBGC will waive the late payment penalty charge with respect to any premium payment required to be made on or after February 28, 1997, and before April 30, 1997, if the payment is made by April 30, 1997. The PBGC is not permitted by law to waive late payment interest charges. (ERISA section 4007(b); 29 CFR 4007.7 and 4007.8(b)(3).)

SECTION 4071 PENALTIES: The PBGC will not assess a section 4071 penalty for a failure to file any of the following notices required to be filed with the PBGC on or after February 28, 1997, and before April 30, 1997, if the notice is filed by April 30, 1997:

(1) Post-distribution certification for single-employer plans (PBGC Form 501 or 602; ERISA section 4041(b)(3)(B) or (c)(3)(B); 29 CFR 4041.27(h) or 4041.48(b)),

(2) Notice of termination for multiemployer plans (ERISA section 4041A; 29 CFR 4041A.11),

(3) Notice of plan amendments increasing benefits by more than $10 million (ERISA section 307(e)),

(4) Missing participants information for single-employer plans (Schedule MP (including Attachments A and B) to PBGC Forms 501 and 602; ERISA section 4050; 29 CFR 4050.6), and

(5) Premium declarations (PBGC Forms 1 (including Schedule A) and 1-ES; ERISA section 4007; 29 CFR 4007.3).

The PBGC will not assess a section 4071 penalty for a failure to provide certain supporting information and documentation when a notice of failure to make required contributions totaling more than $1 million (including interest) is timely filed, if the timely filed notice includes at least items 1 through 7 and items 11 and 12 of Form 200; the responses to items 8 through 10, with the certifications in items 11 and 12, may be filed late (PBGC Form 200; ERISA section 302(f)(4); 29 CFR 4043.81). This relief applies to notices required to be filed with the PBGC on or after February 28, 1997, and before April 30, 1997, provided that all supporting information and documentation are filed by April 30, 1997.

The PBGC is not automatically forgoing assessment of penalties under section 4071 for failure to comply with other information submission requirements, but relief may be granted in individual cases. For example, 29 CFR 4010.11 provides for waivers and extensions for financial and actuarial information reporting under 29 CFR Part 4010.

REPORTABLE EVENTS NOTICES: With respect to a reportable event for which a post-event notice is required to be filed under subpart B of the PBGC's regulation on Reportable Events (29 CFR 4043.20 through 4043.35) on or after February 28, 1997, and before April 30, 1997, the PBGC is (pursuant to 29 CFR 4043.4(d)) extending to April 30, 1997, the time within which to provide certain supporting information and documentation when a notice of the reportable event is timely filed, if the timely filed notice includes at least the information specified on the front of PBGC Form 10 or, if Form 10 is not filed, the information specified in 29 CFR 4043.3(b)(1) through (5); the extension applies to the information specified on the back of Form 10 or, if Form 10 is not filed, the information specified in 29 CFR 4043.3(b)(6) through (8) and in paragraph (b) of the regulation section that describes the event.

The PBGC is not providing automatic extensions for advance notices of reportable events described in subpart C of the Reportable Events regulation (29 CFR 4043.61 through 4043.68), but waivers and extensions for such notices may be granted individually pursuant to 29 CFR 4043.4(d).

STANDARD AND DISTRESS TERMINATION NOTICES AND DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS: With respect to a standard termination for which the standard termination notice is required to be filed, or the distribution of plan assets is required to be completed, on or after February 28, 1997, and before April 30, 1997, the PBGC is (pursuant to 29 CFR 4041.8) extending to April 30, 1997, the time within which the standard termination notice must be filed (and, thus, the time within which notices of plan benefits must be provided) and the time within which the distribution of plan assets must be completed.

With respect to a distress termination for which the distress termination notice is required to be filed on or after February 28, 1997, and before April 30, 1997, the PBGC is (pursuant to 29 CFR 4041.8) extending to April 30, 1997, the time within which the termination notice must be filed. With respect to a distress termination for which notices of benefit distribution must be provided or plan assets must be distributed on or after February 28, 1997, and before April 30, 1997, as a result of the PBGC's issuance of a distribution notice, the PBGC is (pursuant to 29 CFR 4041.8 and 4041.43(d)) extending to April 30, 1997, the time within which such actions must be taken. In addition, as noted above, the PBGC is providing relief from penalties for late filing of the post-distribution certification.

PARTICIPANT NOTICES: For Participant Notices that are required to be issued on or after February 28, 1997, and before April 30, 1997, the PBGC is (pursuant to 29 CFR 4011.8) extending the due date to April 30, 1997.

REQUESTS FOR RECONSIDERATION OR APPEALS: For persons who are aggrieved by certain agency determinations and for whom a request for reconsideration or an appeal is required to be filed on or after February 28, 1997, and before April 30, 1997, the PBGC is (pursuant to 29 CFR 4003.4(b)) extending the time for filing to April 30, 1997.

APPLYING FOR WAIVERS/EXTENSIONS: A submission to the PBGC to which a waiver or an extension is applicable under this notice should be marked in bold print "SEVERE WEATHER 3/97, [name of county], [name of state]" at the top center.