2019 – Participant and Plan Sponsor Issues at a Glance
The Advocate’s 2019 Annual Report identifies a variety of positive improvements made by PBGC in response to past Advocate recommendations to address participant and plan sponsor concerns. Notable plan sponsor-related changes include making PBGC’s Mediation Program permanent, improving Early Warning Program communications, and offering a pre-filing consultation for ERISA section 4010 filings. Participant-related positive strides include the continued success of PBGC’s interagency initiative with the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration Regional offices to help reunite participants and beneficiaries with unclaimed pension benefits as well as PBGC’s consolidation of potentially omitted participants case review into PBGC’s Office of Benefits Administration.
The Report also highlights areas where participants and plan sponsors still face challenges when dealing with PBGC. Many of these challenges involve a lack of effective coordination among and between PBGC departments which contributes to confusion and delays in resolving plan sponsor and participant disputes with the agency. Other notable recommendations include issuing guidance so PBGC can pay plan sponsors interest on premium overpayments and increasing oversight of the Office of Benefits Administration’s Field Benefit Administration offices.
The Report also introduces the Office of the Advocate’s new initiative to create a Pension Plan Registry which would provide a tracing service so participants and plan sponsors can track what happened to a pension plan.
For more information, including the Advocate’s comments and recommendations, visit the 2019 Annual Report.