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Requesting a Summary Plan Description

PBGC has agreed to take ownership of copies of summary plan descriptions (SPDs) filed from 1975 to 1991 and make those SPDs available upon request.  Requests will be handled by PBGC's Standard Termination and Compliance Division. We expect requests to come from other government agencies, plan and participant advocacy groups such as the Pension Counseling Projects and AARP, or from the general public. Below are some frequently asked questions about requesting a summary plan description. 

What is a Summary Plan Description? 

The Summary Plan Description, or SPD, is the main vehicle for communicating plan rights and obligations to participants and beneficiaries. As the name suggests, it is a summary of the material provisions of the plan document that tells participants what benefits the plan provides and how it operates. It provides information on when an employee can begin to participate in the plan, how service and benefits are calculated, when benefits become vested, when and in what form benefits are paid, and how to file a claim for benefits.

Who may request a Summary Plan Description from PBGC?

PBGC will accept a request for a Summary Plan Description from:

  • Other government agencies
  • Plan and participant advocacy groups such as the Pension Rights Center and AARP
  • General public

What types of plans may I request a Summary Plan Description for?

You may request a Summary Plan Description for:

  • A Defined Benefit Plan
  • A Defined Contribution Plan

Is it important that I have the EIN/PN (Employer Identification Number/Plan Number) of the plan I am requesting a Summary Plan Description for?

Yes.  Without the EIN/PN it is difficult for PBGC to locate the Summary Plan Description you are requesting.

What will PBGC do if I do not have the EIN/PN?

PBGC will attempt to identify the EIN/PN of the plan you are requesting the Summary Plan Description for.  We will not be able to process your request if we cannot identify the EIN/PN.

How long after making the request may I expect to receive the Summary Plan Description?

If you provide the correct EIN/PN, PBGC will attempt to provide the requested information within 15 days of receiving the request.

If you do not provide the EIN/PN, it may take up to 30 days to provide the information.

How may I follow up on a request for a Summary Plan Description?

You may call PBGC at 1-800-400-7242 and ask to be connected to the Processing and Technical Assistance Branch of the Standard Termination Compliance Division.  The Employee Benefits Law Specialist on phone duty will assist you with your inquiry.

How may I request a Summary Plan Description from PBGC?

Please download and complete the Summary Plan Description form (Microsoft Word or PDF). You may submit your request:

  • By mail:

    Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation 
    Standard Termination Compliance Division 
    Processing and Technical Assistance Branch 
    445 12th Street SW 
    Washington, DC 20024-2101

  • By email:
  • By fax: (202) 229-4001
Last Updated:

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