The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal government agency that protects the pension benefits of about 41 million American workers and retirees in about 24,000 active private sector defined benefit pension plans under the terms of Title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 1301-1461. In addition, PBGC has taken responsibility for paying the benefits of about 1.5 million workers and retirees covered by more than 4,000 terminated plans (both single-employer and multiemployer) and more than 100 multiemployer plans that currently or will require PBGC assistance to pay their benefits. Single-employer plans generally are maintained by one employer or by a group of companies under common control. Multiemployer plans generally are maintained by two or more unrelated companies under collective bargaining agreements with one or more unions.
PBGC is committed to providing individuals with access to our programs and services, regardless of their ability to communicate in English. We do not require individuals who need language assistance to provide their own interpreters; rather, we provide an interpreter free of charge to any individual requesting or otherwise requiring language assistance. Generally such service is provided by PBGC employees, particularly for Spanish-speaking individuals. However, PBGC does make use of contracted interpretation services when necessary.
Eligible Service Population
There are several discrete populations within which PBGC is most likely to contact individuals requiring language assistance. These include:
- Workers, retirees, and beneficiaries who are pension plan participants - about 44 million
- Premium payers (PBGC-insured pension plans) - about 27,500
- Pension practitioners (attorneys, accountants, actuaries)
Of these three groups, only a small proportion of pension plan participants face barriers because of their limited English proficiency; premium payers and pension practitioners generally do not have difficulty with English.
Number or Proportion of LEP Individuals
In PBGC’s experience, less than 5 percent of all contacts (whether by telephone, e-mail, or correspondence) involve individuals who require language assistance. Virtually all of such contacts come from pension plan participants, and Spanish speakers dominate these contacts. Occasionally, PBGC comes across a pension plan in which Spanish-speaking participants account for most or all of the participants but generally they are a small minority if any exist at all. Much less frequently, we are contacted by people who require assistance in a language other than Spanish; the most common such languages are Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), French and Portuguese.
Frequency of Contact with the Program
PBGC's eligible service population does not have constant contact with PBGC's program. Rather, the contact occurs because of specific (and sporadic) events such as a plan's termination and trusteeship, or the participant's application for retirement benefits.
Nature and Importance of the Program
The guaranteed pension benefits that PBGC pays to our eligible service population are typically a significant portion of their retirement income. Thus, access to our insurance program is very important to most of the people we serve, and inaccessibility could cause severe hardship both immediately and in the long-term.
PBGC has the resources necessary to give people needing language assistance meaningful access to its programs.
» Currently Available Resources: The following services are now available to assist people with limited English proficiency:
- PBGC's Benefits Administration and Payment Department has a Foreign Language Services unit that coordinates the delivery of services in Spanish and any other language needed. The staff of the unit is fluent in Spanish and provides in-house translation services in that language, and they have contracted with an outside firm for assistance in other languages;
- The contracted service provides on-call interpretation and translation when needed, and it is quickly available to anyone within PBGC who needs this assistance to communicate with someone with limited English proficiency. The contracted firm can translate up to 147 different languages during phone calls. Through this contract, PBGC can also translate any written documents or prepare replies in another language.
- PBGC's Customer Contact Center for pension plan participants (1-800-400-7242) has a recorded message in Spanish and gives the caller the option of speaking with a Spanish-speaking representative, along with interactive response options in Spanish. The contact center is staffed with representatives trained to handle language assistance situations, including Spanish-speaking representatives, and they have access to the contracted service provider (described above) to handle inquiries in any language other than Spanish;
- Customer Contact Center letters confirming a participant's request, for example, to change the participant's address, now are all available in Spanish;
- All form letters, whether a general one discussing PBGC’s trusteeship of a plan or a specific one discussing a participant's guaranteed benefit, have been translated into Spanish, all forms used for benefit administration have been translated into Spanish, and they can all be translated into other languages if needed; PBGC’s correspondence with participants also includes a paragraph in Spanish alerting the recipient that all such correspondence is available fully translated into Spanish;
- All PBGC's principal publications for participants are published in Spanish, including its separate newsletters for current and future retirees in plans for which PBGC has taken responsibility. PBGC also includes a notice in Spanish in each English edition of these newsletters informing readers that the full newsletter and other PBGC materials are also available in Spanish;
- PBGC also has translated into Spanish a “Welcome to PBGC” DVD that it provides to participants in plans newly taken over by PBGC;
- PBGC's Appeals Board can accept and docket timely appeals received in Spanish and can translate Appeals Board decisions (always in English) to Spanish upon request.
» Resources Available in the Future: The following services will be available in Spanish:
- Significantly expanded content on the website. PBGC is translating its “New to PBGC” page and much of the content available from that page, including its Glossary and contact information
How to Obtain Assistance from PBGC: People who will need language assistance in communicating with PBGC may obtain it by:
- Calling or writing to PBGC’s Customer Contact Center. The contact center may be reached by calling 1-800-400-7242 (TTY/ASCII (American Standard Code of Information Interchange): call 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 1-800-400-7242), sending an email to email@example.com, or writing to PBGC, PO Box 151750, Alexandria, VA 22315-1750;
- Sending an email to Translation Services
[Spanish] Cómo obtener asistencia de la PBGC: Las personas que necesiten asistencia con el idioma para comunicarse con la PBGC pueden obtenerla de la siguiente manera:
- Puede llamar o escribir al Centro de Contacto al Cliente de PBGC. Para comunicarse con el Centro de Contacto llame al 1-800-400-7242 (TTY/ASCII: llame al 1-800-877-8339 y pida que lo comuniquen con el 1-800-400-7242), puede enviar un correo electrónico a firstname.lastname@example.org, o escribir a PBGC, PO Box 151750, Alexandria, VA 22315-1750;
- Puede enviar un correo electrónico a Translation Services
[Brazilian Portuguese] Como obter assistência da PBGC: as pessoas que necessitem assistência com idioma para comunicação com a PBGC podem:
- Ligar ou escrever para o Centro de Contato com o Cliente da PBGC, pelo telefone 1-800-400-7242 (TTY/ASCII: ligue para 1-800-877-8339 e peça para ser conectado com 1-800-400-7242), envie email para email@example.com, ou escreva para PBGC, PO Box 151750, Alexandria, VA 22315-1750;
- Envie um email para Translation Services
[Continental Portuguese] Como obter assistência da PBGC: As pessoas que necessitem de assistência linguística nas suas comunicações com a PBGC, poderão obtê-la:
- Ligando ou escrevendo para o Centro de Apoio ao Cliente da PBGC. O centro de apoio ao cliente pode ser alcançado através do número 1-800-400-7242 (TTY/ASCII: ligar para o 1-800-877-8339 e solicitar a ligação ao 1-800-400-7242), enviando um e-mail para firstname.lastname@example.org, ou escrevendo para PBGC, PO Box 151750, Alexandria, VA 22315-1750;
- Enviando um e-mail para Translation Services
[Continental French] Comment obtenir de l’aide du PBGC: Les personnes ayant besoin d’assistance linguistique au cours des communications avec le PBGC peuvent l’obtenir en:
- Appelant ou en écrivant au Centre du Service clientèle du PBGC, le Service clientèle peut être contacté en appelant au 1-800-400-7242 (TTY/ASCII : appelez le 1-800-877-8339 et demandez qu’on vous connecte au 1-800-400-7242), envoyez un mail à email@example.com, ou écrivez au PBGC, BP 151750, Alexandrie, VA 22315-1750;
- Envoyant un mail à Translation Services
[French Canadian] Comment obtenir de l'assistance de la part de PBGC: Les personnes ayant besoin d'aide linguistique pour communiquer avec PBCG peuvent l'obtenir en:
- Appelant ou écrivant le Centre de Service à la Clientèle de PBGC. Le Centre de Service à la Clientèle peut être joint au numéro 1-800-400-7542 (TTY/ASCII: appelez 1-800-877-8339 et demandez d'être connecte à 1-800-400-7242, ou en envoyant un e-mail à firstname.lastname@example.org, ou en écrivant a PBGD, PO Box 151750, Alexandria, VA 22315-1750;
- Envoyant un e-mail a Translation Services
[Traditional Chinese] 如何獲取 PBGC 的協助：與 PBGC 溝通時需要語言協助的人士可以透過以下方式獲取協助：
- 致電或寄信給 PBGC 的客戶聯絡中心C 如需致電聯絡中心，撥打 1-800-400-7242（聽障/語障人士專線：撥打 1-800-877-8339，然後要求轉接至 1-800-400-7242）、傳送電子郵件至 email@example.com，或寄信給 PBGC（地址：PO Box 151750, Alexandria, VA 22315-1750；
- 傳送電子郵件至 Translation Services
[Simplified Chinese] 如何获得 PBGC 的协助：与 PBGC 沟通时需要语言方面的协助的人可通过以下方式申请：
- 致电或发函至 PBGC 的客户联络中心C 如需联系联络中心，您可拨打 1-800-400-7242（听说障碍专用电话：请致电 1-800-877-8339 并要求转接至 1-800-400-7242），发送电子邮件至 firstname.lastname@example.org 或发函至 PBGC（信箱号：151750，弗吉尼亚州亚历山大里亚市，邮编 22315-1750；
- 发送电子邮件至 Translation Services
[Cantonese] 點樣獲取 PBGC 嘅協助： 同 PBGC 溝通嘅時候需要語言協助嘅人士可以透過以下方式獲取協助：