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This page has not been translated. Please go to's Spanish home page for more information available in Spanish.

Esta página no ha sido traducida. Por favor vaya a la página principal del sitio de español de PBGC para ver información disponible en español.

Language access plan for individuals with Limited English Proficiency

PBGC translates all incoming customer mail if received in a language other than English.

Customers do not need to translate documents before sending them to PBGC.

PBGC Assistance in Other Languages


The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal government agency that protects the pension benefits of over 31 million workers and retirees in 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. PBGC insures two types of defined-benefit pension plans in two separate insurance programs: The single-employer insurance program and multiemployer insurance program.

PBGC pays monthly retirement benefits, up to the limits set by law, to nearly 920,000 retirees in over 5,000 single-employer plans. PBGC provides traditional financial assistance through loans to failed multiemployer plans so that the plans can pay benefits, up to legal limits, to 80,421 retirees in 100 plans.

PBGC is committed to helping individuals gain access to our programs and services, regardless of their ability to communicate in English. We provide an interpreter free of charge to any individual who requires language assistance. We have Spanish-speaking employees in our Customer Contact Center, and we make use of contracted interpretation services over the phone when Spanish-speaking employees are not available and for speakers of other languages.


Language Access is ensured by Executive Order 13166, Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency (August 16, 2000), which requires federal agencies to guarantee meaningful access to federal programs and activities for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). Agencies are asked to examine their services and develop and implement a system by which persons with limited English proficiency can access services consistent with, and without improperly burdening the fundamental mission of the agency. Additional federal guidance is provided by the following executive orders: 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (January 20, 2021); 14031, Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (May 28, 2021), and 14091, Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Under Served Communities through the Federal Government (February 16, 2023).

Eligible service population

PBGC serves several discrete populations:

  • Pension plan participants (workers, retirees, and beneficiaries who are eligible to receive a pension benefit)
  • Premium payers (administrators of PBGC-insured pension plans)
  • Pension practitioners (attorneys, accountants, actuaries)

Although most pension plan participants do not face barriers because of limited English proficiency, those PBGC customers who do have limited English are found among this group. Premium payers and pension practitioners generally do not have difficulty with English.

Number or proportion of LEP individuals

In PBGC’s experience, fewer than 5 percent of all contacts (whether by telephone, email, or correspondence) involve individuals who require language assistance. Virtually all such contacts come from pension plan participants, the vast majority of them Spanish speakers. Much less frequently, we are contacted by people who require assistance in a language other than Spanish. Such languages are Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, Polish, Italian, Haitian Creole, Thai, Greek, French, and Portuguese, among others.

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

Recipients of PBGC benefits typically rely on those benefits for a large portion of their retirement income, so access to our insurance program is very important to them. Lack of access could cause severe hardship.

Resources available

PBGC has the resources necessary to ensure that people who need language assistance have meaningful access to its programs. The following services are now available to assist people with limited English proficiency (LEP):

  • PBGC has a Spanish language website with 141 pages that offer information to PBGC participants.
  • PBGC's Office of Benefits Administration has a Foreign Language Services unit that coordinates the delivery of services in Spanish and other languages. The unit has a Spanish-speaking staff and contracts with outside translators to provide spoken and written assistance in more than 150 languages. The contracted service provides on-call interpretation that is quickly available to PBGC staff who needs to communicate with someone with limited English proficiency.
  • 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.
  • PBGC’s Customer Contact Center can use telephone interpreter services to communicate with customers who wish to speak to us in a foreign language. Customers can request an interpreter, who will be added to the telephone conversation right away.
  • All PBGC forms, letters are available and sent in Spanish to participants who have specified Spanish as their preferred language.
  • Participants who wish to receive correspondence in a language other than English may designate their language preference with the Customer Contact Center.
  • PBGC letters, forms, and enclosures can be requested in languages other than English. PBGC will use its contracted vendor to translate letters, forms, and enclosures, as well as prepare replies in foreign languages.
  • PBGC's Appeals Board can consider timely appeals received in Spanish and on request translate Appeals Board decisions (always in English) into Spanish.
  • The contracted firm has interpreters available in 150 different languages.

How to obtain assistance from PBGC

People who need language assistance in communicating with PBGC may:

  • Call or write to PBGC’s Customer Contact Center. The contact center may be reached by calling 1-800-400-7242. TTY/ASCII users may call 711.
  • Send an email to
  • Write to PBGC, PO Box 151750, Alexandria, VA 22315-1750

Future development of an enhanced language access plan

Executive Order 13166 requires federal agencies to ensure meaningful access to federal programs for persons with limited English proficiency. Specifically, the executive order requires all federal agencies to examine the services they provide and “develop and implement a system by which limited English proficiency persons can meaningfully access those services consistent with, and without unduly burdening, the fundamental mission of the agency.” On November 21, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requested all agencies to implement Executive Order 13166 by providing an updated language access plan.

To comply with Executive Order 133166 and the DOJ implementation recommendations, PBGC expects to draft a revised language access plan during fiscal year 2024.

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