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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

This entry is part of the Director's Hub blog series. You’ll hear from our Director, Tom Reeder, about the importance of preserving pension plans and protecting retirement security. Check out Tom’s bio to learn more about him.

Last month we issued two reports: Projections Report (PDF) and MPRA Report (PDF). Both reports highlight the current financial state of PBGC's insurance programs, and predict future financial conditions. Given both reports' findings, many of you have emailed us and asked, "What does this all mean for PBGC?" More...

Canadian postal workers are scheduled to go on strike July 2, which could affect delivery of pension checks to retirees who receive payments via regular mail living in Canada. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) will mail checks one day early to try to offset any potential delays caused by the strike.

If you have not received your pension check by July 8, please call PBGC's Customer Contact Center at (800) 400-7242 for assistance.

PBGC runs two pension insurance programs: single-employer and multiemployer. While each program is designed to protect pension benefits when plans fail, they differ significantly in the level of benefits guaranteed, the insurable event that triggers the guarantee, and premiums paid by insured plans. The two programs are financially separate.  Assets of one program may not be used to pay obligations of the other.  Here's a deeper look into both programs.

The single-employer program covers pension plans that are sponsored by one employer. The insurable event triggering PBGC's obligation to provide guaranteed benefits is termination of an underfunded plan. This typically happens when the employer sponsoring the plan goes out of business or bankrupt, and can no longer afford to keep the plan going.  When this happens, PBGC takes over the plan's assets, administration and payment of plan benefits (up to the legal limit). More...

This entry is part of the Director's Hub blog series. You’ll hear from our Director, Tom Reeder, about the importance of preserving pension plans and protecting retirement security. Check out Tom’s bio to learn more about him.

The majority of my career has been dedicated to preserving retirement security, particularly helping employers establish and maintain retirement plans. I've gained an appreciation for companies that help their employees prepare for retirement by offering a pension plan, despite the perceived burden of maintaining such a commitment. I've also gained an appreciation for the dedication of federal government staffs in the pension area.

Since joining PBGC in October, I've had the pleasure of working with talented professionals who have one goal—protecting the pensions of the 40 million Americans PBGC serves. The staff at PBGC is dedicated to preserving defined benefit plans and protecting retirement security.More...

PBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 2,700 current and future retirees at Walter Energy Inc., a producer and exporter of coal based in Birmingham, Ala.

The agency is stepping in because Walter Energy plans to sell the majority of its assets in bankruptcy proceedings and the potential buyers have signaled they will not assume the pension plan.

Walter Energy sponsors the Pension Plan for Salaried Employees of Walter Energy Inc. Subsidiaries, Divisions and Affiliates. This plan will end on Dec. 31, 2015. More...

PBGC actuaries completed a study of risk transfer events (RTEs) in pension plans. Risk transfer, also known as "de-risking," is how companies eliminate their pension benefit obligations. In a risk transfer, a company either pays off participants with a lump sum or buys annuities from insurance companies to replace the company pension.

The study looked at patterns in the data on Form 5500s that pension plan sponsors filed with the government from 2009 - 2013. By using those patterns, the actuaries identified companies that had recent risk transfers.

PBGC is interested in these events because:

  • Lower insurance premium payments may affect PBGC's long-term financial condition. 
  • Past risk transfer activity can help project future activity and help PBGC plan for its effects. 
  • Participants may elect to receive lump sums. If so, policy makers will want to ensure they have the correct tools to manage their funds wisely.

More...