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Guidance Document Database

The documents listed below are PBGC’s guidance documents, as defined by EO 13891, sec. 2(b), see Federal Register Notice. The contents of these documents do not have the force and effect of law, unless expressly authorized by statute or incorporated into a contract, and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These documents are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. PBGC will only cite, use, or rely on any guidance that is not posted in this database to establish historical facts.

If you would like to request the withdrawal or modification of an existing guidance document, please submit your request, including your contact information, to the General Counsel at or at Regulatory Affairs Division, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Office of the General Counsel, 1200 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005–4026. For additional information, see PBGC’s procedures for guidance documents.

Title Issuance Date Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Date
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders and PBGC 2-1-2019 PBGC Web 011 Domestic Relations Orders General information on submitting domestic relations orders to PBGC after PBGC becomes trustee of a terminated pension plan and the procedures PBGC follows to determine whether an order is a qualified domestic relations order 2-28-2020
FOIA 12-16-2019 PBGC Web 015 Freedom of Information Act PBGC’s Freedom of Information Act Guide 2-28-2020
Frequently Asked Questions About ERISA 4062(e) 12-6-2019 PBGC Web 002 Substantial cessation of operations Answers common questions on liability and notice requirements following a substantial cessation of operations. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-38 11-18-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-38 Termination Initial determination that notice of intent to terminate not valid where not issued by plan administrator, where company argued it was de facto plan administrator but plan clearly identified board to be created as plan administrator. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 84-05 5-21-1984 PBGC Op Let 84-05 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets States the conditions that must be met for the sale of assets exception to withdrawal liability to apply; buyer did not comply with the bond/escrow and sale contract requirements. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-106 11-14-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-106 Coverage, Individual account plan Plan is not an Individual account plan because it does not provide for individual accounts for each participant. Plan is covered under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-20 7-27-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-20 Multiemployer A letter of credit can satisfy the bond or escrow requirement of the trucking industry exemption from withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-25 10-11-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-25 Asset reversion, Termination Implementation guidelines do not generally apply to a transfer of assets from a single-employer plan to a multiemployer plan, followed by the termination of the single-employer plan, but because plan termination is a prerequisite to a reversion of plan assets to an employer, PBGC will not recognize a plan termination when it is intended as a means to recover surplus plan assets without satisfying termination requirements. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-161 8-30-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-161 Allocation of assets, Substantial owners plan A proposal to allocate post termination gains in plan assets to increase a participant’s benefits is not permissible. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-131 2-11-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-131 Employer liability PBGC examines financial information of an employer and all trades or businesses under the same common control to assess the employer’s hardship or necessity for deferred payments to meet liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 97-01 5-5-1997 PBGC Op Let 97-01 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses whether foreign entities that are part of a controlled group are jointly liable for withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-26 11-22-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-26 Benefit guarantee Employees that are eligible for retirement but continue to work for a new employer after a company purchases it are not treated as retirees. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-10 6-22-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-10 Employer liability, Successor liability Whether an employer that purchased a division of another company and rehired its employees would be treated as a successor corporation and assume liability for existing plans. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-20 1-24-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-20 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Licensed veterinarians are “licensed practitioners of the healing arts” for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-05 11-8-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-5 Coverage, Individual account plan Profit sharing plan is an Individual account plan which is exempt from coverage under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-04 1-25-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-4 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Dispute Resolution Validity of demand for withdrawal liability is subject to arbitration. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-26 10-31-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-26 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan maintained by a Council created by a state statute meets the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-16 6-8-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-16 Coverage, tax qualification A retirement arrangement is not covered plan under Title IV because it is not tax qualified. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-01 1-4-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-01 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses interest factors applicable to withdrawal liability installments paid other than quarterly.  Corrected by Opinion Letter 85-18. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-103 8-23-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-103 Benefit guarantee, Death benefits PBGC’s position on guaranty of death benefit. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-171 12-16-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-171 Coverage, Plan that has not provided for employer contributions Funds contributed to a plan whether paid directly by the local union maintaining it or indirectly through deductions from membership dues are employer contributions and the plan is covered under Title IV 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-27 8-28-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-27 Multiemployer, Bargaining representative Addresses the special rules governing a transfer between multiemployer plans where an employer withdraws from a plan because the union bargaining with that employer has been changed as a result of the certification of a different union. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 87-08 8-14-1987 PBGC Op Let 87-08 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses whether a contributing employer to a multiemployer plan withdraws by subcontracting out its work to another contributing employer such that contributions are unaffected. 2-21-2020
Opinion Letter 78-1 1-5-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-1 Coverage, Church plans; Premiums Church plan status is determined by the IRS, must get an IRS ruling on church plan status. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-09 1-14-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-9 Controlled groups Discusses considerations PBGC would apply in determining whether parent-subsidiary group created a single plan or multiple separate plans managed under a single trust. 2-28-2020