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Guidance Document Database

The documents listed below are PBGC’s guidance documents. 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.

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.

Title Issuance Datesort ascending Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Date
Opinion Letter 93-03 10-14-1993 PBGC Op Let 93-03 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses which of two limitations on withdrawal liability applies—one applicable to a dissolving or liquidating employer, the other applicable to an employer that sold its assets to an unrelated party—when an employer satisfies the prerequisites for both. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 93-02 7-7-1993 PBGC Op Let 93-02 Multiemployer, Partial Withdrawal Discusses the calculation of partial withdrawal liability following a 70 percent decline in contributions. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 93-01 2-16-1993 PBGC Op Let 93-1 Premiums, Termination The obligation to pay premiums ceases when plan assets are distributed under priority categories 1- 6 without regard to whether there are residual assets. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 92-04 6-18-1992 PBGC Op Let 92-04 Multiemployer, Asset Sale Exception Addresses variances from the bond/escrow and contract-language prerequisites to the asset sale exception to withdrawal. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 92-03 5-1-1992 PBGC Op Let 92-03 Multiemployer, Asset Sale Exception Addresses the bond requirement under section 4204 in the event the seller liquidates or distributes its assets subsequent to the sale. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 92-02 4-22-1992 PBGC Op Let 92-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses the distinction between a non-binding estimated withdrawal liability assessment for informational purposes and an "actual" withdrawal liability assessment. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 92-01 3-30-1992 PBGC Op Let 92-01 Multiemployer, Partial Withdrawal, sale of assets, Controlled groups Addresses the calculation of withdrawal liability in a situation where several members of a controlled group have an obligation to contribute to the same multiemployer pension plan and are sold or liquidated in a series of transactions. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-08 12-9-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-08 Multiemployer, Missing participants, Post-termination Distribution of Assets Addresses post-termination distribution of a multiemployer plan's assets when participants are missing. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-07 10-1-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-07 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses the ability of an employer challenging its withdrawal liability assessment, to raise additional issues for review by the multiemployer plan, or in arbitration, after making its initial submission. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-06 8-19-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-06 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses trustees’ ability to adopt alternative withdrawal liability rules under ERISA sections 4219 and 4224 that modify an employer's withdrawal liability payment terms to take into account an employer's financial condition. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-04 5-3-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-4 Benefits A plan sponsor has no liability for the benefits in a terminated plan that were provided to plan participants through the distribution of irrevocable commitments purchased from an insurance company. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-03 3-29-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-03 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Discusses and compares a seller's withdrawal liability risks and obligations pre-MPPAA and post-MPPAA, and whether an employer's failure to object to an estimate of withdrawal liability (for informational purposes) bars that employer from challenging that underlying estimate upon a subsequent actual assessment of withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-02 2-1-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-02 Multiemployer, Termination, QPSA, MPRA Addresses whether a qualified preretirement survivor annuity is a nonforfeitable benefit where the participant had not died as of the date of plan termination. Under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, a qualified preretirement survivor annuity is not to be treated as forfeitable solely because the participant is alive on the date of multiemployer plan insolvency or termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-01 1-14-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-1 Termination, annuities Once irrevocable commitments are purchased, PBGC no longer guarantees the benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 90-06 10-31-1990 PBGC Op Let 90-6 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Plan meets the Substantial Owner plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 90-05 10-11-1990 PBGC Op Let 90-5 Termination, Benefits, Lump sum PBGC, once it is appointed statutory trustee of a terminated plan, pays lump sums to participants entitled to small benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 90-04 8-3-1990 PBGC Op Let 90-04 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Benefit guarantee Addresses whether interest rate changes subsequent to the mass withdrawal valuation date may be considered in determining the reallocation liability upon a mass withdrawal. It also addresses the burden of proof a multiemployer plan must satisfy to show an amendment increasing benefits was adopted earlier than the formal date of adoption which would make payment of the benefit increase covered by the PBGC guarantee. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 90-03 4-24-1990 PBGC Op Let 09-3 Termination, annuities Once irrevocable commitments are purchased, PBGC no longer guarantees the benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 90-02 4-20-1990 PBGC Op Let 90-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses (1) the calculation of annual withdrawal liability payments where an employer contributes to a multiemployer plan under multiple collective bargaining agreements requiring different contribution rates (the "contract-by-contract" approach); (2) using the contract-by-contract approach to calculate an employer's required contribution rate following plan termination by amendment; (3) whether alternate interest rates may be used to calculate the value of benefits under the plan following a mass withdrawal; (4) the correction of prior errors in valuation when calculating withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 90-01 3-20-1990 PBGC Op Let 90-01 Multiemployer, Asset Sale Exception, Withdrawal Liability, Secondary Liability of seller Addresses whether a withdrawal from a multiemployer plan will be triggered by various circumstances occurring after a 4204 sale of assets such as a second subsequent sale or a change in corporate structure. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-10 12-8-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-10 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Plan does not meet the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. Plan is covered under Title IV because number of active participants exceeds 25. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-09 11-28-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-9 Coverage, Tribal plan Plan does not meet Title IV coverage exemption since activities covered by the plan were off-reservation commercial activities carried on for profit. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-08 10-19-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-08 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses whether an employer may contractually modify its statutory withdrawal liability obligation to a multiemployer plan by assuming "additional liability", and the limitations of such a modification. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-06 8-8-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-6 Coverage, Individual account plan Individual account plan exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-05 8-1-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-05 Multiemployer, Termination, Withdrawal Liability This opinion letter addresses whether an QPSAs and other benefits are nonforfeitable after termination of a multiemployer plan such that they should be considered in determining withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020