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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 86-24 10-31-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-24 Multiemployer, Unfunded vested benefits, Withdrawal Liability Addresses (1) whether vested ancillary benefits may be included in the calculation of unfunded vested benefits; (2) the meaning of "nonforfeitable benefit"; (3) what actuarial assumptions may be used to calculate unfunded vested benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-23 10-15-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-23 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Withdrawal Liability Addresses abatement when a contributing employer withdraws and then acquires a division of a company that contributions to the same plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-22 10-14-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-22 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Provides that PBGC approval is not required for a multiemployer plan to adopt a different statutory allocation method for unfunded vested benefits. However, PBGC approval is required for the adoption of an alternative allocation method (i.e. any method other than the four statutory methods). 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-20 9-29-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-20 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses abatement rules for employers that reenter a multiemployer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-21 9-29-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-21 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses (1) how withdrawal liability should be assessed when the contributing employer is a partnership, and (2) whether an employer continues to perform work of the type and jurisdiction covered by a collective bargaining agreement for purposes of determining whether a withdrawal has occurred. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-17 8-13-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-17 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Partial Withdrawal Addresses whether a partial withdrawal occurs when an employer outsources work to a third party. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-14 6-26-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-14 Successor liability A plan was not a successor plan to another plan, because both plans existed during the same plan year. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-12 5-23-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-12 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Partial Withdrawal Addresses calculation of the annual withdrawal liability payment amount of an employer that incurred successive partial withdrawals. PBGC subsequently adopted a rule addressing the issue. (See 29 CFR part 4206.) 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-11 5-13-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-11 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Overpayment of withdrawal liability Addresses whether a withdrawal liability overpayment must be refunded by a multiemployer plan sponsor to an employer where the plan sponsor subsequently discovers the underlying calculation error and the employer had failed to initiate the plan review and arbitration process. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-09 4-10-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-9 Plans covered, Benefit guarantee, Successor liability Plans found not to be successor plans where there is a clear delineation of separate plans maintained by separate employers with the phase-in of guaranteed benefits beginning at the later of the adoption date or effective date of each plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-10 4-10-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-10 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Joint employers Addresses calculation of withdrawal liability for a "joint employer” that is no longer required to contribute. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-08 3-24-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-8 Employer, Controlled groups Addresses the proper method for determining withdrawal liability when the liable employer is a group of trades or businesses under common control within the meaning of section 4001. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-07 3-24-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-07 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses whether a union decertification can cause a withdrawal. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-06 3-11-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-06 Multiemployer, sale of assets Considers the timing of the bond/escrow requirement in a sale of assets and requests that PBGC grant a waiver of the bond/escrow and contract language requirements. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-05 3-6-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-05 Multiemployer, Allocation of assets Addresses the transfer of surplus assets to another trust after plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-04 2-28-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-04 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Withdrawal Addresses the determination of an employer's withdrawal date when the employer ceases to contribute because of a strike and is covered by the labor dispute exemption until a subsequent plan year when the labor dispute exemption expires. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-03 2-14-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-3 Allocation of assets, Residual assets PBGC cannot approve a transaction that would allow an employer to recover excess assets without termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-02 1-31-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Pre-MPPAA withdrawals Addresses a question as to what constitutes a facility for purposes of determining what CBUs get excluded due to a pre-1980 closure of a facility. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-01 1-15-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-1 Plan termination; Valuation of plan benefits Discusses PBGC’s interpretation of the present value of the normal form of benefit provided by the plan payable at normal retirement age. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-32 12-31-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-32 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses whether an employer that has withdrawn from a multiemployer plan may be relieved of withdrawal liability by a subsequent sale of assets. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-31 12-30-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-31 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Asset Sale Exception Addresses the bond / escrow requirements of section 4204 of ERISA which, if satisfied along with the other 4204 requirements, mean that a sale of assets by a contributing employer will not constitute a withdrawal from a multiemployer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-30 12-9-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-30 Multiemployer, Termination, Reciprocity agreement A terminated multiemployer plan cannot transfer assets and liabilities to other multiemployer plans pursuant to reciprocity agreement. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-29 12-5-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-29 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Controlled groups, Avoidance transactions Addresses whether certain corporate transactions would trigger withdrawals and discusses whether these corporate transactions may be disregarded under the evade or avoid provision of the law. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-27 12-2-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-27 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Pre-MPPAA withdrawals Discusses how pre-MPPAA withdrawals affect the calculation of the annual withdrawal liability payment. 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