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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 Date Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Datesort descending
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 78-24 10-27-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-24 Benefit guarantee A death benefit is not a pension benefit and as such is treated as a liability before plan termination and must be deducted from the plan’s available assets. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-93 7-23-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-93 Disability benefits Disability benefits that become payable after the date of plan termination are not guaranteed. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-136 3-29-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-136 Benefit guarantee, Disability benefits Disability benefits guaranteed where participants satisfied plan conditions necessary to receive the benefit before the date of plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-168 10-27-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-168 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Employer’s principal business is the installation of cathodic protection systems, employer is not a Professional Service Employer and plan is covered under Title IV. 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 75-46 9-23-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-46 Coverage, Governmental plan A plan sponsored by a political subdivision that has taxing power is excluded from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-60 4-30-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-60 Residual assets Any amendment to a terminating or terminated plan to allow a return of excess plan assets to the employer conflicts with direct statutory provisions and legislative intent. 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 81-08 4-17-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-8 Termination, Coverage A plan did not properly terminate and does not fit the exemption from Title IV coverage for plans that do not provide for employer contributions. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-140 4-15-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-140 Coverage, Governmental plan Plans maintained by instrumentalities of the Federal government are exempt from coverage under the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 87-02 1-28-1987 PBGC Op Let 87-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses the definition of the term “assets” for the purpose of the sale-of-assets exception to withdrawal. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-104 7-8-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-104 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 94-06 9-28-1994 PBGC Op Let 94-6 Plan administrator, Premiums Discusses the conditions under which a plan administrator would be subject to personal liability to cover unpaid premiums. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-15 11-15-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-15 Coverage; Guarantee phase-in A successor plan’s tax-qualified status cannot be attributed to another, non-qualified plan, and the phase-in of PBGC’s guarantee begins only when the plan is covered. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-13 6-10-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-13 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Construction industry Addresses the definition of the term "building and construction industry" for purposes of the construction industry exception to withdrawal. 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 83-11 5-16-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-11 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Addresses whether an employer who contributes to a multiemployer plan withdraws from the plan as a consequence of forming a wholly owned subsidiary which assumes all of its obligations to the plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-23 8-14-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-23 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan meets the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-21 8-26-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-21 Termination, Implementation Guidelines Implementation Guidelines do not apply to split-up of pension plan, with subsequent termination of one plan and reversion of excess assets. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-86 6-25-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-86 Coverage, Individual account plan Plan is not an Individual account. Plan is not exempt from Title IV coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-10 11-8-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-10 Premiums Premiums may be paid from the plan's assets or the employer's assets. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 84-06 10-25-1984 PBGC Op Let 84-6 Termination Denies a Notice of Intent to Terminate on the basis that the plan did not intend to provide for annuity purchase for actives, instead spinning them off into a new plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-09 3-26-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-09 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Construction industry Addresses the definition of the term "building and construction industry" for purposes of the construction industry exception to withdrawal. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-23 3-11-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-23 Benefit guarantee Addresses ambiguities and how PBGC will resolve them in the application of the phase-in of guaranteed benefits. 2-28-2020