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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 86-01 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 82-12 4-7-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-12 Multiemployer, Mass Withdrawal PBGC must be given a multiemployer plan’s notice of merger. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-107 9-7-1975 PBGC Op Let 76-107 Termination, Allocation of assets Allocation of assets of terminating plan otherwise than in accordance with section 4044 is not allowed. Transfer of asset to a defined contribution plan requires that all participants be offered option for immediate receipt of their benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-11 5-11-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-11 Termination, Benefit guarantee PBGC did not guarantee benefits for a terminated plan, the termination of which was done in concert with the establishment of new retirement arrangements designed to provide substantially the same benefits. 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 76-58 4-29-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-58 Coverage, Individual account plan Plan is an Individual account plan and is not a covered plan under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-17 2-5-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-17 Benefit guarantee Discusses benefit guaranty and its limits for a retiree receiving monthly benefits from an ongoing plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-08 4-2-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-8 Reportable events, Employer liability, Successor liability The described spin-off is a reportable event and sales transaction principles apply to the spin-off and transfer transactions. 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 80-14 6-20-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-14 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Forester is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-128 2-4-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-128 Coverage, Substantial owners plan The only participant entitled to be credited with service or receive a benefit under the plan has continuously fallen within the definition of a "substantial owner.” 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-22 9-22-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-22 Restoration Whether the facts of a plan’s intended termination provide that PBGC should restore the plan to its pre-termination date status. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-41 12-16-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-41 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Employer Discusses the definition of “employer” in the context of withdrawal liability and how it applies to a group of trades or businesses under common control; addresses the rules governing partial withdrawals. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-78 12-3-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-78 Premiums A plan that established itself and had its first plan year end on the same day must pay partial premiums for that plan year. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-108 5-14-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-108 Coverage, Individual account plan Individual account plan is exempt from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-04 4-2-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-4 Premiums Participant count is determined as of last day of previous plan year and may not be adjusted for changes that occur during the plan year. 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 77-126 2-3-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-126 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan maintained pursuant to a contract with a federal agency is a Governmental plan exempt from Title IV coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-09 4-6-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-9 Benefit guarantee Employees cease accruing service credit as of date of plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-49 11-10-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-49 Coverage, Professional service employer plan A plan maintained by an actuary with the principal business the performance of actuarial services is a professional service employer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-34 11-10-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-34 Multiemployer, Unfunded vested benefits Under presumptive method, if a plan is fully funded because the value of plan assets never falls below liabilities, the plan would record a zero change in the value of unfunded vested benefits despite fluctuations in unfunded vested benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-05 4-1-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-05 Multiemployer, Reallocation liability, Mass Withdrawal Addresses the relevance of events occurring after a plan’s reallocation record date on the reallocation liability calculation. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-14 11-13-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-14 Coverage, tax qualification Plans that are tax-qualified under IRC 401(a) are covered by Title IV. Plans funded by flexible annuity policies may or may not be designed to achieve a defined benefit objective. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 95-03 12-22-1995 PBGC Op Let 95-03 Multiemployer, Partial Withdrawal Addresses calculation of partial withdrawal credit using the "modified presumptive method" where contributions are averaged over a 10-year period. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-04 3-25-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-4 Premiums A PBGC premium must be paid for a participant in a plan even though no contributions for that participant to the plan are required because of a floor offset arrangement. 2-28-2020