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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.

Titlesort descending Issuance Date Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Date
Opinion Letter 77-163 8-30-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-163 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Licensed clinical laboratory bio-analyst is a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-166 10-7-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-166 Benefit guarantee Because benefit increases became effective through collective bargaining agreements (not specific action by the Board of Trustees), PBGC looks to the adoption and effective dates of those agreements to apply the five-year phase-in rule. 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 77-169 11-28-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-169 Coverage, Governmental plan Participation in a plan maintained by more than one employer, some of which are not governmental entities, precludes the application of the Governmental plan exemption. 2-24-2020
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 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 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 78-14 6-30-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-14 Coverage, Nonresident aliens Plan of an employer located in Canada that is a division of a company incorporated in the US is a foreign plan and is not covered under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-17 7-17-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-17 Coverage, Individual account plan Defined benefit plan was not terminated before enactment of ERISA and is covered by Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-18 8-4-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-18 Benefit guarantee PBGC guaranteed benefits are not impacted by funding difficulties, and an employer is liable to PBGFC to the extent guaranteed benefits exceed plan assets 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-2 2-21-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-2 Allocation of assets, Residual assets Whether the language in a plan document providing for the reversion of residual assets to the employer complies with the law. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-20 9-14-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-20 Benefit guarantee PBGC guarantees basis plan benefits only and does not guarantee the payment of non-basic plan benefits.  2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-21 9-19-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-21 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Embalmer and funeral director is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 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 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 78-25 10-31-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-25 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan is a Governmental plan; water authority created by statute; board appt by town's council, funded by water assessments, fund pays for plan including deficits upon termination, participants are water authority's employees 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 79-05 3-28-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-5 Premiums, due dates The plan must pay premiums to PBGC for annuitants covered by an insurance contract that does not provide for irrevocable commitments to pay the benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-06 4-10-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-6 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan of an entity chartered by the US Congress does not meet the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-07 4-17-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-7 Benefit guarantee $20 minimum in the regulation is not subject to actuarial adjustment for the participant’s age at the time the benefit started. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-08 4-25-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-8 Allocation of assets, Benefits How to determine eligibility for a “Category 3 Benefit,” which is a benefit of a participant who retired, or could have retired, 3 years or more before the plan terminated. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-12 9-19-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-12 Coverage, Professional service employer plan State licensed planner whose company provides consulting services to assist municipal planning boards with development plans, land use studies and housing surveys is a Professional Service Employer and plan is exempt from Title IV coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-13 9-28-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-13 Coverage, Professional service employer plan A plan maintained by a clinical psychologist whose company provides marital and family counseling is a professional service employer plan. 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 80-01 1-10-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-1 Governmental plan, Employer liability State liability with respect to private-sector plans to which employees contribute. 2-28-2020