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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 Identifiersort ascending Topics Summary Posted Date
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 91-03 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 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 90-02 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 89-09 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 89-06 8-8-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-6 Coverage, Individual account plan Individual account plan exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-10 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 89-01 2-8-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-1 Asset reversion PBGC’s position requiring distribution of assets as soon as practicable after PBGC’s 60-day review does not apply to surplus assets when there is a dispute concerning distribution. 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 89-05 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
Opinion Letter 89-03 4-18-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-03 Multiemployer, Mass Withdrawal, Reallocation liability Addresses whether, based on an employer's date of withdrawal, that employer is subject to reallocation liability in the event of a mass withdrawal termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-02 2-14-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Reciprocity agreement Addresses (1) whether transfers of contributions between multiemployer plans under a reciprocity agreement are covered by rules on transfers of assets; and (2) whether a reciprocity agreement can create withdrawal liability obligations. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-09 12-6-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-9 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Original plan is a Title IV covered plan. Successor plan is also a Title IV covered plan. Successor plan does not qualify as an exempt plan under the Professional Service plan exemption even though successor plan has fewer than 25 employees. 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
Opinion Letter 88-10 12-12-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-10 Benefit guarantee PBGC recognizes pension credits for discharged employees found to have been illegal discharged and reinstated for the period after the illegal discharge and ending with the date of plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-08 5-2-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-08 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Withdrawal, Construction industry Addresses determining the date of a construction industry employer's withdrawal from a multiemployer plan in the context of a labor dispute. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-07 5-2-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-07 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses the “unrelated party” requirement for the sale of assets exception to withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-06 4-1-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-06 Multiemployer, Bargaining representative Addresses the required transfer of assets and benefit liabilities following a change in the collective bargaining representative of a group of employees who then participate in another multiemployer plan. 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 88-03 3-22-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-03 Multiemployer, Plan amendment Addresses the legal effect of PBGC approval of a multiemployer plan amendment. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-02 3-22-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets, Construction industry Addresses applicability to construction industry employers of the sale-of-assets limitation on withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020