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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 ascending
Opinion Letter 95-02 8-18-1995 PBGC Op Let 95-02 Multiemployer, Construction industry Addresses the interpretation of the special rule for partial withdrawals for certain employers and plans in the building and construction industry. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-04 5-3-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-4 Benefits A plan sponsor has no liability for the benefits in a terminated plan that were provided to plan participants through the distribution of irrevocable commitments purchased from an insurance company. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-07 4-2-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-7 Benefit guarantee, tax qualification, Coverage Following a restructuring of three pension plans maintained by one company, each restructured plan remains a Title IV covered plan, each plan qualifies as a successor plan, and the plan sponsor would be liable to PBGC for any funding deficiency at termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-15 6-20-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-15 Coverage, Professional service employer plan River pilot is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer exemption. 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 74-18 12-5-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-18 Coverage, tax qualification Plan that is tax-qualified under IRC 401(a) is covered by Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 96-02 7-8-1996 PBGC Op Let 96-2 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan does not meet the Governmental plan exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-06 2-1-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-6 Premiums Each plan of an employer is obligated to pay premiums to PBGC when an individual participant actively earns service credit in multiple plans of the employer. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-74 6-3-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-74 Coverage Plan is not an individual account plan. Plan is not be exempt from Title IV coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-17 8-1-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-17 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Pending regulations, plans have the ability to adopt reasonable rules to abate an employer’s withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 87-04 2-26-1987 PBGC Op Let 87-4 Termination, Suspension For PBGC to suspend a plan termination, PBGC must be advised timely and in writing that a formal challenge has been initiated asserting that the termination violates an existing collective bargaining agreement. 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 77-152 7-13-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-152 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan of municipal corporation designated by constitution as political subdivision of state and having taxing power is a Governmental plan exempt under ERISA 4021(b)(2). 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 82-33 10-28-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-33 Multiemployer, Definition of For a chain of food stores, a single store is ordinarily a “facility” for purposes of section 4217 of ERISA. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-19 7-21-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-19 Multiemployer, Termination When a defined benefit multiemployer plan merges into a defined contribution annuity plan, the multiemployer plan terminates; addresses the rules and procedures governing distribution of the assets of a terminated multiemployer plan. 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 77-150 7-1-1977 PBGC Op let 77-150 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Analytical chemistry is a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-17 6-10-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-17 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses whether a seller and purchaser can retroactively bring a sale of assets within the coverage of the law by posting an appropriate bond and by amending the sales contract. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 87-05 7-19-1987 PBGC Op Let 87-05 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Construction industry Addresses the definition of withdrawal for a construction industry employer. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-39 10-8-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-39 Coverage, Substantial owners plan A plan maintained exclusively for substantial owners is exempt from coverage under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-09 4-5-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-9 Allocation of assets, Residual assets, Termination The purchase of participating group annuity contracts to satisfy all accrued benefits with a termination/reestablishment transaction of a plan is permissible. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-21 7-27-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-21 Multiemployer, Withdrawal, Strikes and lockouts Addresses whether certain types of labor disputes involving an employer’s employees would constitute a withdrawal from a multiemployer plan and specifically cites strikes and lockouts as examples. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-02 1-27-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-2 Multiemployer, Withdrawal, Partial Withdrawal Addresses what may constitute a complete or partial withdrawal from a multiemployer plan as a result of certain events occurring during contract negotiations; addresses the labor dispute exemption from withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-33 9-22-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-33 Multiemployer, Construction industry Addresses the definition of “building and construction industry” and explains that the term should be given the same meaning as it has under the Taft-Hartley Act. 2-28-2020