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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 86-11 5-13-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-11 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Overpayment of withdrawal liability Addresses whether a withdrawal liability overpayment must be refunded by a multiemployer plan sponsor to an employer where the plan sponsor subsequently discovers the underlying calculation error and the employer had failed to initiate the plan review and arbitration process. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-10 4-10-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-10 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Joint employers Addresses calculation of withdrawal liability for a "joint employer” that is no longer required to contribute. 2-28-2020
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 86-07 3-24-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-07 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses whether a union decertification can cause a withdrawal. 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 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 86-04 2-28-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-04 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Withdrawal Addresses the determination of an employer's withdrawal date when the employer ceases to contribute because of a strike and is covered by the labor dispute exemption until a subsequent plan year when the labor dispute exemption expires. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-02 1-31-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Pre-MPPAA withdrawals Addresses a question as to what constitutes a facility for purposes of determining what CBUs get excluded due to a pre-1980 closure of a facility. 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 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 85-07 3-4-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-7 Allocation of assets, Residual assets Termination is not subject to the spin-off/termination requirements of the implementation guidelines involving asset reversions since no assets will revert to the plan sponsor. 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 85-32 12-31-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-32 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses whether an employer that has withdrawn from a multiemployer plan may be relieved of withdrawal liability by a subsequent sale of assets. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-31 12-30-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-31 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Asset Sale Exception Addresses the bond / escrow requirements of section 4204 of ERISA which, if satisfied along with the other 4204 requirements, mean that a sale of assets by a contributing employer will not constitute a withdrawal from a multiemployer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-30 12-9-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-30 Multiemployer, Termination, Reciprocity agreement A terminated multiemployer plan cannot transfer assets and liabilities to other multiemployer plans pursuant to reciprocity agreement. 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 85-27 12-2-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-27 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Pre-MPPAA withdrawals Discusses how pre-MPPAA withdrawals affect the calculation of the annual withdrawal liability payment. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-26 11-22-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-26 Benefit guarantee Employees that are eligible for retirement but continue to work for a new employer after a company purchases it are not treated as retirees. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-25 10-11-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-25 Asset reversion, Termination Implementation guidelines do not generally apply to a transfer of assets from a single-employer plan to a multiemployer plan, followed by the termination of the single-employer plan, but because plan termination is a prerequisite to a reversion of plan assets to an employer, PBGC will not recognize a plan termination when it is intended as a means to recover surplus plan assets without satisfying termination requirements. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-24 10-3-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-24 Multiemployer, Termination, annuities PBGC will not insure annuities purchased by a terminated multiemployer plan and PBGC is not authorized to pay benefits when a non-insolvent multiemployer plan terminates. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-23 9-12-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-23 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Provides that a multiemployer plan may not declare an employer to be in default during the statutory 90-day period within which the employer may request review of a withdrawal liability assessment. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-22 9-11-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-22 Multiemployer, Reciprocity agreement Addresses whether a reciprocity agreement operates to impose on certain employers and defined contribution pension plans the minimum contribution requirements or the withdrawal liability provisions of the law. 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 85-20 8-2-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-20 Multiemployer, Asset Sale Exception Addresses bond waivers and withdrawal liability and how regulations do not apply to the liquidation bond upon seller’s liquidation. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-02 1-14-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-2 Plans covered A restated plan document created an aggregate of single plans and not a single pension plan, with a valid allocation of assets among those separate plans. 2-28-2020