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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 Datesort descending Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Date
Opinion Letter 76-103 8-23-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-103 Benefit guarantee, Death benefits PBGC’s position on guaranty of death benefit. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-106 9-3-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-106 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Physician-secretary is a Professional Service Employer plan exempt from Title IV coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-109 9-14-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-109 Coverage A trust under a plan must be "created or organized" in the "United States" and be "maintained at all times as a 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-111 9-16-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-111 Employer liability Asset purchaser assuming some plans was not a successor corporation for plans that it did not assume. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-112 9-28-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-112 Benefit guarantee A participant who has completed the requisite number of years of service and has attained retirement age has a nonforfeitable vested benefit in the plan, even if he has not ended his employment as the time of plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-114 10-1-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-114 Reportable events Elimination of a death benefit is a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-117 11-3-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-117 Termination No plan termination occurred when subsidiaries ended plan participation. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-118 11-8-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-118 Coverage, tax qualification Once a plan is determined to be qualified by IRS, it is qualified for purposes of Title IV until qualification is revoked. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-119 11-15-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-119 Residual assets Because plan does not provide for reversion of excess assets to sponsor, residual assets must be distributed to plan participants and their beneficiaries, pro rata, in relation to their accrued benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-121 12-22-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-121 Reportable events The reduction in the number of plan participants is a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-124 1-21-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-124 Premiums, Refund, Termination PBGC did not issue a premium refund for plan that it found was not terminated. 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 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 77-129 2-9-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-129 Residual assets Each participant is entitled to a share of the excess plan assets where the plan does not provide for return of excess assets to employer upon plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-131 2-11-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-131 Employer liability PBGC examines financial information of an employer and all trades or businesses under the same common control to assess the employer’s hardship or necessity for deferred payments to meet liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-136 3-29-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-136 Benefit guarantee, Disability benefits Disability benefits guaranteed where participants satisfied plan conditions necessary to receive the benefit before the date of plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-139 4-13-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-139 Coverage, Substantial owners plan A plan with a participant who is the sole stockholder meets the Substantial Owner exemption from plan coverage under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-140 4-15-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-140 Coverage, Governmental plan Plans maintained by instrumentalities of the Federal government are exempt from coverage under the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-141 4-28-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-141 Benefit guarantee Actuarially equivalent monthly benefit of a lump sum benefit is guaranteed. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-145 5-24-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-145 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Employer providing consulting services in bio-mechanics, forensic physics, traffic reconstruction, injury analysis, and automotive and traffic safety is a Professional Services Employer and is exempt under Title IV. 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 77-149 7-6-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-149 Coverage Plan covered by Railroad Retirement Act financed by contributions required under the Act is not covered by title IV. 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 77-154 7-21-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-154 Coverage “Licensed” or “registered” engineers are “public” engineers under ERISA 4021(c)(2)(B) and the plan is exempt under the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-151 7-21-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-151 Termination, legal fees Not appropriate to charge against plan assets legal fees arising from plan termination. 2-28-2020