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Guidance Document Database

The documents listed below are PBGC’s guidance documents, as defined by EO 13891, sec. 2(b), see Federal Register Notice. 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. PBGC will only cite, use, or rely on any guidance that is not posted in this database to establish historical facts.

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. For additional information, see PBGC’s procedures for guidance documents.

Title Issuance Date Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Date
Opinion Letter 95-03 12-22-1995 PBGC Op Let 95-03 Multiemployer, Partial Withdrawal Addresses calculation of partial withdrawal credit using the "modified presumptive method" where contributions are averaged over a 10-year period. 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 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 83-05 2-2-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-5 Restoration Conditions under which PBGC would allow a company to restore its pension plan after filing a notice to terminate. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-04 1-30-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-04 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses how to reduce withdrawal liability for liability already assessed for a previous partial withdrawal. PBGC subsequently adopted a rule addressing the issue. (See 29 CFR part 4206.) 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-19 11-13-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-19 Coverage, Nonresident aliens Plan meets the Nonresident Alien plan coverage exemption. All plan participants and records regarding plan located in Hong Kong. 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 81-37 11-16-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-37 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan meets the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-03 2-2-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-3 Coverage, Church plans Plan meets the Church plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-91 7-9-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-91 Individual account plan A plan amendment that preserves a defined benefit does not allow a plan to fit under the individual account exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-34 3-8-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-34 Termination, Voluntary plan termination Involuntary termination requirements in section 4042(a) do not apply to voluntary terminations under section 4041. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-23 10-15-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-23 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Withdrawal Liability Addresses abatement when a contributing employer withdraws and then acquires a division of a company that contributions to the same plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-110 7-15-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-110 Coverage, Individual account plan Individual account plan is exempt from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-15 6-30-1976 PBGC Op Let 86-15 Premiums, Coverage A fully insured plan is covered under Title IV and must pay premiums to PBGC. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-04 3-12-1981 PBGC Op let 81-4 Allocation of assets, Residual assets A plan document’s provision allowing for reversion of residual plan assets to the plan sponsor was invalid and therefore residual assets were required to be distributed to participants. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 87-10 9-15-1987 PBGC Op Let 87-10 Termination, Suspension PBGC suspended the processing of a plan termination following receipt of a letter from a union that the termination of the plan violated the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 00-01 1-27-2000 PBGC Op Let 00-1 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability The sponsor of a multiemployer plan, other than a plan that primarily covers employees in the building and construction industry, may adopt any of the statutory allocation methods and any of the modifications set forth in §§ 4211.12 and 4211.13, without PBGC’s approval. PBGC will not opine on whether such adoption is consistent with trustees’ fiduciary duties. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-01 1-11-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-01 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses the method of calculating the withdrawal liability of a purchaser of the assets of an unrelated contributing employer. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-08 3-25-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-08 Multiemployer, Asset Sale Exception Regards a statutory provision under which a contributing employer to a multiemployer plan that sells its assets to an unrelated buyer does not withdraw from the plan if (among other things) the buyer posts a bond or escrow for 5 years and the sales contract makes the seller secondarily liable if the buyer withdraws during the 5 plan years after the sale. Addresses whether that exception to withdrawal applies if the buyer initially posts a bond for only the first two years. 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 82-01 1-19-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-1 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Pharmacist is a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-06 4-1-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-6 Termination Plan termination date agreed to by PBGC and the company was after participants had constructive notice of termination . 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-12 5-28-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-12 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses the special partial withdrawal rule for the retail food industry, and the meaning of “retail food industry.” 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-17 11-14-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-17 Coverage, Individual account plan, Professional service employer plan Professional service employer plans and individual account plans are excluded from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-162 8-30-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-162 Benefit guarantee A profit-sharing benefit in the plan is nonforfeitable and a pension benefit because the plan states it may be paid as an annuity. Because PBGC guarantees and pays the benefit as an annuity, it won’t be paid in a lump sum if the plan is insufficient. 2-28-2020