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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 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
Opinion Letter 82-39 12-20-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-39 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Dispute Resolution Addresses the determination of withdrawal liability and the procedure to dispute withdrawal liability. 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 75-116 12-31-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-116 Termination, Withdrawal Discusses the difference between a multiemployer plan and a multiple employer plan and the termination provisions applicable to the latter. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-07 5-8-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-7 Merger, Reportable events A reportable event takes place with the merger of a single employer plan into a multiemployer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-20 7-15-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-20 Reportable events, Determination of plan sufficiency, Termination The sale by a parent corporation with a division that maintains a pension plan with nonforfeitable benefits which are not funded of $1 million or more of an incorporated subsidiary, irrespective of its relative size, results in a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-23 9-23-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-23 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Mass Withdrawal This opinion letter declines to provide an opinion on the meaning of “substantially all” for the purposes of determining whether a substantially all mass withdrawal has occurred. 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 81-35 10-26-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-35 Benefit guarantee Addresses the calculation of guaranteed benefits; PBGC measures benefits using plan factors at date of plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-40 12-27-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-40 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Regards a statutory provision under which a contributing employer to a multiemployer plan does not withdraw from the plan because it ceases to exist due to a change in organizational form if there is no interruption in the employer's contributions or obligation to contribute; addresses whether that exception to withdrawal applies to an employer that sells its assets where the purchaser takes over the seller's name, plant, and employees. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-13 5-13-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-13 Coverage, Governmental plan A plan maintained by a company under contract to provide services for a Federal agency does not meet the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-07 4-17-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-7 Benefit guarantee $20 minimum in the regulation is not subject to actuarial adjustment for the participant’s age at the time the benefit started. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-04 2-10-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-04 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Addresses whether a corporation that has an obligation to contribute to a multiemployer plan withdraws from the plan if the corporation's parent sells its shares. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-48 11-19-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-48 Coverage, Premiums Fully insured plans are required to pay premiums. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-06 11-14-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-6 Coverage, Nonresident aliens Plan is not exempt from coverage under Title IV because of Canadian participants. 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 86-21 9-29-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-21 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses (1) how withdrawal liability should be assessed when the contributing employer is a partnership, and (2) whether an employer continues to perform work of the type and jurisdiction covered by a collective bargaining agreement for purposes of determining whether a withdrawal has occurred. 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 80-13 6-20-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-13 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Provider of advertising and public relations services is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-10 3-26-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-10 Multiemployer, Mass Withdrawal Addresses a plan sponsor’s obligations when a plan terminates by mass withdrawal, including the payment of benefits to participants in a terminated plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-11 6-9-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-11 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Artist-designer is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-06 2-10-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-6 Benefit guarantee Laid-off employees may accrue guaranteed benefits up to date of plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-05 4-24-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-5 Individual account plan Individual account plan is exempt from coverage under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-02 2-24-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-2 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan meets the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-19 1-9-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-19 Coverage, Professional service employer plan, Substantial owners plan Addresses the Professional Service Employer plan and Substantial Owner plan coverage exemptions. 2-28-2020