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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 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PBGC Op Let 85-32 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses whether an employer that has withdrawn from a multiemployer plan may be relieved of withdrawal liability by a subsequent sale of assets. 2-28-2020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 75-06 1-21-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-6 Plan year A plan year is the fiscal year on which the records of a plan are kept. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 02-1 12-10-2002 PBGC Op Let 02-1 Restoration PBGC has no legal authority to terminate and then restore a pension plan in order to implement more lenient funding requirements for the successor plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-08 4-25-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-8 Allocation of assets, Benefits How to determine eligibility for a “Category 3 Benefit,” which is a benefit of a participant who retired, or could have retired, 3 years or more before the plan terminated. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-12 5-20-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-12 Standard termination Standard termination of plans and establishment of new plans that do not include past service credits will not cause PBGC to reject a proper notice of intent to terminate. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-37 3-15-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-37 Benefit guarantee Discusses how the five-year phase-in rule impacts guarantee of certain recent benefit increases and that certain early retirement supplements are not guaranteed. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-32 10-28-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-32 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Dispute Resolution Addresses the procedure to follow when parties to a dispute over withdrawal liability do not agree on the selection of an arbitrator. PBGC adopted a rule addressing the issue. (See 29 CFR § 4221.4.) 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-22 12-16-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-22 Multiemployer, Termination Discusses the rules governing plan termination and notes that the employers may owe withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-18 8-5-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-18 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Addresses whether incorporation of a sole proprietorship constitutes a withdrawal from a multiemployer pension plan where the successor corporation becomes party to the collective bargaining agreement and continues to contribute to the plan on behalf of its employees for the same operations for which contributions were previously contributed by the sole proprietor. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-163 8-30-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-163 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Licensed clinical laboratory bio-analyst is a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 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 87-06 7-15-1987 PBGC Op Let 87-6 Termination All affected parties may submit comments to PBGC on a proposed distress termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-21 9-19-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-21 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Embalmer and funeral director is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-40 8-12-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-40 Coverage, Welfare plans Welfare plans are not covered under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-18 6-29-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-18 Residual assets Addresses the distribution of residual assets to an employer. 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
Opinion Letter 74-21 12-13-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-21 Coverage Profit sharing plans are excluded from coverage under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 01-2 3-16-2001 PBGC Op Let 2001-2 Multiemployer, Contributing employer Addresses whether a multiemployer plan with only one remaining contributing employer continues to be a multiemployer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-10 5-5-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-10 tax qualification, Coverage, Termination A plan that in practice met the criteria for tax qualification for five years prior to its termination date was covered under Title IV at plan termination. 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 81-30 9-22-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-30 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan meets the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 84-08 12-27-1984 PBGC Op Let 84-08 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Construction industry Addresses whether the construction industry exception to withdrawal applies where a contractor's CBA expires, its employees do not perform any more work for which the contractor was previously required to make contributions, but the contractor subcontracts for the performance of such work. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-16 7-12-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-16 Coverage, Governmental plan Government contractors are not excluded from PBGC coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-08 3-25-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-08 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Unrelated buyer Addresses the meaning of the term "the unfunded vested benefits attributable to employees of the employer" for purposes of the cap on the unfunded vested benefits attributable to employees of an employer that sold substantially all of its assets to an unrelated buyer. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-01 1-10-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-1 Governmental plan, Employer liability State liability with respect to private-sector plans to which employees contribute. 2-28-2020