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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 92-02 4-22-1992 PBGC Op Let 92-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses the distinction between a non-binding estimated withdrawal liability assessment for informational purposes and an "actual" withdrawal liability assessment. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-35 11-15-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-35 Multiemployer, Partial Withdrawal Review of rules governing partial withdrawal as applied to sale of some facilities under CBA. 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 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 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 81-03 3-4-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-3 Coverage, Tribal plan, Governmental plan Tribal plan meets the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-46 4-2-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-46 Reportable events, Change from group annuity to trust fund Change in funding method does not constitute a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-69 5-19-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-69 Benefit guarantee Terminated, vested benefits are guaranteed when all conditions under the plan necessary to establish entitlement to the benefit at a specified age are satisfied even though participant has yet to attain retirement age on the date of 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 74-28 12-6-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-28 Benefit guarantee PBGC’s plan termination insurance program covers retirees in pay status. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 94-01 7-26-1994 PBGC Op Let 94-1 Premiums, Interest Discusses the method used by PBGC to calculate interest on premium underpayments. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-159 8-15-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-159 Allocation of assets An annuity contract owned by a pension plan is the plan asset, not the assets held by the insurer under the contract. Because benefits payable under the annuity contract are revocable upon termination, assets held under the contract are included in the value of the contract. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-20 9-14-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-20 Benefit guarantee PBGC guarantees basis plan benefits only and does not guarantee the payment of non-basic plan benefits.  2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-95 8-21-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-95 Coverage, Governmental plan Employer created by state law is a political subdivision of state with authority to tax. Plan meets the Governmental plan exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 93-01 2-16-1993 PBGC Op Let 93-1 Premiums, Termination The obligation to pay premiums ceases when plan assets are distributed under priority categories 1- 6 without regard to whether there are residual assets. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 94-08 9-30-1994 PBGC Op Let 94-08 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Reallocation liability Addresses the calculation of reallocation liability when calculating withdrawal liability under the "presumptive method" and whether to include the unfunded vested benefits of an employer that is subject to the construction rule. 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
Opinion Letter 90-03 4-24-1990 PBGC Op Let 09-3 Termination, annuities Once irrevocable commitments are purchased, PBGC no longer guarantees the benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-26 11-14-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-26 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Company owners are physicians and company provides medical services. Plan is exempt as a Professional Servicer Employer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-11 1-20-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-11 Reportable events Transfer of plan assets to another plan does not require PBGC approval, but it is a reportable event requiring notification. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-09 12-6-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-9 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Original plan is a Title IV covered plan. Successor plan is also a Title IV covered plan. Successor plan does not qualify as an exempt plan under the Professional Service plan exemption even though successor plan has fewer than 25 employees. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 90-06 10-31-1990 PBGC Op Let 90-6 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Plan meets the Substantial Owner plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-44 12-8-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-44 Coverage, Governmental plan, “Established and maintained” A plan maintained by a public agency or political subdivision which has been taken over from a private business is excluded from coverage. 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 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