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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 77-166 10-7-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-166 Benefit guarantee Because benefit increases became effective through collective bargaining agreements (not specific action by the Board of Trustees), PBGC looks to the adoption and effective dates of those agreements to apply the five-year phase-in rule. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-20 12-5-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-20 Coverage, Individual account plan Individual account plan is exempt from coverage under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-06 8-8-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-6 Coverage, Individual account plan Individual account plan exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-05 3-28-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-5 Premiums, due dates The plan must pay premiums to PBGC for annuitants covered by an insurance contract that does not provide for irrevocable commitments to pay the benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-19 7-1-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-19 Multiemployer, sale of assets, Withdrawal, Construction industry Addresses the applicability of the “sale of assets exception: to the construction industry complete withdrawal rules. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-07 1-14-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-7 Coverage, Individual account plan Title IV does not cover Individual account plans or welfare plans. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-13 5-28-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-13 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Partial Withdrawal Addresses the calculation of partial withdrawal liability and why the allocation fraction uses a ratio of contribution base units as opposed to contributions. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-12 5-13-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-12 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Allocation of assets Addresses the meaning of “total amount contributed” for the purpose of the denominators in PBGC’s interim regulation on withdrawal liability alternative allocation methods. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 97-02 12-29-1997 PBGC Op Let 97-2 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Surveying and engineering design consultant is a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Premium Penalty Relief - Alternative Premium Funding Target Election Relief 9-15-2011 76 FR 57082 Premiums Provides relief from certain premium penalties and in certain situations involving alternative premium funding target elections. 2-28-2020
Assessment of Penalties for Failure to Provide Required Information (1995) 7-18-1995 60 FR 36837 Penalties, Reporting requirements Describes PBGC’s revised policy on assessing penalties for failing to timely provide required information to PBGC. 2-28-2020
Assessment of Penalties for Failure to Provide Premium-related Information (1996) 12-17-1996 61 FR 66338 Penalties, Premiums Describes the penalty for failing to timely provide required premium related information to PBGC. 2-28-2020
Waiver of Seller’s Bond 7-1-1981 PBGC Multiemployer Bulletin, 7/1/1981 Multiemployer, Bond sales Provides guidance on the bonding and escrow requirements imposed on employers that sell their assets. 2-28-2020
The Effect of The Deficit Reduction Act on The Withdrawal Liability Provisions of The Multiemployer Act 3-6-1985 PBGC Multiemployer Bulletin, 3/6/1985 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Clarifies that any multiemployer plan that is not amended to adopt a non-presumptive allocation method is required to allocate unfunded vested benefits using the presumptive method. 2-28-2020
Premium Changes Based on Recharacterization of Contributions 12-22-2011 76 FR 79714 Premiums, Recharacterization of contributions Addresses PBGC’s policy on accepting and responding to amended premium filings based on recharacterization of contributions. 2-28-2020
Assessment of Penalties for Failure to Provide Required Information (1997) 3-14-1997 62 FR 12521 Penalties, Reporting requirements, Standard termination, Distress terminations Describes the revised penalty for failing to timely provide required information to PBGC in standard terminations and sufficient distress terminations. 2-28-2020
Missing Participants FAQs 10-4-2018 PBGC Web 014 Missing participants FAQs on how to handle missing participants in plans that terminate before 2018. 2-28-2020
Partition FAQs for Practitioners 12-6-2019 PBGC Web 006 Multiemployer, Partitions Answers common questions about eligibility and applications for partitions of multiemployer plans. 2-28-2020
Risk Mitigation & Early Warning Questions and Answers 7-20-2018 PBGC Web 003 Risk Mitigation, Early Warning Answers commonly asked questions about PBGC’s Risk Mitigation & Early Warning Program. 2-28-2020
Multiemployer Insolvent Plan Administrative Expense FAQs 8-24-2017 PBGC Web 005 Multiemployer Answers common questions about reasonable administrative expenses of insolvent multiemployer plans. 2-28-2020
Active Participant Reduction Reportable Events 9-15-2017 PBGC TU 17-1 Reportable events, Notices Guidance on compliance with the active participant reduction event requirements of section 4043(c)(3) of ERISA and PBGC’s regulation on Reportable Events and Certain Other Notification Requirements (29 CFR part 4043.23(a)). PBGC adopted a rule addressing the issue effective 3/5/2020. (See 29 CFR part 4010.) 2-28-2020
Requests to Review Multiemployer Plan Alternative Terms and Conditions to Satisfy Withdrawal Liability 4-4-2018 83 FR 14524 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Reviews information that PBGC finds helpful and factors that PBGC considers in reviewing multiemployer plan proposals for alternative terms and conditions to satisfy withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
4010 Financial Information Reporting Waiver 10-16-2019 PBGC TU 19-1 Annual reporting Guidance on compliance with the annual financial and actuarial information reporting requirements under Section 4010 of ERISA. PBGC adopted a rule addressing the issue effective 3/5/2020. (See 29 CFR part 4010.) 2-28-2020
Disaster Relief 7-2-2018 83 FR 30991 Disaster relief PBGC's disaster relief is available when the Internal Revenue Service issues disaster relief for taxpayers that includes filing extensions for the Form 5500 series. Also, for premium filings no late payment interest charges will be assessed for the disaster relief period. 2-28-2020
Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution 4-12-1999 64 FR 17696 Mediation, Arbitration Provides that PBGC will use, where appropriate, alternative dispute resolution. 2-28-2020