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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.

Title Issuance Date Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Date
Opinion Letter 90-05 10-11-1990 PBGC Op Let 90-5 Termination, Benefits, Lump sum PBGC, once it is appointed statutory trustee of a terminated plan, pays lump sums to participants entitled to small benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-03 3-22-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-03 Multiemployer, Plan amendment Addresses the legal effect of PBGC approval of a multiemployer plan amendment. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-85 9-11-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-85 Defined benefit plan A plan where participants are eligible for benefits as calculated from time to time by an actuary is a defined benefit plan providing basic benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-96 8-2-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-96 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Employer is an association of medical doctors, principal business is administrative in nature. Plan does not meet the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-24 8-5-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-24 Multiemployer, Mass Withdrawal Review of rules governing plan administration after mass withdrawal; modification of withdrawal liability payment schedules; and recharacterization of contributions as withdrawal liability payments. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-32 9-25-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-32 Multiemployer, Withdrawal, 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. This opinion letter addresses whether the buyer may escrow a letter of credit instead of cash. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-115 5-30-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-115 Termination, Reportable events Discusses that change of insurance carrier is not a termination nor a reportable event 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-28 8-31-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-28 Multiemployer, Premiums Discusses premium payment obligations under specific circumstances. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-106 9-3-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-106 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Physician-secretary is a Professional Service Employer plan exempt from Title IV coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-109 9-14-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-109 Coverage A trust under a plan must be "created or organized" in the "United States" and be "maintained at all times as a 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-55 11-10-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-55 Coverage, plan document A plan without a written plan document is not a qualified plan and is excluded from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-05 1-30-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-05 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Construction industry Addresses whether the construction industry exception to withdrawal applies where a contractor terminates its CBA, 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 87-12 10-27-1987 PBGC Op Let 87-12 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Transfer of liability Addresses effects on withdrawal liability of a proposed transfer of benefit liabilities from a multiemployer plan to a single-employer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-15 7-7-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-15 Termination Look to plan documents to determine plan administrator 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-32 12-31-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-32 Plan assets, Allocation of assets Assets intended to fund insurance company annuities, but which are retained by the plan are subject to allocation procedures. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-12 6-9-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-12 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Real estate broker is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-18 7-24-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-18 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Corrects opinion letter 85-1 and addresses calculation of withdrawal liability installment payments other than on a quarterly schedule. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-57 4-26-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-57 Coverage Plan has not met conditions for coverage since ERISA enacted; Title IV doesn’t apply to the termination of the plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-154 7-21-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-154 Coverage “Licensed” or “registered” engineers are “public” engineers under ERISA 4021(c)(2)(B) and the plan is exempt under the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-28 10-15-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-28 Termination Whether the method of distribution proposed for a plan is acceptable when the plan administrator is terminating its DB plan and creating a DC plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-41 5-13-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-41 Coverage, Governmental plan To be excluded from coverage, all employees covered by the plan must be public employees and the political subdivision must be the plan sponsor. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-20 9-29-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-20 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses abatement rules for employers that reenter a multiemployer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-91 7-15-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-91 Benefit reduction, Reportable events A reduction in benefits is not considered a plan termination but is a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-31 3-3-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-31 Allocation of assets, Benefit guarantee Section 4044 asset allocation rules take precedence over any contrary plan provisions. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-19 12-13-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-19 Coverage A tax qualified defined benefit plan is covered. 2-28-2020