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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 81-33 9-22-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-33 Multiemployer, Construction industry Addresses the definition of “building and construction industry” and explains that the term should be given the same meaning as it has under the Taft-Hartley Act. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-72 5-28-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-72 Benefit guarantee Provides that because guaranteed benefits are determined at time of plan termination, a clause in a plan that provides for the cessation of benefits in pay status of participants who violate prohibitions against certain competitive employment will be determined at such time that the clause becomes applicable to a participant. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-03 1-14-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-3 Restoration Conditions under which PBGC would allow a company to restore its pension plan after filing a notice to terminate. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-155 8-3-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-155 Coverage, tax qualification A plan operating under a favorable IRS determination letter is covered under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-03 3-29-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-03 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Discusses and compares a seller's withdrawal liability risks and obligations pre-MPPAA and post-MPPAA, and whether an employer's failure to object to an estimate of withdrawal liability (for informational purposes) bars that employer from challenging that underlying estimate upon a subsequent actual assessment of withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-58 10-3-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-58 Coverage The fact that a benefit formula may be modified by a plan amendment does not alter the defined benefit nature of the plan.  If the plan is amended to convert it to an individual account plan, it would be treated as terminated. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-21 9-8-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-21 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Construction industry Addresses the definition of the term "building and construction industry" for purposes of the construction industry exception to withdrawal. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 88-06 4-1-1988 PBGC Op Let 88-06 Multiemployer, Bargaining representative Addresses the required transfer of assets and benefit liabilities following a change in the collective bargaining representative of a group of employees who then participate in another multiemployer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-41 3-22-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-41 Reportable events Closing plant covering 6% of the employees in the plan is not a reportable event. Failure to pay benefits when due would be a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-16 11-14-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-16 Coverage Plans funded exclusively by individual insurance or annuity policies are exempt from coverage under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-10 4-8-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-10 Coverage, Individual account plan Individual account plan exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 84-09 12-27-1984 PBGC Op Let 84-09 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Provides guidance on the meaning of "employer" with respect to withdrawals from multiemployer pension plans; focuses on the garment industry and in particular, the work done by the contractor and the jobber/manufacturer. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-17 5-26-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-17 Multiemployer, Withdrawal, Sale of stock Discusses whether the sale of stock constitutes a withdrawal from a multiemployer plan and whether the sale of assets rule applies. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-06 4-10-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-6 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan of an entity chartered by the US Congress does not meet the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-43 3-25-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-43 Excess assets Absence of provision in plan allowing reversion of excess plan assets to the employer means that the requirements for reversion of excess assets to employer not met. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-53 12-4-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-53 Coverage, Nonresident aliens Plan is governed by laws of Virgin Islands. Plan is not a qualified plan and is exempt from coverage under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-24 10-31-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-24 Multiemployer, Unfunded vested benefits, Withdrawal Liability Addresses (1) whether vested ancillary benefits may be included in the calculation of unfunded vested benefits; (2) the meaning of "nonforfeitable benefit"; (3) what actuarial assumptions may be used to calculate unfunded vested benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-15 4-30-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-15 Multiemployer, Transfer of assets and liabilities Addresses the rules governing the transfer of assets from multiemployer plan to single-employer plan; addresses the withdrawal liability consequences of transferring assets to a single employer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-15 5-28-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-15 Termination PBGC accepted the withdrawal of a plan’s notice of intent to terminate because employers would continue to make contributions pursuant to their collective bargaining agreements and the plan participants would continue to receive credit under the plan for service with contributing employers. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-03 11-14-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-3 Coverage, Individual account plan Title IV excludes a defined benefit plan to the extent it is treated as an Individual account plan under 1002(35)(B). 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-23 12-18-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-23 Coverage A plan maintained by a union and funded only by contributions from union members is not covered under Title IV 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-61 4-30-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-61 Coverage, Professional service employer plan A physician-owned company is a professional service employer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-40 12-9-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-40 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan does not meet the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-24 8-21-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-24 Residual assets Addresses the distribution of residual assets to an employer. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-13 1-6-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-13 Coverage, Individual account plan Individual account plan is exempt from coverage 2-28-2020