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Questions and Answers for Participants in the J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Pension Plan

Last updated on November 23, 2020

On May 15, 2020, J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc., along with 17 of its subsidiaries and related entities, filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi, Texas. On October 20, 2020, the company sought court approval of an agreement in which J.C. Penney’s assets would be acquired by a joint venture led by Brookfield Asset Management, Inc. and Simon Property Group. The joint venture has not agreed to assume the pension plan, potentially leaving it without an ongoing, viable sponsor.

PBGC is taking steps to protect the interests of the plan’s current and future retirees. However, PBGC is not responsible as trustee of the pension plan. J.C. Penney continues to pay retirement benefits for the pension plan participants. For specific participant benefit information please, contact the J.C. Penney Benefits Center at 1-888-890-8900 or visit JCP Benefits. For general information about PBGC and terminating pension plans, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.

Who is the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)?

PBGC is a federal agency created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to protect pension benefits in private-sector defined benefit plans - the kind that typically pay a set monthly amount at retirement. If your pension plan is insured by PBGC and it ends without sufficient money to pay all benefits, PBGC's insurance program will pay you the benefit provided by your pension plan up to the limits set by law.

PBGC receives no taxpayer dollars. Its operations are financed by insurance premiums, investment income, and assets and recoveries from failed single-employer plans

Is the J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Pension Plan insured by PBGC?

Yes. PBGC insures the J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Pension Plan defined benefit pension plan. The plan covers about 36,000 pension plan participants.

Are the benefits provided by J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Savings, Profit-Sharing and Stock Ownership Plan covered by PBGC insurance?

No. The J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Savings, Profit-Sharing and Stock Ownership Plan is an individual account plan. PBGC's insurance does not cover individual account plans.

Did the company's bankruptcy filing terminate the pension plan?

No. The J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Pension Plan remained ongoing and under the responsibility of J.C. Penney Corporation. While underfunded pension plans often terminate during bankruptcy proceedings, a company's bankruptcy filing by itself does not terminate a pension plan.

Whom should J.C. Penney participants contact with questions about their pension benefits?

J.C. Penney continues to pay retirement benefits for the pension plan participants.

Please contact the J.C. Penney Benefits Center at 1-888-890-8900 or visit JCP Benefits

  • for service about a J.C. Penney pension benefit that you are already receiving or
  • to apply for J.C. Penney pension benefits.

Customer Service is available Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Central Time.

What happens after a pension plan is terminated and then transferred to PBGC?

After an underfunded pension plan (a plan that does not have enough money to pay all benefits) terminates and subsequently is transferred to PBGC, we notify plan participants and beneficiaries as well as provide specific information about their plan and PBGC.

If you are already receiving a pension, payments will continue without interruption in the annuity form you chose at retirement.

If you have not retired yet, payments will begin after you become eligible and apply for pension benefits.

Can I earn additional benefits after my plan terminates?

No. You cannot earn additional pension benefits under your plan after the plan terminates.

J.C. Penney purchased annuities for many participants. Will a plan termination affect those benefits?

No. The termination of the pension plans does not affect purchased annuities. They will continue to be paid by the insurance company who is responsible for those benefits.