WASHINGTON - The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will pay retirement benefits for more than 1,300 current and future retirees of the Menninger Foundation and its affiliates. The Topeka, Kan.-based organizations provided mental health services.
PBGC, which safeguards the pensions of 44 million Americans, is moving to take responsibility for Menninger's pension plan because it doesn't meet minimum funding requirements and will be unable to pay benefits following the breakup of the foundation.
PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by Menninger retirees up to the legal maximum of about $56,000 a year for a 65-year-old.
When PBGC takes responsibility for the pension plan it will send notification letters to its members. Until then, the plan will continue under Menninger's sponsorship.
Workers and retirees with questions may consult the PBGC Website, www.pbgc.gov or call toll-free at 1-800-400-7242. For TTY/ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) users, call the federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask for 800-400-7242.
Menninger retirees who draw a benefit from PBGC may be eligible for the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit. Further information may be found on the PBGC website at http://www.pbgc.gov/wr/benefits/hctc/hctc-faqs.html.
In 2002, Menninger and its affiliates made an agreement with Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital to create a new mental health clinic in Houston, Texas, also called The Menninger Clinic. The agreement didn't include the pension plan.
According to PBGC estimates, the plan is 33 percent funded with $32.5 million in assets to pay $97.4 million in benefits. The agency is expected to cover nearly all of the $64.9 million shortfall.
PBGC is a federal corporation that guarantees payment of basic pension benefits earned by 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 27,500 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues and never has. Operations are financed entirely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and from the assets and recoveries on behalf of plans that have been assumed by PBGC. More information can be found at www.PBGC.gov.