WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced today that it has approved the application submitted to the Special Financial Assistance (SFA) Program by the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Plan (NYS Teamsters Conference Plan). The application was submitted and approved under provisions of PBGC’s SFA interim final rule. The plan, based in Syracuse, New York, covers 33,643 participants in the transportation industry.
On October 1, 2017, the NYS Teamsters Conference Plan implemented a benefit suspension under the terms of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA). The plan reduced benefits of about 25,000 plan participants. On average, affected participants’ benefit were reduced by 20 percent.
PBGC’s approval of the SFA application enables the plan to restore benefits suspended under the terms of MPRA and to make payments to retirees to cover prior benefit suspensions. SFA will enable the plan to pay retirement benefits without reduction for many years into the future. The plan will receive $963.4 million in SFA, including interest to the expected date of payment to the plan.
“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will deliver Special Financial Assistance to the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension Plan that ensures the 33,643 transportation workers and retirees covered by this plan will receive the retirement benefits they have earned,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, chair of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Board of Directors. “This assistance will deliver the secure retirement these workers were promised in return for many years of hard work.”
About the Special Financial Assistance Program
The SFA Program was enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP). The program provides funding to severely underfunded multiemployer pension plans and will ensure that millions of America’s workers, retirees, and their families receive the pension benefits they earned through many years of hard work.
The SFA Program requires plans to demonstrate eligibility for SFA and to calculate the amount of assistance pursuant to ARP and PBGC’s regulations. SFA and earnings thereon must be segregated from other plan assets and may be used only to pay plan benefits and administrative expenses. Plans are not obligated to repay SFA to PBGC. Plans receiving SFA are also subject to certain terms, conditions and reporting requirements, including an annual statement documenting compliance with the terms and conditions. PBGC is authorized to conduct periodic audits of multiemployer plans that receive SFA.
The SFA Program currently operates under a final rule, published in the Federal Register on July 8, 2022, which became effective on August 8, 2022. SFA applications submitted before that date reflect the provisions of the interim final rule, published in the Federal Register on July 12, 2021.
As of November 18, 2022, PBGC has approved nearly $8.9 billion to plans that cover over 191,000 workers, retirees, and beneficiaries.