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 United Independent Union - Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia Pension Plan (UIU-NPG Pension Plan). The plan, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, covers 2,566 participants in the printing industry.
The UIU-NPG Pension Plan will receive approximately $296.2 million in special financial assistance, including interest to the expected date of payment to the plan. The plan was projected to run out of money in 2025. Without the SFA Program, the UIU-NPG Pension Plan would have been required to reduce participants’ benefits to the PBGC guarantee levels upon plan insolvency, which is roughly 50 percent below the benefits payable under the terms of the plan. SFA will enable the plan to continue to pay retirement benefits without reduction for many years into the future.
“These workers went to work with the promise of a pension when they retired. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration has fulfilled that promise,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security Lisa M. Gomez. “Under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the UIU-NPG Pension Plan received Special Financial Assistance to deliver the pensions that these printing workers have earned.”
About the Special Financial Assistance Program
The SFA Program was enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021. 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.
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.
As of April 27, 2023, PBGC has approved over $46.7 billion in SFA to plans that cover almost 557,000 workers, retirees, and beneficiaries.
The SFA Program operates under a final rule, published in the Federal Register on July 8, 2022, which became effective August 8, 2022, and was amended effective January 26, 2023.
PBGC protects the retirement security of over 33 million American workers, retirees, and beneficiaries in both single-employer and multiemployer private sector pension plans. The agency’s two insurance programs are legally separate and operationally and financially independent. PBGC is directly responsible for the benefits of more than 1.5 million participants and beneficiaries in failed pension plans. The Single-Employer Program is financed by insurance premiums, investment income, and assets and recoveries from failed single-employer plans. The Multiemployer Program is financed by insurance premiums. Special financial assistance for financially troubled multiemployer plans is financed by general taxpayer monies.