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 Pension Plan for Employees of United Furniture Workers of America and Related Organizations (United Furniture Workers Plan). The plan, based in Nashville, Tennessee, covers 95 participants in the manufacturing industry.
The United Furniture Workers Plan will receive approximately $8.1 million in special financial assistance, including interest to the expected date of payment to the plan. The plan was projected to become insolvent and run out of money in 2023. Without the SFA Program, the United Furniture Workers Plan would have been required to reduce participants’ benefits to the PBGC guarantee levels upon plan insolvency, which is roughly 55 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.
“Today, the Biden-Harris administration kept our promise to fight for America’s workers and retirees by taking action to protect the retirement security of 95 manufacturing workers in Tennessee,” said Acting Secretary of Labor Julie A. Su. “As part of the American Rescue Plan, Special Financial Assistance will ensure workers get the secure and dignified retirement they deserve as we grow our economy from the middle out and the bottom up.”
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 August 29, 2023, PBGC has approved about $53 billion in SFA to plans that cover over 763,000 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.