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 Paper Handlers-Publishers Pension Plan (Paper Handlers-Publishers Plan). The plan, based in New York City, New York, covers 244 participants in the printing industry.
The Paper Handlers-Publishers Plan will receive approximately $20.6 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 2024. Without the SFA Program, the Paper Handlers-Publishers Plan would have been required to reduce participants’ benefits to the PBGC guarantee level upon plan insolvency, which is roughly 45 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.
“Millions of people work for years, looking forward to the day when the promise of a secure, dignified retirement is kept,” said Acting Secretary of Labor Julie A. Su. “Today, the Biden-Harris administration is delivering on that promise for 244 printers in New York by providing special financial assistance in the Paper Handlers-Publishers Pension Plan that ensures they can retire with the dignity they deserve.”
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 September 22, 2023, PBGC has approved about $53.5 billion in SFA to plans that cover about 767,000 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.