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PBGC Approves SFA Application for Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Pension Plan

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Pension Plan Preserves Benefits Through Receipt of Special Financial Assistance
For Immediate Release

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 Retail, Wholesale and Department Store International Union and Industry Pension Plan (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Pension Plan). The plan, based in Birmingham, Alabama, covers 21,079 participants nationwide in the food processing, retail, and manufacturing industries.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Pension Plan, which is in critical status, will receive approximately $261 million in special financial assistance, including interest to the expected date of payment to the plan. SFA will enable the plan to continue to pay retirement benefits without reduction for many years into the future.

“Middle-class families simply can’t afford to lose their hard-earned retirement savings after a lifetime of work,” said Acting Secretary of Labor Julie A. Su. “Today’s approval of Special Financial Assistance by the Biden-Harris administration will ensure these 21,079 workers can retire with the security and dignity they deserve.”

About the Special Financial Assistance Program

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 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 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. PBGC reviews each plan’s census data for all plan participants against the Social Security Administration’s full file of death information.

As of June 20, 2024, PBGC has announced approval of about $57 billion in SFA to plans that cover about 915,000 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.

About PBGC

PBGC protects the retirement security of over 31 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 nearly 1.4 million participants and beneficiaries in failed single-employer 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 and investment income. Special financial assistance for financially troubled multiemployer plans is financed by general taxpayer monies.

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