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Missing Participants Program for Small Professional Service Defined Benefit Plans

Missing Participants Program for Small Professional Service Defined Benefit Plans

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Overview

The goal of PBGC’s Missing Participants Program is to connect missing participants with their benefits from terminated plans that are closing out. PBGC does this by locating participants and beneficiaries who were missing when their plans ended. When found, depending on arrangements made by the plan when it closed out, PBGC either provides the benefit or information about where the participant’s benefit is being held. 

This web page provides information for terminating defined benefit plans that (1) are not insured by PBGC, (2) are sponsored by small professional service organizations and (3) choose to use PBGC’s Missing Participants Program. 

Although use of this program is optional for these plans, PBGC encourages sponsors to participate. Doing so is easy and in many cases, will simplify the process of closing out a plan. It’s also beneficial to both plan sponsors and missing participants.  For example, with PBGC’s program:

  • The likelihood of connecting missing participants with their benefits increases.
  • A centralized online searchable directory of missing defined contribution plan participants will make it easier for participants to find a lost benefit.
  • Benefits of any size can be transferred to PBGC.

Information about PBGC’s Missing Participants Program works with respect to other types of retirement plans can be found on PBGC’s Missing Participants Program webpage.

Two ways to use the program

With respect to missing participants, terminating non-insured defined benefit plans sponsored by small professional service organizations that participate in this program may either:

  • Transfer the value of the distributee’s benefit to PBGC, or
  • Send PBGC information about the financial institution where the participant’s benefit was transferred to enable PBGC to connect the distributee with their benefit (e.g., insurance company that will be providing the benefit, bank where the value of a de minimis benefit was rolled into an IRA).

PBGC charges a modest one-time administrative fee of $35 for transferred amounts of more than $250. There are no annual or transaction-based fees, e.g., no ongoing maintenance or search fees and no distribution charges.

Forms and Instructions

Form MP-300 and related Schedules A and B

Instructions

Excel template*

 

You may enter data directly into a PDF fillable/printable version of the form, or print a blank pdf version of the form and applicable schedule(s) and enter the data manually.  Besides these two options, when it comes to filling out the applicable schedule, there is a third option that PBGC believes will simplify the process for most filers — entering data into a PBGC-provided spreadsheet and submitting the spreadsheet as an attachment to an email (see “Excel template” above).

We encourage you to read the Form MP-300 instructions carefully. They contain a lot of useful information such as:

Before filing - You must request a PBGC case number before submitting your filing because the case number needs to be reported in the filing, and, for transferring plans, with the payment.

To request a case number, send an email to missingparticipants@pbgc.gov with “Requesting case number” in the subject line. In the body of the email, include the plan sponsor’s name, the employer identification number (EIN), and the 3-digit plan number. In addition, please report the date you anticipate submitting the filing. PBGC will send you a PBGC case number for your plan by email within three business days.

Determining amount to transfer to PBGC

The amount to transfer to PBGC with respect to a missing participant is generally the present value of a participant’s accrued benefit as of a specified date (called the “benefit determination date”). In some cases, it also includes the accumulated value of payments that should have been made before that date.

The assumptions and methods used to calculate the present value vary depending upon whether the distributee would have, or could have, received a lump sum had the distributee not been missing when the plan terminated. Depending upon the answer, each distributee falls into one of the following three categories:

  • Category 1 – The participant’s benefit was de minimis (i.e., $5,000 or less) and could have been distributed as a lump sum without consent.
  • Category 2 – The participant’s benefit was not de minimis and the participant would not have been eligible to elect to receive a lump sum in lieu of an annuity.
  • Category 3 – The participant’s benefit was not de minimis and the participant would have been eligible to elect to receive a lump sum (subject to spousal consent rules, if married) in lieu of an annuity. 

The Determining Benefit Transfer Amounts

Additional tools for certain calculations

For participants in Category 1, the transfer amount is simply the lump sum that the plan could have paid upon termination had the participant not been missing. PBGC expects most plan administrators will easily be able to determine those amounts. For other participants, however, the calculation requires using assumptions and methods that the plan administrator might not typically use for other purposes.  A user-friendly spreadsheet called the “Category 2 PV Calculator” can be used for this calculation (see below).

In limited situations (e.g., if the missing participant is past normal retirement age when the plan terminated), the transfer amount for a Category 2 participant includes the accumulated value of back payments.  For this purpose, back payments are accumulated using the applicable federal mid-term rate (as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to section 1274(d)(1)(C)(ii) of the Code) for that month, compounded monthly.  See Appendix 3

Where/how to send payment

Regardless of the type of plan that’s terminating, the same options apply with respect to sending money to PBGC.  Payments may be made online via Pay.gov (a free, secure federal website), electronic funds transfer (ACH or Fedwire), or paper check. See Missing Participant Program Payment Instructions for detailed information about payment options and where to send payment.

If you have questions

If you have questions about PBGC’s Missing Participants Program as it pertains to defined contribution plans, contact us by:

  • Calling (800) 453-9584. (TTY/ASCII users may call the Federal relay service toll-free at (800) 877-8339 and ask to be connected to that number).

Sending an email to missingparticipants@pbgc.gov

Last updated January 26, 2018