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Questions and Answers for Participants in the Briggs & Stratton Pension Plan

Last updated on February 11, 2021

On October 5, 2020, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation took responsibility as trustee for the defined benefit pension plan sponsored by Briggs & Stratton. The pension plan ended as of September 30, 2020.

PBGC is a federal agency created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to protect pension benefits in private sector defined benefit plans - the kind that typically pay a set monthly amount at retirement. When your covered pension plan ends without enough money to pay all benefits, PBGC's insurance program will pay you the benefit provided by your pension plan up to the limits set by law.

PBGC receives no taxpayer dollars. Its operations are financed by insurance premiums, investment income, and assets and recoveries from failed single-employer plans.

Yes. PBGC insures the Briggs & Stratton Pension Plan, which covers nearly 5,000 participants.

No. While underfunded pension plans often terminate during bankruptcy proceedings, a company’s bankruptcy filing by itself does not terminate a pension plan.

PBGC stepped in to become responsible for the pension plan when it became clear that Briggs & Stratton’s continuation of the plan was no longer possible. PBGC and Briggs & Stratton agreed, with bankruptcy court approval, to terminate the plan as of September 30, 2020.

Workers, retirees and beneficiaries covered by the Briggs & Stratton Pension Plan with questions about their benefits should contact:

Fidelity Investments
Customer Contact Center
1-800-835-5095

8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday Through Friday
(Except Federal Holidays)

When an underfunded pension plan is terminated and transferred to PBGC, we notify plan participants and beneficiaries and provide information about their plan and about PBGC.

  • If you are already receiving a pension, your payments will continue without interruption in the annuity form you chose at retirement.
  • If you are not yet receiving a pension, we will pay you an estimated benefit when you become eligible and apply for pension benefits.

When we have completed our review of your plan:

  • If you have received estimated benefit payments that are too high, we will adjust your future monthly payments to the correct amount, further reduced normally by no more than 10% until the overpayment has been repaid.
  • PBGC does not charge interest on overpayments.
  • If we have paid you an estimated benefit that is too low, we will make up the missed amounts in a single payment with interest.

No. You cannot earn additional pension benefits under your plan after the date the plan terminates.

Note: The Briggs & Stratton traditional benefit accruals and cash balance pay credits were frozen as of 1/1/2014 for all active participants.

Please keep in mind, PBGC’s guarantees are based on service earned as of the date Briggs & Stratton entered into bankruptcy, July 20, 2020.

PBGC follows “working retirement rules” regarding whether employees can begin pension benefits while working.

  • If I have reached Normal Retirement Age (65), can I receive my retirement benefits?
    Yes – When you reach age 65 you may receive your benefits while you are working, regardless of whom you are working for.
     
  • If am under age 65, can I receive my retirement benefits?
    Generally, yes. However, PBGC cannot pay early retirement benefits to participants who are still working for the company that sponsored the pension plan or for a related company.

Some pension plans offer lump sum payments for the full value of earned pensions, but PBGC generally does not. PBGC pays benefits in monthly payments for life. However, if the total value of your benefit payable by PBGC is $5,000 or less when the plan terminates and you have not started receiving monthly payments, you can receive a lump sum from PBGC.

Last Updated: March 5, 2021