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Guaranteed Benefits

Guaranteed Benefits

This section applies only to single-employer plans. The guarantee limit for multiemployer plans is very different. For information about how the multiemployer plan guarantee works, see our Multiemployer FAQ page. For detailed information about how it has affected participants, see our Multiemployer Guarantee Study. Practitioners may wish to review Staff Responses to Practitioner Questions about Guaranteed Benefits. These responses reflect the views of individual staff members and do not represent the official position of PBGC.

Benefits PBGC Guarantees

PBGC guarantees the "basic benefits" you earned before your pension plan’s termination date (or the date your employer’s bankruptcy proceeding began, if applicable) up to legal limits set by Congress. Benefits include:

  • Pension benefits at normal retirement age
  • Most early retirement benefits
  • Annuity benefits for survivors of plan participants
  • Disability benefits (see exception below)

Benefits PBGC Does Not Guarantee

  • Health and welfare benefits
  • Vacation pay
  • Severance benefits
  • Lump-sum death benefits for a death that occurs after the date the plan ended
  • Disability benefits for a disability that occurs after the plan’s termination date (or the date your employer’s bankruptcy proceeding began, if applicable)

Legal Limits on PBGC's Guarantees

  • Generally, PBGC does not guarantee any monthly pension amount that is greater than the monthly benefit your plan would have provided if you had retired at your normal retirement age.
  • The maximum amount that PBGC guarantees is set each year under provisions of ERISA. For more information, see: Maximum monthly guarantee tables
  • Higher limits may apply for people who met their plan’s requirements for a disability pension (whether they are receiving a disability pension or a non-disability pension) before the plan’s termination date. For more information, see “Guarantees for disabled participants.
  • PBGC may not fully guarantee your benefits if your plan was created or amended to increase benefits within five years before its termination date.
  • If the plan terminated while your employer was in a bankruptcy proceeding that began on or after September 16, 2006, guarantees are determined as of the date your employer’s bankruptcy proceeding began.
  • Additional limits may apply for certain airline industry plans.

For more information, see General FAQs About PBGC.

Last updated July 25, 2018