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Required Beginning Date

Deadline to Start Your Benefit


If you earned a pension benefit in a PBGC-trusteed pension plan, you may start to take it as soon as you are eligible under the plan’s rules. However, you must start taking your benefit no later than your required beginning date. Required beginning dates are set by Congress and enforced under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules.

Your required beginning date depends on the year you were born. You must start your benefit by April 1 of the year following the year when you reach age:

  • 70 ½, if you were born on or before June 30, 1949
  • 72, if you were born July 1, 1949-December 31, 1950
  • 73, if you were born 1951-19591
  • 75, if you were born 1960 or later

If you have a benefit under PBGC's Missing Participants Program, these required beginning dates also apply to you.

If your required beginning date has passed and you haven’t started your benefit, please contact PBGC right away to apply for your benefit. PBGC will send you a reminder shortly before your required beginning date.

1 If you were born in 1959, please note: The law is unclear as to whether you must start your benefit at age 73 or age 75. Congress is expected to clarify in a technical correction before 2032.

Surviving Spouses and Beneficiaries

Different rules apply to the surviving spouse or beneficiary of the person who earned the benefit, called the participant.

If the participant dies before starting their benefit or before their required beginning date:

Surviving spouses

You must start your benefit either by December 1 of the year after the participant dies or by December 1 of the year when the participant reached mandatory retirement age, whichever is later.

Non-spouse beneficiaries

You must start your benefit by December 1 of the year after the participant dies.

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