THE COLUMBIA HOUSE PENSION PLAN
|Plan Sponsor||DIRECT BRANDS, INC.|
|Date of Plan Termination||December 31, 2015|
|Date of PBGC Trusteeship||April 07, 2016|
1: PBGC has taken over as trustee of your pension plan. PBGC is now responsible for paying your pension benefits up to the limits set by law.
2: PBGC is verifying plan and participant information to calculate pension benefits. PBGC has sent letters to notify all participants and beneficiaries that we took over as trustee of your plan.
3: PBGC is calculating pension benefits, subject to legal limits, owed to all participants and beneficiaries.
PBGC has finished reviewing and verifying plan and participant information. We are now calculating the pension benefits, subject to the legal limits, owed to everyone in the plan.
4: PBGC has completed calculating pension benefits, subject to legal limits, owed to all participants and beneficiaries in the plan. We are now sending formal determinations of pension benefits to participants and beneficiaries.
5. All reviews, verifications and calculations have been completed. Formal determination letters describing the amount of pension benefits have been sent to participants and beneficiaries.
Frequently Asked Questions:
A: PBGC is the federal insurance program for pension plans sponsored by private employers. When an employer cannot maintain its pension plan, PBGC steps in to make sure that workers and retirees receive their benefits. For more information, see our frequently asked questions.
A: The pension plan's sponsor, Filmed Entertainment Inc. (FEI), also known as Direct Brands, filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition on August 10, 2015. In the course of the bankruptcy, substantially all the company's assets were sold. The purchaser did not assume this pension plan or the the Direct Brands Plan.
A: No. PBGC pays benefits up to legal limits set by Congress. See our website for information on limitations and the maximum guaranteed amounts for 2016.
A: No. PBGC has completed its initial review of the Columbia House plan, and we have determined that the legal limits will not affect Columbia House participants. All participants will receive the full benefit they earned under the plan.
A: If you are not currently receiving a pension payment, you can request a benefit estimate through PBGC’s online service, MyPBA. However, we cannot generate the estimate online. We will send your estimate by mail, generally no more 45 days after your request. At times, high demand for estimates delays our response, but currently PBGC does not have any outstanding estimate requests. For more information and to sign up for our online service, go to MyPBA.
A: Yes. If you are currently receiving a benefit, you will see no change to your benefit amount.
A: Under the terms of the Columbia House Pension Plan, you can begin to receive your normal retirement (full) benefit at age 65 if you have five years of service. You can receive an early retirement (reduced) benefit if you are:
- Age 62, with five years of service, or
- Age 55, with 10 years of service.
You can request an application to begin your benefits 4 months prior to your early or normal retirement date.
A: Generally, PBGC pays only monthly benefits. However, if the value of the benefit is $5,000 or less, you may request your benefit in a lump sum. PBGC can pay lump sums only after we have completed processing the pension plan, which typically takes up to four years after we take responsibility for the plan.
Q: The application to apply for benefits includes a question about my current employment. If I am at retirement age and still working for a company that was an affiliate of Direct Brands (such as Bookspan LLC or TAW), can I apply for my pension and start to collect now?
A: If you are age 65 or older, you may begin to receive your pension, even if you still work for an affiliate of Direct Brands. However, you cannot begin to receive early retirement benefits if you are still working for a Direct Brands affiliate.
Q: If I am at retirement age and employed by a company NOT affiliated with Direct Brands, Bookspan or TAW, can I apply for my pension and start to collect now?
A: If you do not work for an affiliate of Direct Brands, you may retire early if eligible or wait until age 65 to begin your pension.
A: PBGC has sent letters to all plan participants notifying them that PBGC is now the trustee of their plan. We are currently collecting, reviewing, and analyzing plan and participant data. Over the next few years, we will perform an audit of the participant data and determine the value of the assets in the pension plan. After these steps are completed, we will calculate benefits and notify each plan participant of their final benefit amount. This process could take up to four years to complete.