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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

Last Friday marked the official start of the 2014 holiday shopping season. And today, as many gear up to score "Cyber Monday's" best deals, many Americans are still struggling. And that includes a number of PBGC's customers. That struggle is reflected in the increased number of inquiries we have received about loans or payment increases.

PBGC does not have the authority to make loans. If you are not yet retired, however, you will have several options as to how your benefit can be paid. Options include different benefit levels for your surviving spouse or other beneficiaries. "Your PBGC Benefit Options" provides more information about these options for meeting your financial needs.

While Congress provided for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for Social Security benefits, it did not establish similar measures for PBGC payments. Your benefit amount will not increase with inflation.

We know how important every penny is these days, so know that you can count on PBGC to pay you the maximum amount allowable by law, and that your payment will be made on time every month.

PBGC: A Year in Review

  |   November 18, 2014

With members of Congress, President Gerald R. Ford signed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act(ERISA) of 1974 on Monday, September 2, 1974. ERISA established the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

On Sept. 2, PBGC celebrated its 40th year of protecting pensions. And yesterday, PBGC released its FY 2014 Annual Report, highlighting the agency's accomplishments and areas for improvement. The review period covers Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014.

PBGC's deficit increased to $62 billion in FY 2014, up from $36 billion the year before. The deficit increase is largely driven by the declining financial condition of a few multiemployer plans. The deficit in the multiemployer program grew to $42.4 billion, compared with $8.3 billion last year.  This increase is largely due to the fact that several additional multiemployer plans are now expected to run out of money within the next decade. But the single-employer program's deficit saw an improvement and dropped to $19.3 billion, down from $27.4 billion in 2013.

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PBGC will pay retirement benefits for nearly 1,400 current and future retirees at White Rose Inc., an independent food wholesaler based in Carteret, N.J.

The agency is stepping in because White Rose plans to sell its assets in bankruptcy and the pension plan will be abandoned. The company's plan, Third Amended and Restated Di Giorgio Retirement Plan, will end as of Oct. 27, 2014.

PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by the plan's retirees up to the legal limit of about $59,320 a year for a 65-year-old.

Retirees will continue to get benefits without interruption, and future retirees can apply for benefits as soon as they are eligible.

Employees and retirees who are participants in White Rose's plan will continue to receive benefits from the company until PBGC assumes responsibility.

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ReichholdPBGC will pay retirement benefits for more than 4,500 current and future retirees at Reichhold Inc., a manufacturer of resins used for composites, based in Durham, N.C.

The agency is stepping in because the company plans to sell its assets in bankruptcy and the pension plan will be abandoned. The Reichhold Inc. Retirement Plan will end as of Oct. 17, 2014.

PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by the plan's retirees up to the legal limit of about $59,320 a year for a 65-year-old.

Retirees will continue to get benefits without interruption, and future retirees can apply for benefits as soon as they are eligible.

Employees and retirees who are participants in the Reichhold plan will continue to receive benefits from the company until PBGC assumes responsibility.

According to PBGC estimates, the plan is 70 percent funded with $228 million in assets to pay $325 million in benefit liabilities. The agency is expected to cover $90 million of the $97 million shortfall.

On Sept. 30, 2014, Reichhold and three of its affiliates sought Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. The company said in court papers that financiers Third Avenue Management, Black Diamond Capital Management, and J.P. Morgan Chase, which hold Reichhold's senior secured notes, intend to be the lead bidders for Reichhold's assets. An auction, sale hearing, and closing are slated for Dec. 19, 2014; Dec. 22, 2014; and January 30, 2015, respectively.

As more of our customers seek online service, we continue to look for ways to make our website easier to navigate. The following tools will help you reach your online destination quickly and easily:

  • A-Z index: Similar to the index in the back of a book, this feature lists the name of every page and our most popular documents. If you're not sure where you found that page you were reading last week, here's where you can track it down.
  • Search: This improved page links you to our most popular pages, such as the unclaimed pension search page. You can also use the search bar at the top of every page to search the entire site. Need help getting started? Visit our Search Help page for tips.
  • Glossary: We aim to write in plain language, but in the complicated world of pension benefits, sometimes a technical term is needed. For that reason, we've included a glossary of technical terms.

Links to these and other key features, such as FAQs, Spanish content, and contact information, are located at the top of every page.

But wait, there's more! We also have tools to help you determine if you're in the right place, and if not, where else to look.

Our New to PBGC page explains what we do. Our Finding a Lost Pension page helps track down a pension from your past, and our External Resources page provides channels for further pension information.

We hope you'll have a look around, see some things of interest, and maybe even tell your friends. Happy surfing!

Photo: Alice Maroni

Earlier this month, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez visited PBGC to praise the agency for its good works and to acknowledge PBGC's 40th anniversary. At the same time, the agency officially ushered in a new era of leadership.

Alice Maroni was introduced as the Acting Director. Maroni is no stranger to the agency, serving as Chief Management Officer for the past three years. During his talk, Perez praised Maroni with a vote of confidence, saying the agency will be well-served by her leadership. "You are in very good hands with Alice." he said. "And we have all the confidence in the world, as I suspect you do as well, in her many talents."

Those talents were honed by a distinguished career in public service. Maroni spent a decade at the Smithsonian as Chief Financial Officer, before coming to PBGC in May 2011. Prior to that, she held leadership and management positions at the Department of Defense and on Capitol Hill.

"If you know me, then you know that I am committed to the mission of PBGC," Maroni said in her first agency wide address as Acting Director.

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