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PBGC Blog: Retirement Matters

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has issued a request for information (RFI).  The RFI requests public feedback on proposed "two-pool" alternative withdrawal liability arrangements. 

When an employer partially or completely withdraws from a multiemployer pension plan, the employer may be required to pay withdrawal liability. These payments help cover the employer's share of unfunded benefit obligations that are left in the plan when the employer is gone. If unaddressed, those unfunded benefit obligations could have a negative effect on the plan's funding; that can increase the burden and risk to remaining employers, plan participants, and the multiemployer insurance program. 

PBGC has been studying recently proposed arrangements for how plans assess withdrawal liability. Under the law, plans must choose a means to assess withdrawal liability from among options set forth in the law and regulations or ask PBGC for permission to use an alternate method.  A number of plans have asked to use a "two pool" alternative method.    More...

The vital role PBGC plays in providing retirement security is highlighted in our 2014 state-by-state pension plan information. As the map shows, our economic reach spans across all 50 states and U.S. Territories. For example, PBGC paid $101 million to retirees in Colorado, and $287 million to retirees in Indiana.

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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, 2014, 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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Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, on September 15, we celebrate the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month. During this celebration, which runs through October 15, we recognize the significant impact Hispanic and Latino Americans have had on American history. We celebrate their rich culture and countless achievements. And this year's theme, "Hispanics: A legacy of history, a present of action and a future of success," reminds us of their profound impact on American culture. 

In his proclamation, President Obama said our Nation is strengthened when we lift up the Hispanic community. He also said when we create more ladders of opportunity, we provide hope for all Americans to reach their greatest potential.

But when looking at retirement preparedness, Hispanic Americans are often lower on the ladder than the general population.

Although many Americans face difficulty planning for retirement, Hispanic Americans face unique challenges that other minority groups do not. Hispanic Americans typically have less access to employer-provided benefits and contribute less on their own. The reason? Greater emphasis is usually placed on short-term financial security, such as eliminating debt. Saving for retirement is simply not a short-term priority.

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PBGC Multiemployer Plan System is in Increasing Touble.

The news isn't good for 1.5 million people across the country in a swath of multiemployer plans. According to PBGC's Projections Report, released last week, these plans are likely to fail putting the retirement benefits of current and future employees in jeopardy. Not only that, but if those plans fail it may bring down the entire system and with it the retirement security of the 10 million people within it.

Right now, there are more than 10 million people and their families covered by about 1,400 multiemployer plans in industries like construction, mining, supermarkets, transportation, and hospitality. Massive losses during the economic slowdown in 2008-2009, left many plans seriously underfunded. The economy has improved significantly, but for the plans most in trouble, the improved economy was not enough. These plans responded by increasing contributions and reducing future benefits but it still wasn't enough.

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Despite substantial economic and market gains, multiemployer pension plans covering about 1.5 million people are severely underfunded, threatening benefit cuts for current and future retirees, according to the FY 2013 Projections Report released today by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. By comparison, the financial situation for private single-employer plans, which cover about 30 million participants, is projected to improve.

Image showing multiemployer plans coverage

As required by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, PBGC annually provides an actuarial evaluation of its future expected operations and financial status. The FY 2013 Projections Report (formerly called the "Exposure Report") released today provides a range of estimates of the future status of private pension plans and their effect on PBGC's financial condition, drawn from hundreds of economic scenarios.