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Workers & Retirees

Appealing Formal Determinations

Appeals Board FAQ

When PBGC completes its review of a terminated pension plan, PBGC sends each participant a formal determination letter. Your formal benefit determination letter explains the benefits PBGC will pay, and it may include a benefit statement. The formal determination also explains your right to appeal, and it should include a copy of following publication:

Your Right to Appeal [PDF] Your Right to Appeal [Text]

If you have received your formal determination, you then have the right to appeal if you can provide a specific reason why you believe the determination may be inaccurate. But remember, you have only 45 days from the date of the formal determination letter to submit an appeal. If you need more time, You May Request Additional Time to File Your Appeal. Please note that any request for an extension of time must be sent before the 45-day time period expires.

The Appeals Board cannot accept your appeal if PBGC has not yet sent you a formal determination. If you simply have a question about your benefit, you should call PBGC's Customer Contact Center, instead of filing an appeal. The Customer Contact Center's toll-free telephone number is 1-800-400-7242. (For TTY/ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) users, call the Federal Relay Service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 1-800-400-7242.) You may also contact the Customer Contact Center by email through the following link: Personal pension questions. Please read PBGC's privacy policy before sending an email to PBGC.

You will find additional information about filing an appeal through the above link to "Your Right to Appeal." If you have questions about how to file an appeal or a request for a filing extension, or would like information about your appeal, you may call the Appeals Board, toll-free, at 1-800-400-7242. You should send your appeal or request for a filing extension to:

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
ATTN:  Appeals Board
P.O. Box 151750
Alexandria, VA  22315-1750

You also may fax your appeal or request for a filing extension to the Appeals Board at 202-326-4095 or 202-326-4091, or send it by email to appeals@pbgc.gov. The Appeals Board will acknowledge your correspondence within one week of receipt.

The Appeal Board's Purpose and Procedures

PBGC created the Appeals Board so that persons who believe that PBGC's determinations may be inaccurate may fully present their positions to PBGC so that PBGC can correct any errors. The Appeals Board, however, cannot provide relief based on hardship or a belief that PBGC's determination is unfair. An Appeals Board decision is the final step in PBGC's administrative review process.

The Appeals Board provides an independent review of the issues you raise based on PBGC records and the information you submit. Therefore, it is vital that your written appeal specifically explain why you believe PBGC's determination may be inaccurate and the result you are seeking. It is also important that you include all the facts and documents you wish the Appeals Board to consider.

The Appeals Board sometimes asks its staff or PBGC's Benefit Administration and Payment Department (BAPD) to respond to an appeal. This often will result in a quicker response from PBGC than if the Appeals Board were to decide your appeal itself. If your appeal is answered by Appeals Board staff or BAPD and you do not agree with the explanation, you will have 45 days from the date of their letter to send the Appeals Board a written statement of the specific reason why you believe PBGC's determination is wrong. But if you do not follow-up in writing within the 45-day period, the Appeals Board will not review your case.

PBGC's "Rules for Administrative Review of Agency Decisions" describe the procedures that apply to the Appeals Board. The Rules are found in Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 4003

Link to Appeals Board Decisions

You can access a database of Appeals Board decisions through the following link:
Appeals Board decisions