PBGC Seeks OMB Nod on Extended Info Collection on Multiemployer Plan Regs

By John Iekel • July 09, 2018 • 0 Comments
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to extend the collection of information concerning regulations related to multiemployer pension plans. Absent the extension, OMB approval will end on Nov. 30, 2018.

The PBGC wants the OMB to extend its approval for the data collection of three years. OMB approval is necessary because an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently
valid OMB control number.

The Information Collections

The OMB has approved and issued control numbers for three collections of information concerning the PBGC’s regulations relating to multiemployer plans. These collections include:

1. Terminations of multiemployer plans (OMB control number 1212-0020)

The regulation requires the plan sponsor of a terminated plan to submit a notice of termination to the PBGC. It also requires the plan sponsor of a mass-withdrawal-terminated plan that is closing out to give notices to participants regarding the election of alternative forms of benefit distribution and, if the plan is not closing out, to obtain PBGC approval to pay lump sums greater than $1,750 or to pay nonvested plan benefits.

The PBGC uses the information in a notice of termination to assess the likelihood that PBGC financial assistance will be needed. Plan participants and beneficiaries use the information on alternative forms of benefit to make personal financial decisions. The PBGC uses the information in an application for approval to pay lump sums greater than $1,750 or to pay nonvested plan benefits to determine whether such payments should be permitted.

2. Notices of insolvency (OMB control number 1212-0033)

The recipients of these notices are the PBGC, contributing employers, employee organizations representing participants, participants and beneficiaries.

The regulation establishes the procedure for complying with these notice requirements. The PBGC uses the information submitted to estimate cash needs for financial assistance to troubled plans. The collective bargaining parties use the information to decide whether additional plan contributions will be made to avoid the insolvency and consequent benefit suspensions. Plan participants and beneficiaries use the information in personal financial decisions.

3. Duties of plan sponsors following a mass withdrawal (OMB control number 1212-0032)

The regulation requires a plan sponsor to give notices of benefit reduction, notices of insolvency and notices of insolvency benefit level to the PBGC and to participants and beneficiaries and, if necessary, to apply to the PBGC for financial assistance.

The PBGC uses the information it receives to make determinations ERISA requires, to identify and estimate the cash needed for financial assistance to terminated plans and to verify how appropriate the financial assistance payments are. Plan participants and beneficiaries use the information to make personal financial decisions.

Public Comments Sought

The PBGC is seeking public comments on these collections of information to better enable it to:

  • evaluate whether the proposed collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

  • evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collections of information, including the validity of the methodologies and assumptions used;

  • enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

  • minimize the burden of the collections of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Public comments are due within 60 days of when the announcement concerning the PBGC request appears in the Federal Register; it appeared in the edition of July 6, 2018.

All comments must include the agency’s name (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, or PBGC) and refer to the OMB control number(s) and the specific part number(s) of the regulation(s) they relate to. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
Email: send comments to paperwork.comments@pbgc.gov.
Mail or Hand Delivery: send or deliver comments to :Regulatory Affairs Division, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005–4026.