Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation - Plan Terminations

Plan Terminations

An employer can voluntarily ask to close its single-employer pension plan in either a standard or distress termination. In a standard termination, the plan must have enough money to pay all accrued benefits, whether vested or not, before the plan can end. After workers receive promised benefits, in the form of a lump sum payment or an insurance company annuity, PBGC's guarantee ends. In a distress termination, where the plan does not have enough money to pay all benefits, the employer must prove severe financial distress - for instance the likelihood that continuing the plan would force the company to shut down. PBGC will pay guaranteed benefits, usually covering a large part of total earned benefits, and make strong efforts to recover funds from the employer.

In addition, PBGC may seek to terminate a single-employer plan without the employer's consent to protect the interests of workers, the plan or PBGC's insurance fund. PBGC must act to terminate a plan that cannot pay current benefits.

For multiemployer pension plans that are unable to pay guaranteed benefits when due, PBGC will provide financial assistance to the plan, usually a loan, so that retirees continue receiving their benefits.

Terminations are covered under Title IV of ERISA.

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