WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced today that its Employee Benefits Security Administration is proposing to collect information from plan administrators on a voluntarily basis to establish an online search tool to help America’s workers locate lost retirement savings they earned. Retirement plans, including pension and 401(k) plans, sometimes lose track of people owed benefits due to incomplete recordkeeping, people changing employers and other reasons. In other cases, workers may lose track of their retirement plans after their former employer goes out of business or when companies merge. People in these situations are considered “missing participants.” The SECURE 2.0 Act directs EBSA to establish a search tool to help missing participants and their beneficiaries find their retirement benefits by Dec. 29, 2024. The agency needs assistance from plan administrators to populate its online “Retirement Savings Lost and Found” database. The notice of proposed information collection asks plan administrators to provide the information voluntarily, and it proposes that plan administrators can attach the requested information to their 2023 Form 5500 once they receive instructions on how to do so. “The fundamental purpose of any retirement plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act is to pay promised benefits, and the Retirement Savings Lost and Found database will be another tool to help plans do so,” said Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Lisa M. Gomez. “Our goal, which we believe plan sponsors and administrators share, is making sure that workers and their beneficiaries receive the retirement benefits they earned and were promised. We need to work together to achieve that goal.” The notice describes the specific data elements the agency is seeking and how information may be submitted. EBSA is seeking comments and ideas on how to improve the information request so that the database can successfully connect individuals who have lost track of their retirement plan with the benefits they are owed. EBSA currently conducts extensive investigations into circumstances surrounding missing participants. Since 2017, enforcement efforts have recovered more than $6.7 billion for missing participants and beneficiaries. EBSA is hopeful that this new search tool will help participants and beneficiaries locate their money more quickly and more efficiently, helping plans reduce their missing participant counts.The notice of proposed information collection request can be accessed on the Federal Register website. Written comments on the proposal should be submitted on or before June 17, 2024. Learn more about EBSA and its work to protect job-based healthcare and retirement plans.  

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