WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration today issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2023-01 with frequently asked questions on the annual funding notice requirements for multiemployer pension plans that received special financial assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act.

The act provides for special financial assistance to eligible underfunded multiemployer defined benefit pension plans under Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. regulations that detail requirements for special financial assistance applications. Plans that have received assistance must include disclosures regarding the special financial assistance and certain related restrictions, limitations, and conditions in the plan’s annual funding notice required by section 101(f) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

“The annual funding notice helps keep participants and their families informed about the financial status of their pension plan. The Department of Labor expects plan administrators of multiemployer plans receiving special financial assistance to make annual funding notice disclosures relating to the assistance that comply with section 101(f) and the department’s related regulations. Today’s Field Assistance Bulletin will help plan administrators fulfill those responsibilities with a set of frequently asked questions and answers and model language,” said Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Lisa M. Gomez.

The bulletin explains that, pending further guidance, the department will treat compliance with the bulletin’s guidance as constituting a reasonable, good faith interpretation of the annual funding notice disclosure requirements of section 101(f) of ERISA and the department’s related regulations with respect to the issues discussed in the bulletin. The bulletin also states that, with respect to plans that have already prepared and begun to furnish their annual funding notices for the plan’s 2022 year, the department expects the plan administrator to consider the bulletin’s guidance in evaluating whether the annual funding notice disclosures relating to special financial assistance were consistent with a reasonable, good faith interpretation of section 101(f) and the department’s related regulations.Read the Field Assistance Bulletin.

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