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Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

The PBGC is a governmental corporation that acts as an insurer of ERISA defined benefit pension plans.


PBGC is headed by a Director who reports to a Board of Directors consisting of the Secretaries of Labor, Commerce and Treasury, with the Secretary of Labor as Chairman.

The Corporation is aided by a seven-member Advisory Committee appointed by the President of the United States to represent the interests of labor, employers, and the general public. ERISA outlines several specific responsibilities for PBGC's Advisory Committee, including advising on policies and procedures for PBGC's investments, the trusteeship of terminated plans, and on other matters as determined by PBGC.


Defined benefit plans must pay premiums to the PBGC to insure the payment of promised benefits. See PBGC Premiums for more information.

Maximum Benefits

The PBGC insures benefits up to a limit that is adjusted annually. This limit is sufficient to fully guarantee the benefits of most participants in defined benefit plans, but large benefits may not be completely protected.

See also PBGC Appeals Board.

Plan Termination

Terminating defined benefit plans that pay premiums to the PBGC must follow PBGC procedures for termination. These procedures require several notices to be distributed, as well as the filing of forms with the PBGC.

A plan with sufficient assets to pay all benefits may terminate in a standard termination. A plan with insufficient assets must terminate in a distress termination. In some circumstances, the PBGC itself may terminate a plan.

General Guidance

PBGC landing page for practitioners

PBGC Regulations

The PBGC has the power to issue regulations regarding premiums, the termination of plans, and other events.

  • See the PBGC Final Rules page for final regulations since 1996.

Technical Updates and Other Guidance

Penalties and Appeals

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