Introduction of a Bill to Amend Title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to Provide for a Guarantee By the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for Qualified Preretirement…by Former Representative Thomas E. Petri
Posted on 2013-02-06
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Mr. PETRI. Mr. Speaker, today I am introducing a bill to rectify an
inequity regarding the benefits provided to surviving spouses through
the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). I am pleased to be
joined by Representative Rob Andrews in this effort.
PBGC provides pre-retirement survivor coverage, which provides a benefit to the surviving spouse of a pension participant who dies before retirement. However, in the case of a multiemployer pension plan turned over to PBGC, this benefit is guaranteed only if the plan participant dies before the plan is turned over. For single-employer plans the benefit is guaranteed regardless of when the participant dies.
The PBGC website acknowledges this discrepancy, stating . . . For the most part, the PBGC guarantees the same type of benefits for multiemployer pension plans as for benefits in the [[Page E106]] single-employer program, with the exception that preretirement survivor annuities are forfeitable in multiemployer plans if the participant has not died as of the termination date.
The debate over how to best provide income security for older Americans will continue for some time. However, in the meantime, it is unconscionable that a widow or widower would be denied the modest benefits provided under the PBGC multiemployer plan simply because his or her spouse did not die before the plan was turned over to the PBGC.
This discrepancy appears inadvertent and deserves to be corrected by Congress. I ask my colleagues for their support of this legislation so we can address this issue quickly.