DOL Announces Defined Benefit Plan Relief in Wake of Hurricane Irma

The Department of Labor’s Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)—the DOL division with primary oversight over defined benefit pension plans—has issued Disaster Relief Announcement 17-10. It describes special relief the agency is granting to plans and to designated persons (those responsible for meeting a PBGC deadline) following Hurricane Irma events in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The PBGC announcement cites IRS news release VI-2017-01 as setting the timing parameters for deadline extensions. Certain events whose normal deadline is on or after September 6, 2017, and on or before January 31, 2018, may be completed through January 31, 2018. The relief pertains to the same area identified in IRS news release VI-2017-01. This includes the islands of St. John and St. Thomas.

The deadline relief applies to the following actions.

  • Payment of PBGC insurance premiums (single and multi-employer plans)
  • Filing termination notices (single-employer plans)
  • Completing the distribution of plan assets (single-employer plans)
  • Filing post-distribution certification, Form 501 (single-employer plans)
  • Filing for distress termination, Form 601
  • Filing a reportable event notice
  • Filing Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan
  • Certain plans with underfunding, missed contribution, or funding waivers that must file special actuarial information within 15 days following the filing of their Form 5500, will have until January 31, 2018 for such filing.