DOL Expands Defined Benefit Plan Relief to Counties in Florida

The steady stream of special relief granted to retirement plans and taxpayers in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma continues. 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 17-11, which expands special relief granted to plans and designated persons (those responsible for meeting a PBGC deadline) following Hurricane Irma events.

Announcement 17-10, issued on September 11, identified relief for the islands of St. John and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Announcement 17-11 now expands this relief to include the Florida counties of Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, DuVal, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota, and St. Johns. Note that the DOL could further expand the identified disaster to other areas as well.

These announcements explain that certain events whose normal deadline is on or after September 4, 2017, and on or before January 31, 2018, may be completed through January 31, 2018.

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.