Skip to page content
Employee Benefits Security Administration

EBSA Final Rule

Additional Extension of Time Frames for Employee Benefit Plans Affected by Hurricane Katrina [10/12/2005]

[PDF Version]

Volume 70, Number 196, Page 59619-59620


[[Page 59619]]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Part IV





Department of Labor





-----------------------------------------------------------------------



Employee Benefits Security Administration



-----------------------------------------------------------------------



29 CFR Parts 2560 and 2590





Department of the Treasury





-----------------------------------------------------------------------



Internal Revenue Service



-----------------------------------------------------------------------

26 CFR Part 54



Additional Extension of Time Frames for Employee Benefit Plans Affected 
by Hurricane Katrina; Final Rule


[[Page 59620]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employee Benefits Security Administration

29 CFR Parts 2560 and 2590

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Internal Revenue Service

26 CFR Part 54

 
Additional Extension of Time Frames for Employee Benefit Plans 
Affected by Hurricane Katrina

AGENCIES: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of 
Labor; Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury.

ACTION: Extension of time frames.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This document further extends certain time frames under the 
Employee Retirement Income Security Act and Internal Revenue Code for 
employee benefit plans, participants, and beneficiaries affected by 
Hurricane Katrina.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 12, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Turner, Employee Benefits Security 
Administration, Department of Labor, at 202-693-8335 for HIPAA issues; 
Fred Wong, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of 
Labor, at 202-693-8523 for COBRA notice and claims procedure issues; or 
Russ Weinheimer, Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury, 
at 202-622-6080 for HIPAA, COBRA coverage, and COBRA premium issues.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On September 21, 2005, the Employee Benefits Security 
Administration and the Internal Revenue Service published a joint 
extension of time frames to help participants, beneficiaries, qualified 
beneficiaries, and claimants directly affected by Hurricane Katrina who 
might encounter problems in exercising their health coverage 
portability or continuation coverage rights, or in filing or perfecting 
a benefit claim. See 70 FR 55500. (``Original Hurricane Katrina 
Extension''). This relief was provided under authority in section 518 
of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 
U.S.C. 1148, and section 7508A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 
(Code), 26 U.S.C. 7508A.\1\ Shortly after the notice was published, the 
Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 (KETRA) was enacted. Pub. L. 
109-73. Section 403 of KETRA provides that any relief provided by the 
Secretary of the Treasury under section 7508A of the Code shall be for 
a period ending not earlier than February 28, 2006. Accordingly, this 
document extends the end of the tolling period of the ERISA and Code 
provisions under the Original Hurricane Katrina Extension through 
February 28, 2006.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ ERISA section 518 and Code section 7508A generally provide 
that, in the case of an employee benefit plan, sponsor, 
administrator, participant, beneficiary, or other person with 
respect to such a plan, affected by a Presidentially declared 
disaster, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the 
Secretaries of Labor and the Treasury may prescribe (by notice or 
otherwise) a period of up to one year that may be disregarded in 
determining the date by which any action is required or permitted to 
be completed. Section 518 of ERISA and section 7508A of the Code 
further provide that no plan shall be treated as failing to be 
operated in accordance with the terms of the plan solely as a result 
of complying with the postponement of a deadline under those 
sections.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Agencies believe that such relief is immediately needed to 
preserve and protect the benefits of participants and beneficiaries in 
affected plans. Accordingly, the Agencies have determined, pursuant to 
section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553 (b) and 
(d), that there is good cause for making the relief provided by this 
notice effective immediately upon publication and that notice and 
public participation may result in undue delay and, therefore, be 
contrary to public interest.
    The relief provided by this document supplements other Hurricane 
Katrina disaster relief, which can be accessed on the Internet at 
http://www.dol.gov and http://www.irs.gov. Information on the scope of the geographic areas eligible for relief is available at http://

http://www.fema.gov/news/disasters.fema.


II. Relief

    The tolling periods described in paragraphs III.A and III.B. of the 
Original Hurricane Katrina Extension at 70 FR 55500 are changed for 
participants, beneficiaries, qualified beneficiaries, or claimants 
directly affected by Hurricane Katrina (as defined in paragraph 
III.C.(1) of the Original Hurricane Katrina Extension) and group health 
plans directly affected by Hurricane Katrina (as defined in paragraph 
III.C.(3) of the Original Hurricane Katrina Extension). The period 
group health plans, disability and other welfare plans, pension plans, 
and health insurance issuers subject to Part 7 of ERISA must disregard 
is from August 29, 2005 through February 28, 2006.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 4th day of October, 2005.
Ann Combs,
Assistant Secretary, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 
Department of Labor.

    Signed this 7th day of October, 2005.
Mark E. Matthews,
Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, Internal Revenue 
Service, Department of the Treasury.
[FR Doc. 05-20547 Filed 10-7-05; 2:10 pm]

BILLING CODE 4510-29-P