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Employee Benefits Security Administration

Fact Sheet

Periodic Pension Benefit Statements

EBSA plans to enhance retirement security and increase pension plan transparency by ensuring that workers automatically receive timely benefit statements from their pension plans, ultimately supporting the Secretary's good jobs for everyone policy.

Key Action: Proposed Regulation

The Department's EBSA plans to publish a proposed regulation in September 2010 requiring plan administrators to automatically furnish timely benefit statements to plan participants.

Key Concern and Issues to be Addressed

The proposed regulation will ensure that workers receive statements of their total accrued benefits and total nonforfeitable benefits, if any, written in a clear and concise manner.

Background

  • Section 508(a) of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) amended section 105 of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to require plans that are subject to ERISA to automatically provide participants and certain beneficiaries with individual pension benefit statements.
  • Prior to PPA, workers generally had a right to a benefit statement only upon request, limited to one statement in a 12-month period.
  • Among other things, the amendments to section 105 establish an affirmative obligation to automatically furnish pension benefit statements - at least once each quarter, in the case of individual account plans that permit participants to direct their investments; at least once each year, in the case of individual account plans that do not permit participants to direct their investments; and at least once every three years in the case of defined benefit plans.
  • The amendments also increase the amount of information required to be contained in pension benefit statements for both individual account and defined benefit plans.
  • The amendments to section 105 are generally applicable for plan years beginning after December 31, 2006, with special rules for plans maintained pursuant to collective bargaining agreements.