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Division of Plan Benefits Security (PBS)

MISSION AND FUNCTION: The Division of Plan Benefits Security provides legal services to the Employee Benefits Security Administration in connection with the implementation and enforcement of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Federal Employees Retirement Security Act (FERSA).

These functions include the development of rules, exemptions, opinions and interpretative guides. The Division also represents the Secretary in civil litigation involving ERISA and certain administrative proceedings regarding civil penalties imposed by the Secretary under ERISA. The Division also coordinates the ERISA civil litigation and civil penalty administrative litigation conducted by the ERISA enforcement components in the Regional Solicitors Offices.

STATUTES: The Division is responsible for the legal work arising out of the Department's administration and enforcement of (1) the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and (2) the Federal Employees Retirement Security Act (FERSA).

DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES: Most of the professional staff is engaged in full-time Federal Court litigation of matters arising under ERISA. This litigation consists of both District Court enforcement cases arising out of investigations conducted by the Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration and an amicus curiae program designed to clarify and provide consistency to judicial interpretations of ERISA.

In addition to its role in Federal litigation, PBSD is actively involved in all regulatory and legislative Departmental activity involving ERISA and health care reform. This role involves providing technical assistance and support to congressional staffs, departmental and administration policy makers, the regulated community, and plan participants and beneficiaries. It also involves drafting and reviewing legislative proposals, Interpretive Bulletins, advisory opinions, class exemptions, and policy initiatives involving ERISA.

The text of amicus briefs filed by PBSD over recent months can be found at the Office of the Solicitor SOL Briefs web page.

Summaries of SOL's federal court ERISA cases pending during the past year can be found at 2013 ERISA Litigation and Significant Issues in Litigation. (PDF)

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