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News Release

Computer Firm Wins Competition To Process Annual Report Filings

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) has selected National Computer Systems, Inc. of Iowa City, Iowa, to complete the development of its new Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Filing Acceptance System, known as EFAST.

In addition to providing for an initial period to scale-up its system, the contract also allows five option periods to process the Form 5500 series reports through June 30, 2005.

NCS was one of two contractors awarded contracts in September, 1998 to design and develop fully functional minimum-capacity systems. When the firms completed their “small scale” system assignments, PWBA evaluated the systems to determine which system most fully met the federal government's needs. PWBA then selected NCS because its system represented the best value for the government. NCS will process the forms at its Lawrence, Kans. facility.

“This new system upgrades our technology capabilities to meet the challenges of the future,” said Alan D. Lebowitz, the pension agency’s deputy assistant secretary for program operations. “EFAST make paperless electronic filing of Form 5500s a reality, which will result in lower costs and greater service.”

The federal government uses the information provided by employee benefit plans in the Form 5500 Annual Reports in a variety of ways. The information will be available to the regulatory agencies which administer various sections of ERISA — — the Labor Department, the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and to employee benefit plan participants upon request.

Since 1976 the forms have been processed by IRS service centers which provided copies of the forms and data tapes to the agencies responsible for administering the federal employee benefits law.

Under the new system, plan filers will submit paper filings that range in length from a single page to several hundred pages; and electronic filings containing the same information that the filer would submit if furnished in a paper filing.

NCS developed an integrated, imaged-based work flow process system using the latest proven technology appropriate to the work of this contract. The system is expected to expedite the efficient processing of all forms in conjunction with the requirement to create digital images of each form for data entry, data capture, search, retrieval and archiving purposes. NCS will use automated data capture technology, when applicable, as well as digital imaging, in initial processes for document analysis and data entry.

NCS is expected to receive Form 5500 filings, process the data into machine-readable format, conduct specified edit tests for validity and completeness, initiate correspondence with filers whose filings fail one or more edit tests, attempt to perfect the data using filer responses, and, finally, provide the data to the federal government.

EFAST will be ready to process plan year 1999 filings which will generally be filed in July 2000.

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Internet. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202.693.7773 or TTY 202.693.7755.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Phone Number: 202.219.8921

Employee Benefits Security Administration
September 7, 1999
Release Number