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News Release

Labor Department Issues Final Rules to Assist Plan Participants in Obtaining SPDs and other Plan Documents

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) today announced the publication of two final rules implementing changes in the summary plan description (SPD) filing requirements enacted as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (TRA ’97).

One rule clarifies the department’s authority to request SPDs and other documents from plan administrators on behalf of participants and beneficiaries. The rule also provides for the assessment of civil penalties, up to $1,000, for the failure or refusal of a plan administrator to provide the department with the requested documents. The other rule sets forth changes intended to conform a number of regulations to the TRA ’97 provisions eliminating the requirement that SPDs and related changes be filed with the department.

“The department is committed to assisting participants and beneficiaries obtain SPDs and other documents to which they are entitled under the law,” said PWBA Assistant Secretary Ann L. Combs. “Although we believe most plan administrators will voluntarily comply with requests from the department for the documents, we won’t hesitate to assess civil penalties against those administrators who deliberately deprive participants and beneficiaries of information about their rights, benefits and obligations under those employee benefit plans.”

The final rules were published in the Federal Register on January 7.

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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
January 8, 2002
Release Number