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Points to Consider when submitting comments to the Treasury Department

Date Published: 
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Pension Rights Center

The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 allows the trustees of certain severely underfunded plans to apply to the U.S. Treasury Department for permission to cut retiree pension benefits. When this happens the Treasury Department allows affected people to voice their concerns by submitting comments on their plan’s application.

If your plan has applied to cut retiree pensions, you may use the guidelines below when preparing your comments.

The Treasury Department is bound by the law and can only reject a plan’s application if it finds that the plan has not met specific benchmarks. Only Congress has the power to change the law.

Below are points that can be made in comments submitted to the Treasury Department. While you can use these points as a guide, it is most effective to put your comments into your own words.

If you do not think that your plan has met the conditions set by the law, say so in your comments. Then ask the Treasury Department to REJECT the application to cut benefits.

The decision to approve or disapprove a plan’s application to cut retiree pensions will depend on whether the plan satisfies four conditions required by the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act. The Treasury Department must reject the application if it fails to satisfactorily answer these questions:

  • Have your plan’s trustees taken all “reasonable measures” to prevent the Fund from running out of money?
  • Have your plan’s trustees allocated the cuts fairly among active, retired, and deferred vested participants?
  • Will the proposed cuts ensure that the Fund will remain solvent for at least 30 years?
  • Are the notices provided by the plan written in a way that is understandable by the average plan participant?

It is also helpful to include information about your personal situation and how the proposed cuts would affect you and your family. However, the law does not permit the Treasury Department to base its decision on these factors.

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