Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Structural Problems Limit Agency's Ability to Protect Itself from Risk

GAO-05-360T Published: Mar 02, 2005. Publicly Released: Mar 02, 2005.
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More than 34 million workers and retirees in about 30,000 singleemployer defined benefit plans rely on a federal insurance program managed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to protect their pension benefits. However, the insurance program's long-term viability is in doubt and in July 2003 we placed the single-employer insurance program on our high-risk list of agencies with significant vulnerabilities for the federal government. In fiscal year 2004, PBGC's single-employer pension insurance program incurred a net loss of $12.1 billion for fiscal year 2004, and the program's accumulated deficit increased to $23.3 billion from $11.2 billion a year earlier. Further, PBGC estimated that underfunding in single-employer plans exceeded $450 billion as of the end of fiscal year 2004. This testimony provides GAO's observations on (1) some of the structural problems that limit PBGC's ability to protect itself from risk and (2) steps PBGC has taken to forecast and manage the risks that it faces.

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