Executive Summary: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) has adopted a new pilot program to enforce section 4062(e) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) that targets at-risk pension plans. The change comes in response to President Obama’s Executive Order No. 13563, which asked federal agencies to review existing and pending regulations for possible modification or elimination.
Articles Discussing ERISA.
The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) permits a person denied benefits under an employee benefit plan the opportunity to challenge that denial in federal court. Under ERISA, if an administrator has been given discretion to determine eligibility for benefits under the terms of the benefit plan in question, federal courts can overturn eligibility determinations only if they find that the administrator has “abused its discretion.” ERISA jurisprudence has long recognized that if an administrator is operating under a conflict of interest, that conflict of interest must be weighed as a factor in determining whether the administrator’s decision to deny benefits was an abuse of discretion. When the entity that administers an employee benefit plan is also the entity that funds the plan, the courts view that as giving rise to a conflict of interest.