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Retirement Plans Newsletter

March 8, 2022

9 New Job Opportunities 9 New Job Opportunities


[Guidance Overview]

CRS Report on Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision

22 pages. "The windfall elimination provision (WEP) ... reduces the Social Security benefits of certain retired or disabled workers who are also entitled to pension benefits based on earnings from jobs that were not covered by Social Security ... Recent legislation has generally proposed either to eliminate the provision for all or some affected beneficiaries, or replace the current-law provision with a new proportional formula based on past earnings from both covered and noncovered employment." [98-35 updated Mar. 7, 2022]  MORE >>

Congressional Research Service [CRS]


You Don’t Want to Miss This CE Webcast!

In Part 5 of the Fundamentals series, John P. Griffin J.D., LL.M. discusses Plan Documents, Plan Communications, IRS/DOL Audits, Plan Correction Programs, and Government Filings. Register here for session 5 and previously recorded sessions 1-4.

Sponsored by ASC

Partners Healthcare Defeats ERISA Actuarial Equivalence Lawsuit

"While it acknowledges that other district courts have reached different conclusions, the ruling here ultimately concludes that 'it does not appear that actuarial equivalence, to the extent it is a term of art in the field, necessarily requires or implies 'reasonable' actuarial assumptions.' " [Belknap v. Partners Healthcare System, Inc., No. 19-11437 (D. Mass. Mar. 4, 2022)]  MORE >>


Second Circuit Holds 'Successor Liability' Theory Can Be Applied to Withdrawal Liability Claims

"Although the Fund ultimately did not prevail in its attempt to hold C&S responsible for Penn Traffic's withdrawal liability, the Second Circuit's holding on the applicability of successor liability to withdrawal liability claims under ERISA makes it clear that the doctrine is available to plans seeking to collect withdrawal liability from successor employers in the Second Circuit." [New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund v. C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., No. 20-1185 (2d Cir. Jan. 27, 2022)]  MORE >>

Slevin & Hart, P.C.

Options When Fiduciary Insurance Is Too Expensive

"[T]here are several alternatives to dropping your insurance that can be pursued independently or in combination with one another ... [1] Use plan assets to pay for the insurance ... [2] Negotiate ... [3] Shop around ... [4] Consider a 3(38) investment manager ... [5] Consider adding provisions to your plan document that might reduce litigation risk ... [6] Consider adding cybersecurity insurance to your general policy (if possible)."  MORE >>

Groom Law Group, via PLANSPONSOR; free registration may be required

Are Commodities in Retirement Plans Worth the Fiduciary Risk?

"Retirement savers can now gain exposure to commodities through exchange traded funds (ETFs), which can be held at any financial services institution ... Greater accessibility doesn't necessarily remove the original risks associated with commodity investments.... [T]he primary danger is lack of understanding the return, risk, and correlation of each investment option.' "  MORE >>

Fiduciary News; free registration required

Preparing for Your Plan Audit: Completion of a Timeliness Schedule

"The timeliness schedule compares employee deferrals per payroll records to amounts remitted into the plan as employee contributions and loan repayments. This schedule allows the plan sponsor to quickly and easily identify whether there are any payroll periods where the deferrals were not sent to the custodian or if there was a delay in the remittance. A proper timeliness schedule includes the following steps: [1] Review payroll report ... [2] Obtain the contribution report ... [3] Perform a comparison ... [4] Determine discrepancies."  MORE >>


Alight Solutions 401(k) Index: February 2022 Observations

"February was another busy trading month for 401(k) investors ... As international political events drove Wall Street lower, 401(k) investors reacted with above-normal trading activity. Net trading saw investors moving assets into fixed income over equity."  MORE >>

Alight Solutions

Pension Risk Transfers Have Downside Risks for Some Plan Sponsors

"These transactions are intended to lower the risk and cost of the plan by shrinking its size. However, in many cases, ... their use can lead to a lower funded status, particularly for underfunded plans.... [T]he additional underfunding resulting from these transactions can cause higher fees and premiums over the long run.... Yet, despite these shortcomings, PRTs continue to be adopted by plan sponsors at a surprising rate."  MORE >>

Cambridge Associates

Beyond the 4% Rule: How Much Can You Spend in Retirement?

"How do you determine your personalized spending rate? Start by asking yourself these questions: [1] How long do you want to plan for? ... [2] How will you invest your portfolio? ... [3] How confident do you want to be that your money will last? ... [4] Will you make changes if conditions change?"  MORE >>

Charles Schwab

CRS Report on Social Security: The Government Pension Offset

19 pages. "The GPO reduces Social Security spousal or widow(er)'s benefits by two-thirds of the retirement or disability pension from noncovered government employment.... Opponents argue that the GPO is not well understood and that it harms lower-wage workers.... [D]efenders maintain that it helps ensure that only financially dependent spouses receive the Social Security spousal or widow(er)'s benefit, while curtailing what otherwise would be an unfair advantage for government workers who are not covered by Social Security." [RL32453, updated Mar. 7, 2022]  MORE >>

Congressional Research Service [CRS]

Benefits in General

[Official Guidance]

Text of DOL Proposed Regs and Comment Request: New Procedures for the Filing and Processing of Prohibited Transaction Exemption Applications (PDF)

121 pages. "This document gives notice of a proposed rule that, if adopted, would supersede the [DOL's] existing procedure governing the filing and processing of applications for administrative exemptions from the prohibited transaction provisions of [ERISA], the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and the Federal Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA)."

From the DOL press release:

"The Proposed Exemption Procedure Regulation would promote the department's prompt and efficient consideration of all exemption applications by, among other things:

  • Clarifying the types of information and documentation required to complete an application.
  • Revising the definitions of a qualified independent fiduciary and qualified independent appraiser to ensure their independence.
  • Clarifying the content of specific reports and documents applicants must submit to ensure that the department receives sufficient information to make the requisite findings under ERISA Section 408(a) to issue an exemption.
  • Updating various timing requirements to ensure clarity in the application review process.
  • Specifying items that are included in the administrative record for an application and when the administrative record is available for public inspection.
  • Expanding opportunities for applicants to submit information to the department electronically."


Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]

Employee Benefits Jobs

View job as Implementation Specialist
for The Nation's Best TPA Firm Implementation Specialist

The Nation's Best TPA Firm

Remote / Oklahoma City OK

View job as Implementation Specialist
for The Nation's Best TPA Firm

View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Retirement Solutions Specialists, LLC Retirement Plan Administrator

Retirement Solutions Specialists, LLC


View job as Retirement Plan Administrator
for Retirement Solutions Specialists, LLC

View job as ERISA Attorney
for DeWitt LLP ERISA Attorney

DeWitt LLP

Brookfield WI / Madison WI

View job as ERISA Attorney
for DeWitt LLP

View job as Cash Balance Plan Actuarial Associate
for Cash Balance Actuaries, LLC Cash Balance Plan Actuarial Associate

Cash Balance Actuaries, LLC


View job as Accountant
for ERISA Services, Inc. Accountant

ERISA Services, Inc.

Knoxville TN

View job as Plan Administrator
for Western Mass 401k TPA Plan Administrator

Western Mass 401k TPA

Remote / Southwick MA

View job as Sr Participant Services Analyst
for BlueStar Retirement Services Inc. Sr Participant Services Analyst

BlueStar Retirement Services Inc.

Remote / Ponte Vedra Beach FL

View job as Senior Retirement Analyst
for Dunbar, Bender & Zapf, Inc. Senior Retirement Analyst

Dunbar, Bender & Zapf, Inc.

Remote / Pittsburgh PA

View job as Financial Assistant (Pathways Intern)
for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] Financial Assistant (Pathways Intern)

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]

Remote / Washington DC

Selected New Discussions

Stock Options Counted for Purposes of 'Key Employee' Definition's 1% Owner Prong?

"Are options counted for purposes of determining key employees under the 1% owners prong? The regulation says a 1% owner is any employee who owns 'more than 1 percent of the value of the outstanding stock of the corporation or stock possessing more than 1 percent of the total combined voting power of all stock of the corporation.' Treas. Reg. §1.416-1 T-16. Assuming the options don't have voting rights, to me this says you don't count options as they're not outstanding stock. Is there any authority that says otherwise? Perhaps if the options are fully vested the employee might own 1 percent of the value?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

PT Aspects of Defaulted Loan in Light of Continued Deferrals (an Increasing Account Balance)

"Last summer a participant took a maximum loan equal to 50% of their VAB, to be set up for repayments via payroll deductions twice a month. No repayments have been made to date. It's a PT if a loan for an amount exceeding 50% is taken and a Form 5330 should be filed for the excess. Is it also a PT if the loan's initial amount is OK but the 50% max is breached due to accrued interest from non-payment? How to fix this?"

BenefitsLink Message Boards

Press Releases

TRA Continues to Expand to Support Growth

The Retirement Advantage [TRA]

Last Issue's Most Popular Items

How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot with Your SPD

Verrill Dana LLP

Proposed Regs Greatly Expand Guidance on Required Minimum Distributions

Holland & Knight

IRS Provides Additional Clarity on RMD Calculations

Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.

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BenefitsLink Retirement Plans Newsletter, ISSN no. 1536-9587.

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