November 19, 2015
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) program for multiemployer pension plans had a deficit of $52.3 billion in 2015 according to the PBGC’s just-issued 2015 annual report. The deficit reflects the present value of future expected payments to plans receiving PBGC financial assistance currently and plans that are projected to need such assistance within 10 years, less PBGC’s multiemployer program assets. The 2015 deficit is 23% larger than the 2014 deficit of $42.4 billion as a result of lower interest rates and 17 new multiemployer plans projected to need assistance within 10 years. Because PBGC provides financial assistance to multiemployer plans over time as annuity payments come due, the $52.3 billion also represents payments over time. The 2015 deficit of $52.3 billion will be the starting point for PBGC’s projections of the probability of deficits in future years (as the 2014 deficit of $42.4 billion was the starting point for PBGC’s projections issued on September 29, 2015).
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