EBSA highlights results of enforcement and compliance activity in FY 2015

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) has issued the results of its enforcement and compliance activity for employee benefit plans and participants in fiscal year (FY) 2015. EBSA’s oversight authority extends to nearly 681,000 retirement plans, approximately 2.3 million health plans, and a similar number of other welfare benefit plans, such as those providing life or disability insurance. As of October 2, 2015, these plans covered about 143 million workers and their dependents and included assets of over $8.7 trillion.

In fiscal year (FY) 2015, EBSA recovered $696.3 million for direct payment to plans, participants and beneficiaries. These recoveries include plan assets restored/participant benefits recovered, and voluntary fiduciary corrections, as well as amounts recovered through the abandoned plan program and informal complaint resolution.

Civil investigations

In FY 2015, EBSA closed 2,441 civil investigations with 1,640 of those cases (67.2%) resulting in monetary results for plans or other corrective action, which EBSA claims exhibits its ability to effectively target ERISA violators in the employee benefit plan universe. Also, 136 cases were referred for litigation, and the Department of Labor filed suit in 89 civil cases.

Criminal investigations

In addition, EBSA closed 275 criminal investigations. EBSA’s criminal investigations, as well as its participation in criminal investigations with other law enforcement agencies, led to the indictment of 61 individuals – including plan officials, corporate officers, and service providers – for offenses related to employee benefit plans.

Workers’ informal requests for assistance

Demonstrating how effective EBSA is in resolving workers’ problems with their employee benefit plans, EBSA’s Benefits Advisors closed more than 201,000 inquiries and recovered $402.9 million in benefits on behalf of workers and their families through informal resolution of individual complaints in FY 2015. These inquiries are also a major source of enforcement leads. In FY 2015, 589 new investigations were opened as a result of referrals from the Benefits Advisors.

Abandoned plans and compliance programs

During FY 2015, EBSA received 590 applications from Qualified Termination Administrators and closed 207 applications with terminations approved, and 205 plans made distributions of $13.8 million directly to participants. In FY 2015, EBSA received 1,478 applications for the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and more than 22,800 annual reports were received through Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program.

Source: EBSA Fact Sheet, November, 2015.

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