PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

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rich126
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PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by rich126 »

Has anyone been able to contact PBGC? Is there an online method I've missed?

I've made calls 3 different times over the last month and constantly there is higher call volume than normal. At one time you could leave a call back number but they never called back. Today you waste time going through all these menus only to get a message "Please call back another time because we can't take your call now" and then disconnect you.

My father passed away so I'm trying to get his pension cancelled but at this point I've made good faith attempts to initiated cancellation of it. I'll just let the money accumulate in his account and they can pull it back later when they can actually answer the phone or have something set up online. And this isn't just due to omicron because my first call was before the recent record numbers.

The standard of living is just getting worse and worse.
----------------------------- | If you think something is important and it doesn't involve the health of someone, think again. Life goes too fast, enjoy it and be nice.
Mr.BB
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by Mr.BB »

My DW just called today. We want to get an update on what her benefits would be later on. She pressed #4 "for all other options", then waited for instructions. She asked for a call back, you leave your name, what the request was for and the phone number for the callback. She was #144. They called her back in 45 minutes!
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
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Stinky
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by Stinky »

I know that many life insurance companies compare the Social Security “Death Master file” to the lists of annuity payees, as frequently as monthly, to catch unreported deaths. They can then stop payments before the amounts accumulate.

It would make sense for the PBGC to do the same kind of comparison runs for their payees. Then again, it’s a government agency…….

I agree that you should just let the payments accumulate in a bank account. Don’t break your neck trying to call them.
Former life insurance company financial officer who sincerely believes that ”It’s a GREAT day to be alive!”
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rich126
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by rich126 »

Mr.BB wrote: Tue Jan 11, 2022 7:50 pm My DW just called today. We want to get an update on what her benefits would be later on. She pressed #4 "for all other options", then waited for instructions. She asked for a call back, you leave your name, what the request was for and the phone number for the callback. She was #144. They called her back in 45 minutes!
I tried that the 2nd time I called and no one ever called back. The 3rd time I called, I wasn't given that option.
----------------------------- | If you think something is important and it doesn't involve the health of someone, think again. Life goes too fast, enjoy it and be nice.
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rich126
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by rich126 »

Someone must have wised up and added an option to report a death and now you can email the death certificate to them.
Previously you had to call, and then they would send you something before you emailed the DC.

If companies can't hire enough staff, you need to be able to automate and put everything on line. You see this problem with some airlines. Some of them don't let you do certain functions online and when weather or problems occur, hold times get into 4-8+ hrs or you just get cut off.
----------------------------- | If you think something is important and it doesn't involve the health of someone, think again. Life goes too fast, enjoy it and be nice.
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Stinky
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by Stinky »

rich126 wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:55 pm Someone must have wised up and added an option to report a death and now you can email the death certificate to them.
Previously you had to call, and then they would send you something before you emailed the DC.

If companies can't hire enough staff, you need to be able to automate and put everything on line. You see this problem with some airlines. Some of them don't let you do certain functions online and when weather or problems occur, hold times get into 4-8+ hrs or you just get cut off.
Glad that you were given the option to communicate electronically.

PBGC is part of the gubmint. They sometimes move slower than the private sector in technological innovation.

Best to you.
Former life insurance company financial officer who sincerely believes that ”It’s a GREAT day to be alive!”
Broken Man 1999
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Stinky wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:13 pm
rich126 wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 3:55 pm Someone must have wised up and added an option to report a death and now you can email the death certificate to them.
Previously you had to call, and then they would send you something before you emailed the DC.

If companies can't hire enough staff, you need to be able to automate and put everything on line. You see this problem with some airlines. Some of them don't let you do certain functions online and when weather or problems occur, hold times get into 4-8+ hrs or you just get cut off.
Glad that you were given the option to communicate electronically.

PBGC is part of the gubmint. They sometimes move slower than the private sector in technological innovation.

Best to you.
Government may be slow, but relentless once set upon a particular course, right or wrong!

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
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Horton
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by Horton »

Was your father’s pension benefit taken over by the PBGC?
My IPS - use target date funds (except in taxable)
punkinhead
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by punkinhead »

Stinky wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:13 pm
Glad that you were given the option to communicate electronically.

PBGC is part of the gubmint. They sometimes move slower than the private sector in technological innovation.
The PBGC website is particularly bad. I'm trying to decide when to start drawing my PBGC pension. With the SS website I can get a very clear picture of what my benefit will be at any given age. The PBGC website gives absolutely no benefits information. I have to fill out a request with a max of 3 potential retirement ages and they'll prepare an estimate in 2 to 4 weeks, which means if I want to know the benefit for more than 3 retirement ages I need to submit multiple requests. You would think that it would be an easy to automate formula. About 5 years ago I got estimates for 3 retirement ages and they make no sense. They are definitely not actuarily neutral. When I plot monthly benefit against retirement age it's a very odd shaped curve with an inflection point that shows delaying benefits has virtually no increase in payments. I'm hoping to fill in the data to get a better understanding of the curve but it looks like I'll have to wait a month for the PBGA to get around to sending it.
Mr.BB
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by Mr.BB »

I have my DW numbers for ages 65, 66, 67, 69 and 70. We also just requested ages 71 and 72.
I know there was no cola with this pension and overtime it loses value to inflation. When I ran the numbers started age 65 versus age 70 to age 95 I got a 19% increase in total revenue over 30 years by waiting 5 years.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
mattshwink
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by mattshwink »

Stinky wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:13 pm PBGC is part of the gubmint. They sometimes move slower than the private sector in technological innovation.
I am going to take issue with this.
Disclaimer: I don't know, nor did I ever, speak for PBGC.

I did work there for over 15 years in two stints, all in iT. I have not worked there in over four years. I was a contractor with several different companies.

PBGC is actually closer to the front end of computing compared to other government entities. While I was there, I was a part of several IT innovations that were pretty cutting edge, and used as examples from the vendors for other government entities. One of the challenges of working there in IT was the frantic pace. After leaving (or even while competing for other contracts while there) other entities seeking to do business with them were often confused with staffing requirements. They would always want to know why so many staff (for example DBAs) were needed. The answer was that PBGC was constantly iterating. There were no fewer than 10 individual software teams at any given time (ranging from a few to a few dozen people) working on software releases. The increased staffing (often the size of entities 3-4 times PBGC's size) were needed because there were significant application releases 1-2 times a month, often involving shift work (all weekend). You needed more people to keep pace. One of the guys who was there before I was (and left at the end of my first five years) stated that PBGC was a software development company masquerading as a government entity. I found that description apt.
punkinhead wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:09 am PBGC website is particularly bad
Which part? My PBA? Or the site itself? I used to know the people who were responsible for each one, I wonder if I still do.
punkinhead wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:09 am You would think that it would be an easy to automate formula
It's not. I used to know those guys too. The problem PBGC has is multi-fold. It takes pension plans from companies that fail. When they takeover those plans the data is often incomplete/inaccurate. They even at times have to fight in court to get access to better data that may be hidden by bankruptcy proceedings (this has gotten better with newer laws, but the data they get still ranges from ok to close to garbage). The second problem is that they have thousands of plans, big and small. Each one has it's own separate rules, and then there is Federal Law that can supersede it. SSA only has a few sets of rules.

As to actuarial neutrality, again this has to do with myriad sets of rules. One of the reasons the plan probably went bankrupt in the first place is it may not have been. Because of all the rules that govern these plans, they may not be neutral.
DonFifer
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by DonFifer »

While not exactly on topic, I had a very small pension that was taken over by PBGC.
When I contacted them, they said that my only option was a lump sum payout.
I downloaded their form, filled it out for a rollover to my 401K.
I also downloaded a 401K form for incoming rollover.
Mailed both of them off and about 6 weeks later, wham, bam, thank you Ma'm, the money appeared in my account.
I was very pleased with the service.
Six weeks may seem like a long time, but they have been holding the money since the late 80's.
The only complaint that I have is that I cannot see who else is entitled to money coming from that pension.
I have contacted everyone I could find, but there are other names that are lost to me over time.
punkinhead
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by punkinhead »

mattshwink wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:56 am
punkinhead wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:09 am PBGC website is particularly bad
Which part? My PBA? Or the site itself? I used to know the people who were responsible for each one, I wonder if I still do.
MyPBA. If there's another PBGC website I'm not aware of it. MyPBA is basically a simple 90's era website that says, "if you need anything, call us or send us a snail mail". I can't even change my phone number on that site even though there's a page claiming I can change my personal details. The phone number they have for me is a landline that was disconnected at least 5 years ago and the field is not editable. I can request my monthly payment on the site but if I go back to the site sometimes it shows I have an open request and sometimes it shows I have no open requests. It's not exactly confidence inspiring.
mattshwink wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:56 am
punkinhead wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:09 am You would think that it would be an easy to automate formula
It's not. I used to know those guys too. The problem PBGC has is multi-fold. It takes pension plans from companies that fail. When they takeover those plans the data is often incomplete/inaccurate. They even at times have to fight in court to get access to better data that may be hidden by bankruptcy proceedings (this has gotten better with newer laws, but the data they get still ranges from ok to close to garbage). The second problem is that they have thousands of plans, big and small. Each one has it's own separate rules, and then there is Federal Law that can supersede it. SSA only has a few sets of rules.
I don't doubt that it's complicated, but if someone in an office with a calculator can figure it out and mail me an estimate in 2-4 weeks then it can be automated. The person with the calculator is following some kind of algorithm that's written down some where.
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Stinky
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by Stinky »

mattshwink wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:56 am
Stinky wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 4:13 pm PBGC is part of the gubmint. They sometimes move slower than the private sector in technological innovation.
I am going to take issue with this.
Disclaimer: I don't know, nor did I ever, speak for PBGC.

I did work there for over 15 years in two stints, all in iT. I have not worked there in over four years. I was a contractor with several different companies.

PBGC is actually closer to the front end of computing compared to other government entities. While I was there, I was a part of several IT innovations that were pretty cutting edge, and used as examples from the vendors for other government entities. One of the challenges of working there in IT was the frantic pace. After leaving (or even while competing for other contracts while there) other entities seeking to do business with them were often confused with staffing requirements. They would always want to know why so many staff (for example DBAs) were needed. The answer was that PBGC was constantly iterating. There were no fewer than 10 individual software teams at any given time (ranging from a few to a few dozen people) working on software releases. The increased staffing (often the size of entities 3-4 times PBGC's size) were needed because there were significant application releases 1-2 times a month, often involving shift work (all weekend). You needed more people to keep pace. One of the guys who was there before I was (and left at the end of my first five years) stated that PBGC was a software development company masquerading as a government entity. I found that description apt.
punkinhead wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:09 am PBGC website is particularly bad
Which part? My PBA? Or the site itself? I used to know the people who were responsible for each one, I wonder if I still do.
punkinhead wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:09 am You would think that it would be an easy to automate formula
It's not. I used to know those guys too. The problem PBGC has is multi-fold. It takes pension plans from companies that fail. When they takeover those plans the data is often incomplete/inaccurate. They even at times have to fight in court to get access to better data that may be hidden by bankruptcy proceedings (this has gotten better with newer laws, but the data they get still ranges from ok to close to garbage). The second problem is that they have thousands of plans, big and small. Each one has it's own separate rules, and then there is Federal Law that can supersede it. SSA only has a few sets of rules.

As to actuarial neutrality, again this has to do with myriad sets of rules. One of the reasons the plan probably went bankrupt in the first place is it may not have been. Because of all the rules that govern these plans, they may not be neutral.
Thank you for your detailed response.

I had (mistakenly) thought that when a pension plan was taken over by PBGC, that only PBGC rules would apply. If, in fact, prior pension plan rules can apply, I can only imagine the complexity that PBGC faces in administering the plans.
Former life insurance company financial officer who sincerely believes that ”It’s a GREAT day to be alive!”
boatdriver79
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by boatdriver79 »

I have had my pension serviced by the PBGC for many years now and have never experienced a problem. The website worked well for me when I needed changes etc. Never had to talk to a live person ever. Im satisfied.
mattshwink
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by mattshwink »

punkinhead wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:09 pm MyPBA. If there's another PBGC website I'm not aware of it. MyPBA is basically a simple 90's era website that says, "if you need anything, call us or send us a snail mail". I can't even change my phone number on that site even though there's a page claiming I can change my personal details. The phone number they have for me is a landline that was disconnected at least 5 years ago and the field is not editable. I can request my monthly payment on the site but if I go back to the site sometimes it shows I have an open request and sometimes it shows I have no open requests. It's not exactly confidence inspiring.
There are several sites, the main pbgc.gov site, MyPBA, and another called MyPAA.

I can assure nothing about the site is 90's era. They run a modern RDBMS on the back-end and a modern mid-tier as well. I'm not as sure about the front-end, I think it's a COTS solution which might be why the look and feel isn't great. But everything it's running on is recent software.

Call. The problems you're having are because the phone number is wrong. They need a valid phone number to do anything (should be a cell phone).

While I was there we had a serious issue with two granddaughters accessing their grandfathers account (they used his personal details to redirect his benefit into an account they setup). Once it was discovered what they had done, it was fixed, but as I recall he refused to press charges. Less then 12 months later, it happened again. After that, the site changed and security was tightened to require more than just personal details to access your MyPBA account.
ralph124cf
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Re: PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation]

Post by ralph124cf »

The PBGC took over my pension plan when I was 55.

I chose to delay the start of my PBGC pension from normal retirement age to age 70. There is no inflation adjustment, but for each year that I delayed, the pension increased by approximately 10.01%, compounded yearly. No future adjustments, chose joint and several 100% option.

I used second to die assumption of age 105, as DW's mother lived to 100, and her maternal grandmothers lived to 99 and 102.

Ralph
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