EBSA Restores $1.1B to Benefit Plans, Participants and Beneficiaries

Nearly $700 million was in recoveries from enforcement actions.

By enforcing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) restored more than $1.1 billion to retirement plans, health plans and other welfare benefit plans such as those providing life or disability insurance, in fiscal year 2017.

During the year, EBSA closed 1,707 civil investigations, with 1,114 of those cases, or 63.5%, resulting in $682.3 million recovered. Of this sum, $326.7 million was for benefits owed to terminated vested participants in defined benefit plans.

Additionally, EBSA recovered $418.7 million from informal complaint resolutions. EBSA investigations led to the indictment of 113 people—including plan officials, corporate officers and service providers—for crimes related to employee benefit plans. Through its Abandoned Plan Program, EBSA worked with 586 plans to distribute $27.9 million to participants after the plans were terminated.

In 2017, EBSA received 1,303 applications for its Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and 22,139 annual reports for its Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program. In 2017, EBSA conducted 1,816 education and outreach events for workers, employers, plan officials and members of Congress. “These nationwide activities include assisting dislocated workers who are facing job loss, educating employers of their obligations under ERISA, using a train-the-trainer format to inform Congressional staff of EBSA programs for their use in constituent services, and providing employees with information concerning their rights under the law,” EBSA says.

EBSA also reaches workers, retirees, employers, plan service providers and the public through its printed materials and website at www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa. In 2017, EBSA distributed 321,815 publications and had 4.17 million unique visitors to its website.

EBSA’s full report on its activities in 2017 can be viewed here.