Participants Regain $1.4 Billon Thanks to EBSA’s Interventions

The largest category of plan money recovery was from enforcement actions.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration, the arm of the Department of Labor that oversees private employee benefit plans, recovered $1.4 billion through various programs, for fiscal year 2022.

The amount restored has been declining for the past few years. In FY 2021, EBSA recovered $2.4 billion, and in FY 2020, a record $3.1 billion for plan participants.

The bulk of the money, $931 million, was regained through enforcement actions and investigations. Some $542 million was given to terminated vested defined benefit plan participants. EBSA closed 907 civil investigations this year, with 595 of those cases resulting in monetary results for plans or other corrective actions. There were 103 indictments related to EBSA enforcement.

The Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program, which allows fiduciaries to self-correct their errors if certain conditions apply, recovered $8 million. This represents the sharpest proportional drop, on comparing the avenues through which the agency recovers money, from fiscal 2021, when $34 million was regained through the VFCP.

The DOL recently proposed simplifying the VFCP to allow for after-the-fact notification rather than requiring an application, provided the error was small and resulted from a participant’s contributions not being invested or loan repayments not posted in a timely manner.

EBSA also collected $83.9 million from the Abandoned Plan Program, which distributes benefits to participants when a plan is appropriately terminated, and $422.1 million from informal complaint resolutions, typically made after a participant reports a problem with his plan, via the agency’s toll-free number, 866-444-3272.