Historic Pension Legislation Signed into Law by President Biden
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (“ARA”) which contains the Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 (“EPPRA”).
EPPRA provides sweeping and broad-based relief to multiemployer pension plans like the Graphic Arts Industry Joint Pension Trust that face insolvency. Under EPPRA, eligible pension plans can apply for financial assistance from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (“PBGC”) which is intended to be sufficient for qualifying pension plans to pay all benefits for 30 years. Section 4262 of EPPRA requires the PBGC to issue regulations or guidance within 120 days setting forth requirements for special financial assistance applications under this section. The Graphic Arts Industry Joint Pension Trust welcomes this new legislation and preparation of the Fund’s application will commence as we await guidance from the PBGC. The Fund will provide stakeholders with more information as it becomes available.
Extension of Certain Deadlines Due to Covid-19 Crisis
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, numerous deadlines have been temporarily extended due to relief issued by various federal agencies. One of the extensions is the time frame under which appeals must be submitted to the Fund. Under the standard Fund rules, any appeal submitted to the Fund of a benefit denial must be submitted within 180 days of the date of the denial. However, under the temporary deadline, that 180-day period has been extended. Days during the “Outbreak Period” will be disregarded by the Plan when calculating the deadline for submitting an appeal. The Outbreak Period is the period between March 1, 2020 and ending 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 National Emergency as declared by the U.S. President. However, the maximum extension for submitting an appeal is one year. In other words, an appeal must be submitted by the earlier of a) 60 days after the end of the Outbreak Period or b) 545 days from the date of this appeal (180 + 365 days).
No other Fund deadlines have been extended at this time.
Fund’s actuary reports project that the Graphic Arts Industry Joint Pension Trust will become insolvent in the Plan Year July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.
This date is consistent with previous actuary reports. Participants were mailed a letter in 2017 with a projection of their current benefit accruals under the Fund’s existing Retirement Plan rules as well as a projection of what their benefit is expected to be under the Pension Guarantee Corporations (PBGC) guarantee levels. These letters were mailed to retirees, deferred vested participants and active participants. Updated letters are prepared upon request.