PBGC Deficit Climbs to $22B in 2009

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) had an overall deficit of $22 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009, according to the agency’s Annual Management Report, nearly double the $11.2 billion deficit it had at the end of fiscal year 2008. The deficit was, however, sharply lower than the record $33.5 billion deficit in an unaudited report to Congress as of March 31, 2009, the midpoint of the fiscal year.


The report says that the agency’s potential exposure to future pension losses from financially weak companies increased to about $168 billion from the $47 billion booked in fiscal year 2008. The report classifies 27 large pension plans with total underfunding of $1.64 billion as probable losses on the PBGC balance sheet.


The deficit for single-employer pension plans widened to $21.1 billion for the year, up from the prior year’s $10.7 billion shortfall. The deficit in the separate insurance program for multiemployer pensions rose to $869 million, a $396 million increase over the prior year.  


At the end of fiscal year 2009, the single-employer program had assets of $68.7 billion and liabilities of $89.8 billion. During the year, the single-employer program took in 144 newly terminated pension plans. Overall benefit payments in 2009 totaled $4.5 billion, up from $4.3 billion a year ago. The insurance program for multiemployer plans has about $1.5 billion in assets to cover about $2.3 billion in liabilities.



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