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So far Mike LeRoy has created 17 blog entries.
10 10, 2017

Limited Access Death Master File


Preparing and responding to new certification requirements

Third-party risk, cybersecurity, and identity fraud continue to dominate headlines as organizations enhance governance to ensure effective internal controls that can thwart off potential threats. Given the current landscape, the US federal government recently enacted rule 15 CFR Part 11101 to create additional safeguards for entities requesting access to the Limited Access Death Master File (LADMF).

The LADMF is a data file made available by the US Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS), which lists all individuals with social security numbers whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration from 1936 to present. The LADMF has many practical uses that span across industries such as insurance, banking, health care, public sector, and investment management, with the primary focus on the accuracy and completeness of data records. It’s an effective tool to assist entities in their efforts to assess mortality as a means to prevent or detect fraud and govern key transactions (e.g., substantiating information provided by applicants for loans and lines of credit, confirming annuity payments and retirement benefits are not paid to deceased individuals, authenticating insurance policy death claims, appropriately reverting abandoned property, etc.). The new rule, which became effective on November 28, 2016, requires entities requesting access to the LADMF to undergo an assessment by an independent third party known as an accredited conformity assessment body (ACAB). An ACAB’s role is to confirm that the entity has systems, facilities, and procedures in place to safeguard LADMF information. The requirement for an independent assessment of LADMF-related internal controls from a third party is a significant shift from the requirements under the interim rule published in March 2014. It’s therefore imperative that entities requesting the LADMF take the appropriate steps to ensure alignment to the requirements under the new rule. Read complete article here.


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Limited Access Death Master File2017-10-10T12:46:21-07:00
3 04, 2017

IRS taking suggestions for May webinar on DB Plan Requirements


The IRS has announced plans to host a webinar which will cover Minimum Present Value Requirements for Defined Benefits Plans. The event which will take place at an undetermined date in May will cover several topics including:

  • Final Regulations on IRC Section 417(e) partial annuity distributions
  • Proposed regulations on other IRC Section 417(e)(3) requirements
  • Types of benefit payments subject to minimum present value requirements
  • Application of mortality discounts
  • Proposed clarification of existing IRC Section 417(e)(3) rules

The IRS will be taking suggestions and comments on topics to be covered up until April 17th, 2017.  For more information on this webinar as well as access to the video portal for viewing check out the IRS website.


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IRS taking suggestions for May webinar on DB Plan Requirements2017-04-03T15:56:56-07:00
8 03, 2017

When will funds run out? PBGC funds decline rapidly


The PGGC is running out of cash flow to support multiemployer plans that are on their way towards insolvency.  Every year, the number of insolvent plans grows and the PBGC’s fund declines at a corresponding rate.

“Over a million people participate in multiemployer pension plans that are expected to run out of money over the next 20 years,” said PBGC Director Tom Reeder in an announcement over a newly insolvent union pension fund.

Over the past year, the union pension fund has been unable to pay pension benefits to plan participants and has been using the PBGC for financial assistance – one of many union funds in a similar situation.  “This is a big issue for us [..] it’s a big issue for others in the same situation across the country,” Reeder said.

PBGC funds decline at a steady pace

“We’re projected to run out of money in eight to 10 years. Many union pension plans are projected to run out in twenty years,” Reeder stated. There are many union pension funds that are slowly heading in the direction of insolvency; unfortunately, with higher stakes – more participants and higher pension benefit amounts.

Most recently, Reeder stated, “the insurance program for insolvent multiemployer plans is in dire financial condition and, absent reform, is likely to run out of money by 2025. I am committed to working with the Administration, Congress and other stakeholders to find solutions that stabilize multiemployer pension plans and make the pension insurance program one that people can rely on well into the future.”

This warning should not come as a shock, as the PBGC has been making statements over the past several years. There are a few reasons for the steady increase of insolvent multiemployer plans that include:

  • Steady decline in the number of participants
  • As plan benefit levels increased the plan was not sufficiently funded
  • Significant losses from the financial crisis in 2008-2009

“We are fairly confident that we will be insolvent on the multi-employer side by 2022 or 2028 barring a legislative change,” Reeder said. In 2016 alone, over $113 million dollars of financial help was given to 65 multiemployer plans.

For more information on the PBGC’s statement you can find it in their press release.

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When will funds run out? PBGC funds decline rapidly2017-03-08T12:53:53-08:00
23 02, 2017

Understand your fiduciary responsibility- DOL hosts a webcast series


Are you a small or mid-sized business and not sure of your fiduciary responsibilities? If so, you won’t want to miss a 3-part webcast next month hosted by the Department of Labor (DOL).

The webcast series will give employee benefit administrators a better understand of their fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA regarding employer-sponsored retirement and health plans. The series will help educate administrators of how to avoid a myriad of problems that may occur when managing a plan.

DOL Web series dates and topics to be covered

March 14th at 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST

  • Basic fiduciary responsibilities when operating an employer-sponsored retirement plan
  • ERISA’s prohibited transactions provisions and exemptions

March 16th at 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST

  • ERISA’s reporting and disclosure provisions for employer-sponsored retirement plans
  • Department of Labor’s voluntary correction programs for retirement plans

March 16th at 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST

  • Basic fiduciary responsibilities when operating an employer-sponsored group health plan
  • ERISA’s reporting and disclosure provisions
  • Qualified Medical Child Support Orders (QMCSOs)

As a benefit administrator it is important to know what your fiduciary responsibilities entail.  If you feel like your knowledge on this topic is lacking this is one webcast series that you won’t want to miss.

To find out more information and register for this event please head to the Department of Labor’s website here.

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Understand your fiduciary responsibility- DOL hosts a webcast series2017-02-23T10:13:39-08:00
17 02, 2017

Why We Must Restore the Death Master File: The Unintended Consequences of Section 205(r)


Instances of pension fraud have become increasingly common whether intentional or due to ignorance. Consequently, the reinterpretation of section 205(r) has placed retirement plan administrators at greater risk because the Social Security Administration no longer releases complete and timely data including all deaths known to them. Cases are fraud are being reported at an alarming rate. Millions of dollars are going to those not entitled.

States that have been deeply impacted by the reduced SSA Death Master File records:

  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

USA Map SSA DMF Death Records Section 205(r)

*These states do not make their vital records available to legitimate companies that handle death audit solutions.

Continual effort to restore the DMF is vital.

PBI’s most recent request to the SSA to restore the DMF outlined the unintended consequences to Americans in the following industry segments:

  • Pension Plans (Government and Corporate Defined Benefit Plans): PBI detailed the impact on pension funding deficits and the PBGC’s viability to support plans entrusted to them. Bottom line, no plan can afford to pay benefits to dead people!
  • Protecting Life Insurance Beneficiaries: California’s state controller has taken a leadership position in reaching settlement agreements with 27 of the largest insurance companies to utilize the SSA DMF.
  • Reducing fraud for SSA, Medicare and Medicaid
  • Reducing fraud for FHA and HUD entitlements

The SSA’s Response:

“I understand your frustration because your organization is doing vital work in preventing improper payments. However, Congress would need to amend the Section 205(r) of the Social Security Act. The decision was made by Social Security Administration (SSA) Headquarters legal staff, which is the highest level in SSA.”

Restoring the DMF is the obvious solution.

PBI has taken on the challenge to educate Congress on the unintended consequences, with little traction. We will continue to present the importance of making this information available to prevent public pension fraud. No state is immune to their retirees dying in other states with closed records and their death data not making it into the SSA DMF.



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Why We Must Restore the Death Master File: The Unintended Consequences of Section 205(r)2017-02-17T13:14:33-08:00
10 01, 2017

Missing Employees? Checks going uncashed?


Uncashed checks are still considered to be plan assets, incur added expense, can complicate a plan closure, and overall are a liability. Did you know that the average size of a missing retirement plan participant’s benefit due is projected at $2,600-2,800? (as stated in a webinar by PENCHECKS last month).

Why do participants vanish into thin air?

  1. Not alerting their former employers that they moved- becoming increasingly common with millennials.
  2. Some current and former employees are unaware that benefits they have with a company exist! This sounds surprising, but sadly it is not out of the ordinary.
  3. Not recognizing the company name: participants are often non-responsive because their former company had been sold, they are unaware of the new company trying to reach out to them or may think it’s a scam and ignore their correspondence.

Why would these checks go uncashed?

  • Bad address
  • Moved
  • Never received or the check was lost in the mail
  • Thrown away by mistake
  • Forgot about it
  • Deceased

There are many measures that can be taken when a participant with an uncashed check goes missing. One of the main concerns (what to actually do with funds) is largely due to no guidance received from the DOL or IRS.

One thing is for certain, when locating a participant it is imperative that the process be documented (think PBI’s Confirmed Locate Service).   It is always a best practice to keep up with your population’s whereabouts before it becomes an issue.  Still, lost participants are unavoidable and present a fiduciary liability even with the most conscientious record keeping.



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Missing Employees? Checks going uncashed?2017-01-10T09:42:11-08:00
9 11, 2016

The SSA Death Master File: A Webinar


PBI President Sue McDonald will join Leigh Snell, NCTR Director of Federal Relations and other officials from NCTR for a panel webinar discussion on the Death Master File.

Held: Wednesday, November 16 at 3-4 pm ET.

The webinar is only available to NCTR members. Register here in advance to attend.

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The SSA Death Master File: A Webinar2016-11-09T15:32:15-08:00
3 11, 2016

How to Ensure You’ve Meet your Due Diligence Requirements for Locating Missing Participants (Infographic)


Locating missing participants can be a plan sponsor’s nightmare, especially when terminating a benefit plan. After the dissolution of the IRS letter forwarding service in 2012, followed by the elimination of the Social Security Administrations letter forwarding in 2014, the DOL had to make changes to ensure plan sponsors utilize “due diligence.”

To amend the issues that quickly arose when forwarding services were ended, the DOL implemented FAB 2014-01 which outlines the minimum requirements of due diligence for a terminated defined contribution plan.

  • FAB 2014-01 specifically addresses terminating defined contribution plans

The infographic below shows the requirements outlined by the DOL, IRS, and PBGC for locating lost participants. Terminating plans aside, due diligence is also required when attempting to locate participants who are eligible to commence or due a required minimum distribution.


Don’t let participants go missing. For best practices consider cleansing your population’s data on a yearly basis. Reduce your chances for stress and any last minute hiccups.

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How to Ensure You’ve Meet your Due Diligence Requirements for Locating Missing Participants (Infographic)2016-12-19T12:34:52-08:00
28 10, 2016

PBGC Announces Revisions to its Missing Participant Program


On September 20th, the PBGC announced proposed revisions to its Missing Participant Program that is currently limited to Single-Employer defined benefits plans.

The major revision will include “terminated defined contribution pension plans, specifically 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, money purchase plans, target benefit plans, employee stock ownership plans, stock bonus plans, and Internal Revenue Code section 403(b)(7) plans.”

Changes at a Glance

  • Fees: “a low, one-time fee (initially set at $35) will be charged for transferring a participant’s Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution benefit to PBGC. There will be no fee for transfers of $250 or less.  There are no ongoing maintenance fees and there is no charge to distribute benefits.” This will help reduce the strain on the PBGC
  • Small payments: mandatory cash–outs for “missing participants”
  • Diligent Search Requirements: searching plan records, search participants most recent employers plan, no-fee internet searches, following up with beneficiaries, and using a commercial locator service (like,PBI!)
  • PBGC Transfer Payments: Fewer benefit categories and actuarial responsibilities
  • New Rules: making benefits payments to missing participants and their beneficiaries – offering the participant greater benefit protection

The PBGC estimates that the participation program is expected to increase by approximately 200-3,300 plans. If implemented it will affect all terminating plans after 2017.

“Many people associate PBGC with paying benefits for people in failed plans, but our mission is broader than that,” said PBGC Director Tom Reeder. “We are also responsible for enhancing retirement security for American workers and retirees. One of the ways to do that is to connect them with their retirement savings.” If the proposed plan is approved, participants will be able to locate their benefits with greater ease.

The PBGC is accepting comments until November 21, 2016.

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PBGC Announces Revisions to its Missing Participant Program2016-10-28T15:00:17-07:00
6 09, 2016

NTIS Announces a Delay in Death Records


NTIS announced on its website that there would be a delay of weekly and monthly Death Master File (DMF) records.

NTIS stated, “in August, as part of an effort to enhance our death records, we posted historical State death information that we obtained from North Dakota (ND), South Dakota (SD), and Virginia (VA) to our records.  Our interest in obtaining historic State death records was based on the recent work of our Office of the Inspector General (OIG), who suggested that we explore whether gaps in the death information reported to us by the States might improve our program integrity.”

“Soon after posting the death information to our records, we discovered records containing possible errors.   We are aggressively analyzing the data and correcting our records.  As part of our efforts, we need to analyze our weekly and monthly NTIS DMF transaction file to ensure the records we share with NTIS do not include the personal information of individuals where we removed the State death from our records as part of this effort.  This will cause a delay in the weekly and monthly files NTIS receives from SSA.”

Key Takeaways from the NTIS notice:

Monthly File Delays: approximately 8 hours (Friday morning to afternoon)

Weekly File Delays: Saturday to Monday

  • It is unknown when normal NTIS weekly and monthly death information will resume, but rest assured PBI will notify you with updates as they arise.

For additional information, please read the full NTIS notice here.

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NTIS Announces a Delay in Death Records2016-09-06T12:44:14-07:00