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Benefits

EBSA Highlights Its 2023 Enforcement Results

EBIA  

· 5 minute read

EBIA  

· 5 minute read

Fact Sheet: EBSA Restores Over $1.4 Billion to Employee Benefit Plans, Participants, and Beneficiaries

 Fact Sheet

News Release

The DOL has released a fact sheet announcing ERISA enforcement results generated by the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) for its 2023 fiscal year. The fact sheet notes that EBSA has enforcement authority over approximately 765,000 retirement plans, 2.8 million health plans, and 619,000 other welfare benefit plans, covering about 153 million workers, retirees, and dependents and holding nearly $13 trillion in assets.

Total monetary recoveries for the year exceeded $1.4 billion, including nearly $845 million in benefits recovered and assets restored to plans through enforcement actions and over $444 million recovered and restored through informal resolution of individual complaints. Nonmonetary corrective actions resulting from the agency’s efforts included elimination of illegal plan provisions, improved missing participant procedures and fiduciary governance, increased access to mental health benefits, and global corrections involving service providers for “numerous” ERISA health plans. The fact sheet also reports on the use of EBSA’s compliance assistance programs, noting that there were 1,192 applications to the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (resulting in a recovery of $84.5 million) and 18,955 annual reports (Form 5500s) filed through the Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program—as well as over 16,000 inquiries handled by the EFAST2 help desk. Statistics on criminal investigations and EBSA’s outreach, education, and assistance efforts are also provided.

EBIA Comment: The monetary results reflect the breadth of the DOL’s civil enforcement actions, with just over half of recoveries relating to terminated vested defined benefit plan participants and the rest (over $415 million) from other plan investigations. The specific mention of results relating to mental health reflects that this topic is currently a high priority for the DOL. Plan sponsors, administrators, and service providers should stay on top of ERISA compliance requirements to limit potential exposure in the event of an investigation. For more information, see EBIA’s ERISA Compliance manual at Sections XXXII.B (“Correcting Late and Unfiled Form 5500s: Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program”), XXXII.J (“Fiduciary Failures: Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program”), and XXXVII (“DOL Audits and Investigations Under ERISA”). See also EBIA’s 401(k) Plans manual at Sections XXXII.C (“DOL Investigations”) and XXXVI (“Correcting Plan Mistakes: DOL’s VFC Program”); EBIA’s Group Health Plan Mandates manual at Section IX.J.2 (“DOL Enforcement of the MHPAEA”); and EBIA’s Self-Insured Health Plans manual at Section XXXII.B (“DOL Civil Investigations (Audits) Under ERISA”).

 

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