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Notice

Submission of Information Collection for OMB Review; Comment Request; Qualified Domestic Relations Orders Submitted to the PBGC

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

ACTION:

Notice of request for extension of OMB approval.

SUMMARY:

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) is requesting that the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) extend approval, under the Paperwork Reduction Act, of an Start Printed Page 61706information collection (OMB control number 1212-0054; expires November 30, 2003) relating to model forms contained in the PBGC booklet, Divorce Orders & PBGC. The booklet provides guidance on how to submit a proper qualified domestic relations order (a “QDRO”) to the PBGC. This notice informs the public of the PBGC's request and solicits public comment on the collection of information.

DATES:

Comments should be submitted by November 28, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Comments may be mailed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget, Attn: Desk Officer for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Washington, DC 20503. Copies of the request for extension (including the collection of information) may be obtained without charge by writing to the PBGC's Communications and Public Affairs Department, suite 240, 1200 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026, or by visiting that office or calling (202)-326-4040 during normal business hours. (TTY and TDD users may call the Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and request connection to 202-326-4040.) The Divorce Orders & PBGC booklet may be accessed on the PBGC's Web site at http://www.pbgc.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

James L. Beller, Attorney, Office of the General Counsel, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026, 202-326-4020. TTY and TDD users may call the Federal relay service toll-free at 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 202-326-4020.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The PBGC is requesting a three-year extension of the paperwork approval relating to model forms contained in the PBGC booklet, Divorce Orders & PBGC. The collection of information has been approved through November 30, 2003, by OMB under control number 1212-0054. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

A defined benefit pension plan that does not have enough money to pay benefits may be terminated if the employer responsible for the plan faces severe financial difficulty, such as bankruptcy, and is unable to maintain the plan. In such an event, the PBGC becomes trustee of the plan and pays benefits, subject to legal limits, to plan participants and beneficiaries.

The benefits of a pension plan participant generally may not be assigned or alienated. Title I of ERISA provides an exception for domestic relations orders that relate to child support, alimony payments, or marital property rights of an alternate payee (a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a plan participant). The exception applies only if the domestic relations order meets specific legal requirements that make it a qualified domestic relations order.

When the PBGC is trustee of a plan, it reviews submitted domestic relations orders to determine whether the order is qualified before paying benefits to an alternate payee. The requirements for submitting a QDRO are established by statute. The models and the guidance assist parties by making it easier to comply with ERISA's QDRO requirements in plans trusteed by the PBGC; they do not create any additional requirements and result in a reduction of the statutory burden.

The PBGC estimates that it will receive 664 QDROs each year from prospective alternate payees; that the average burden of preparing a QDRO with the assistance of the guidance and model QDROs in PBGC's booklet will be 1/4 hour of the alternate payee's time and $734 in professional fees if the alternate payee hires an attorney or other professional to prepare the QDRO, or 10 hours of the alternate payee's time if the alternate payee prepares the QDRO without hiring an attorney or other professional; and that the total annual burden will be 234 hours and $482,400.

The PBGC is revising the QDRO booklet by providing an insert noting that the PBGC now offers more choices of annuity benefit forms. The insert will briefly describe the new benefit options and their availability to alternate payees and will refer parties to the PBGC's Web site, http://www.pbgc.gov, or the PBGC's regulations (29 CFR 4022) for more information on these annuity benefit forms.

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Issued in Washington, DC, this 23rd day of October, 2003.

Stuart Sirkin,

Director, Corporate Policy and Research Department, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

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[FR Doc. 03-27222 Filed 10-28-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7708-01-P