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

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Notice of intent to request OMB approval of revised collection of information.


The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) intends to request that the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) approve, under the Paperwork Reduction Act, revisions to an information collection relating to PBGC's booklet, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders & PBGC (OMB control number 1212-0054; expires August 31, 2012). PBGC is requesting 3-year approval of the revised collection of information. The booklet provides guidance on how to submit a qualified domestic relations order (“QDRO”) to the PBGC. This notice informs the public of PBGC's intent and solicits public comment on the collection of information, as modified.


Comments should be submitted by August 6, 2012.


Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the Web site instructions for submitting comments.


Fax: 202-326-4224.

Mail or Hand Delivery: Legislative and Regulatory Department, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026.

PBGC will make all comments available on its Web site at

Copies of the collection of information may be obtained without charge by writing to the Disclosure Division of the Office of the General Counsel of PBGC at the above address 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 ask to be connected to 202-326-4040.) The regulations relating to this collection of information are available on PBGC's Web site at


Jo Amato Burns, Attorney, or Catherine B. Klion, Manager, Regulatory and Policy Division, Legislative and Regulatory Department, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, 1200 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20005-4026, 202-326-4024. (For TTY and TDD, call 800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 202-326-4024.)


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, 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 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 domestic relations order and the contents of such orders are established by statute. The models and the guidance provided by PBGC assist parties by making it easier for them to comply with ERISA's QDRO requirements in plans trusteed by PBGC; they do not create any additional requirements and result in a reduction of the statutory burden.

OMB has approved the collection of information in PBGC's booklet, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders & PBGC under control number 1212-0054 through August 31, 2012. PBGC intends to request that OMB approve the revised collection of information for three years. 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.

PBGC intends to revise the booklet, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders & PBGC, to describe a proposed change in PBGC's procedures that would apply when a draft domestic relations order is submitted for informal review. Under PBGC's current procedures, PBGC delays the commencement of benefits (for participants not in pay status) or suspends payment of benefits (for participants in pay status) from the date of receipt of a draft domestic relations order to up to 60 days after the date PBGC notifies the parties of the results of the review. Under the proposed change, PBGC would suspend payments for participants in pay status only upon receipt of an original signed domestic relations order or a certified or authenticated copy.

PBGC is also revising or eliminating certain model language which has often led to confusion as to how the language was to be interpreted. In addition, PBGC is making clarifying, simplifying, and editorial changes to model forms in the information collection.

PBGC estimates that it will receive 1,361 domestic relations orders each year from prospective alternate payees and participants. PBGC further estimates that the total average annual burden of this collection of information will be 4,138 hours and $870,400.

PBGC is soliciting public comments to—

  • Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Issued in Washington, DC, this 31st day of May 2012.

John H. Hanley,

Director, Legislative and Regulatory Department, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

[FR Doc. 2012-13635 Filed 6-5-12; 8:45 am]