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Regulatory roundup

By Employee Benefit Research Group

More key retirement-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.

BLS:  Employee benefits in the United States
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released its annual benefits report. According to the report, access to employer-provided benefits was greater in medium and large private industry establishments than in small establishments in March 2012. 

Access, or availability of a benefit, was 57% for medical care benefits in small establishments (those with fewer than 100 employees), compared with 89% in large establishments (those with 500 employees or more).

In private industry, retirement benefits were available to 50% of workers in small establishments, 79% of workers in medium size establishments (those employing between 100 and 499 workers), and 86% of workers in large establishments.

In private industry, medical care benefits were offered to 41% of workers in service occupations and 87% of workers in management, professional, and related occupations.

To read the report, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

DOL final and proposed rule amend methods for notifying DOL of noncompliant services providers

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released a direct final rule that amends Section 408b-2(c)(1)(ix)(F) by revising the mailing address and web-based submission procedures for use by plan fiduciaries required to file notices under the regulation’s fiduciary class-exemption provision.

The final rule also provides information about a dedicated post office box that the DOL has established to replace the original postal mailing address.

The DOL said the amendment to the Section 408(b)(2) regulation would be effective September 14 this year, without further action or notice, unless it receives significant adverse comments by August 15. If it receives significant adverse comments, the DOL will publish a timely withdrawal of the amendment in the Federal Register.

In a companion proposed rule, the DOL says that, if it receives significant adverse comments on the direct final rule during the comment period, it will take no further action on the proposed rule. However, if it receives significant adverse comment by August 15, it will withdraw the direct final rule and address all public comments in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule.

Both the final and proposed rules are available on BIKE.

Annual statistical report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2011

Disability benefits were paid to over 9.8 million people. Awards to disabled workers (998,980) accounted for over 89 percent of awards to all disabled beneficiaries (1,114,060). In December, payments to disabled beneficiaries totaled about $10.4 billion. Benefits were terminated for 653,877 disabled workers. Supplemental Security Income payments were another source of income for about 1 out of 6 disabled beneficiaries.

Read the report at SocialSecurity.gov.

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