A pension plan is an employee benefit plan established or
maintained by an employer or by an employee organization (such as a union), or
both, that provides retirement income or defers income until termination of
covered employment or beyond. There are a number of
types of retirement plans,
including the 401(k) plan
and the traditional pension plan, known as a
defined benefit plan.
Most private sector pension plans are covered by the
Employee Retirement Income Security
Act (ERISA). Among other things, ERISA provides protections for
participants and beneficiaries in employee benefit plans, including providing
access to plan information. Also, those individuals who manage plans (and other
fiduciaries) must meet certain standards of conduct under the fiduciary
responsibilities specified in the law.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration
(EBSA) of the Department of Labor is responsible for administering and
enforcing these provisions of ERISA. Click on the agency to find out more about
the agency's program. As part of carrying out its responsibilities, the agency
information on pension plans, as well as
for employers, plan service providers, and others to help them comply with
For questions about the tax provisions in the Internal Revenue
Code relating to pension plans, please contact the
Revenue Service (IRS).
For questions about traditional plans that promise workers a
specific monthly benefit at retirement, known as defined benefit plans, please
Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The PBGC also provides a Pension
Search Directory to help reunite people with their missing pensions.