IDCW Helps Save Pension Benefits.

Congratulations to Trustees Jeff Stark and Todd Helfrich and to all the participants of the Glens Fall Painters Pension Fund in securing financial security for the fund by obtaining Special Financial Assistance under the American Rescue Plan. This Fund is one of the first in the nation to receive assistance under this program.  The financial assistance will permit a fund that was in critical and declining status to pay its retirees full benefits for the duration of their retirements. The assistance reverses benefit cuts that were required when the fund was granted ordinary assistance from the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation during 2021.

The Glens Fall Pension Fund is a perfect example of why a program such as the SFA is necessary. Due to changing industrial trends, the local union that originally sponsored the Fund was merged by its international union with another local. As a result, contributions were no longer payable to the Fund by the vast majority of area contractors in the Fund’s industry. As contributions dried up, however, the Fund was still mandated to pay benefits that participants had accrued during their years of employment.  As these payments were made, the fund spiraled closer and closer to insolvency necessitating a PBGC loan. PBGC loans are conditioned on major reductions in benefits. This meant that participants would receive only a small fraction of what they were originally entitled to under the benefit plan. All of this was occurring without any fault by the participants or the Fund’s trustees. Special Financial Assistance prevented a very real injustice to the Fund’s participants who can now trust that their retirements are secure. 

Howard Wien served as counsel to the Fund during its transactions with the PBGC.