Missing Participants/Beneficiaries Missing Participants/Beneficiaries

Missing Participants/Beneficiaries

The Cycle 3/Post PPA Base Plan Document in Section 7.08 – Missing Payee addresses how to handle distributions payable to missing a participant/beneficiary.


Section 7.08        MISSING PAYEE


                If all or any portion of the distribution payable to a Participant or Beneficiary remains unpaid because the Plan Administrator has been unable to ascertain the whereabouts of the Participant or Beneficiary after making reasonable efforts to contact the Participant or Beneficiary (which may include, but not be limited to, using certified mail, checking related plan and employer records, checking with a designated Beneficiary, and using free electronic search tools) the Plan Administrator may use a reasonable method to remove the assets from the Plan that is consistent with ERISA and the Code. Such methods may include, but not be limited to, (a) creating an individual retirement plan designated by the Plan Administrator; or (b) if, for a period of more than five years after such distribution becomes payable or six months after all attempts to locate the Participant or Beneficiary, the Plan Administrator is still unable to ascertain the whereabouts of the Participant or Beneficiary, the amount so distributable may be treated as a forfeiture under Article 6 hereof. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a claim is subsequently made by the Participant or Beneficiary for the forfeited benefit pursuant to clause (b) of the preceding sentence, such benefit shall be reinstated without any credit or deduction for earnings and losses. Amounts may be forfeited from a Participant's Account under this Section only in the case of a continuing plan (see Section 7.09 for distribution options to missing payees in the event of Plan termination). Amounts forfeited under this Section shall be used pursuant to Section 6.03(d).

To assist your plan fiduciaries, the DOL issued guidance on January 12, 2021 as to what they consider “best practices” in searching for missing participants and beneficiaries. You can access the Best Practices guidance here.