Employee Benefits-IRS Provides Guidance On Notice To Be Provided To Terminated Employees With Deferred Vested Benefits

The Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) has updated its FAQs on new Form 8955-SSA to provide guidance on the notice that must be given to a separated employee with deferred vested benefits under a retirement plan. Here is what the IRS said.

Question 8 on Form 8955-SSA asks whether the plan administrator has provided an individual statement to each participant who is required to receive one (that is, each separated participant with unpaid vested benefits under the plan). The instructions to the Form add that the plan administrator must, before the expiration of the time for the filing of the Form, furnish to each affected participant a statement setting forth the information required to be contained in the Form (note that the 2009 and 2010 Forms-and thus the associated notices- are due by January 17, 2012 for calendar year plans, or if later by the last day of the seventh month after the close of the plan year plus extensions for others). When can question 8 be answered “yes”?

Question 8 may be answered “yes” if:

— the required information was timely furnished to participants in other documentation such as benefit statements or distribution forms. A separate statement designed specifically to satisfy this requirement is not needed; and

–the statements or other documentation issued to the participants include the following information-

Name of the plan,
Name and address of the plan administrator,
Name of the participant, and Nature, amount, and form of the deferred vested benefit to which such participant is entitled.

Thus, for purposes of completing Form 8955-SSA, the plan administrator’s notice to the plan participant does not need to include the participant’s social security number, the codes on page 2 of the Form 8955-SSA used to identify previously reported participants, or any information regarding any benefits which are forfeitable if the participant dies before a certain date.