Other Fields
Agency Scheme: 
Hearing Level: Basic Structure
Name of Hearing Office (local name): 
Appeals Board
Name of Hearing Office (global name): 
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Appeals Board
Office of the General Counsel
Hearing Officer #1 (Title): 
Appeals Board Member (or Chair)
Are administrative appeals permitted from final decisions at the hearing-level stage?: 
Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 

Administrative review of initial (program-level) determinations by PBGC relating to various ERISA program matters (e.g., plan coverage, premiums, penalties, pension benefit entitlement, amount of recapture, etc.) under Part 4003 (29 CFR pt. 4003). The Appeals Board may take action on "routine appeals" through a decision by individual Board member, or have the appeal decided by a 3-member panel for matters considered significant or relevant to a large number of participants. The Appeals Board may, at its discretion, permit a hearing to allow appearances by parties and presentation of witnesses, but cases ordinarily are decided based on written submissions and agency records.

PROCESS & PROCEDURE - General Information
Are private parties permitted to have representation at hearings?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Who may serve as a private party representative?: 
About what percentage of private parties were represented at hearings (FY2013)?: 
Is the agency permitted to have representation at hearings?: 
N/A (e.g., Agency Not Party to Hearing)
Regulations/rules of practice for hearings (please include CFR citations): 
29 CFR pt. 4003, subpt. D
Other published guidance for hearings (if any): 
"Your Right to Appeal" (available on agency website)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Pre-Hearing Procedure
Is discovery permitted by either party at the hearing-level stage?: 
Briefly describe the scope and type(s) of discovery available (e.g., depositions, interrogatories, etc.): 
A participant or an employer may seek agency records via a FOIA request, and the Appeals Board permits a extension of time to allow the party to obtain available records before submitting an appeal.
Does the hearing officer have subpoena authority?: 
Are ex parte contacts prohibited?: 
Are parties provided notice of hearing?: 
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Hearing Procedure
What types of hearings are permitted at the hearing-level stage?: 
Written (Document-Only) Hearing
Please provide the approximate percentage of each type of hearing relative to the total number of hearings (FY2013)
Written (Document-Only) Hearing: 
How is the type of hearing selected: 
By Agency
Depends on Nature of Case/Claim
Please describe: 
Parties, when filing their appeal, may request an oral hearing or opportunity to present witnesses. The Appeals Board has discretion to select the type of hearing. Generally, "an opportunity to appear" is permitted when the Board determines there are disputed material facts. (29 CFR 4003.54, 4003.55(b)). PBGC's "Your Right to Appeal" booklet (which is posted on the agency's website) notes as follows: "The Board's past experience indicates that hearings or witnesses rarely are needed since appeals ordinarily can be decided based on written information" (Know Your Rights, p. 4 (Nov. 2009).
How many hearing officers preside at each hearing?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Individual Board members may decided "routine appeals" (as defined in the regulations). All other appeals are decided by 3-member panels. (29 CFR 4003.61; see also 29 CFR 4003.2 (defining "Appeals Board")).
Is witness testimony permitted at hearings?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Witness testimony is available only at the discretion of the Appeals Board. Appeals are typically decided based on the written record alone.
Can parties cross-examine witnesses?: 
Adjudication Officer Discretion
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Cross-examination would be permissible, at the Appeals Board's discretion, in the event of an oral hearing.
Can third-parties submit amicus briefs and/or evidence?: 
Adjudication Officer Discretion
Are hearings recorded and/or transcribed?: 
Are hearings open to the public?: 
No (Hearings Always Closed/All Types of Cases)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Post-Hearing Procedure
Who typically drafts the decision at the hearing-level stage?: 
If "Other," please specify (drafts): 
An Appeals Board Member always signs the final decision. Typically, the final decision is drafted by an assigned Appeals Analyst or Actuary and is reviewed by the Appeals Board Member.
Who has authority to issue final decisions?: 
Adjudication Officer
If "Other," please specify: 
Our "Hearing Officer" is an Appeals Board Member.
Do agency regulations or guidance provide time limits for issuance of final decisions?: 
About how long does it take on average—as of FY2013—to adjudicate claims/cases at the hearinglevel stage (i.e., from case filing: 
326 Days
Is judicial review available after issuance of a final decision?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Case Management
How are claims/cases processed at the hearing-level stage?: 
Please briefly describe your case management practice(s) at the hearing level stage: 
Appeals are assigned to individual Board Members, and they are generally processed on a first-in/first out basis. Board Members have discretion to issue decisions on cases when they are completed, even if it is not the oldest case in that particular Board Member's inventory.
Does the agency permit web-based electronic filing of hearing-related briefs or other documents?: 
Are final decisions published and/or posted on the agency website?: 
Yes (Some Decisions)
If "Yes (Some Decisions)," how does the agency determine which final decisions to publish/post? Please briefly describe: 
Final decisions issued by a 3-member panel of the Appeals Board since October 1, 2002 are posted on the agency website in searchable format (with information covered by the Privacy Act redacted). Single-member decisions are not posted. Appeals Board decisions -- whether issued by individual members or 3-member panels -- are non-precedential, and non-binding on other parties.
Do agency regulations/rules of practice specify the contents of the administrative record at the hearing-level stage?: 
Do agency regulations/rules of practice provide for closure of the record at the hearing-level stage (subject to applicable exce: 
Comments/Notes on Hearing-Level Process & Procedures (Optional): 
The Appeals Board may make referrals, on a discretionary basis, to the Director of the PBGC for decision. 29 CFR 4003.60. Use of this authority is rare. The Appeals Board closed 2,117 appeals during the four-year period of FY2009 - FY2012, and the average time to close these appeals was 326 days - very close to our 10-year average. For FY2013, the average number of days to close an appeal was 629 days, the highest number in a decade. This FY2013 statistic was greatly impacted by the 657 days it took the Appeals Board to decide a complex "group appeal" by 1,498 participants in the Delta Pilots Retirement Plan. On average, less than 10% of individuals appealing a benefit determination are represented by counsel. Large "group appeals," which have been filed by counsel representing participants in various airline plans, would skew this percentage higher.
Comments/Notes on Hearing-Level Adjudicators (Optional): 
The Appeals Board is comprised of a senior PBGC official (appointed by the PBGC Director), who serves as the Chairperson, and "three or more other PBGC officials" to serve as regular Appeals Board members. (29 CFR 4003.2 (defining "Appeals Board"). Appeals Board Members serve full-time in this duty. The Appeals Division Manager also serves as a Board Member, but takes fewer cases than other members.
ADR: General Information
Is ADR available at one or more points during the hearing process?: 
CASELOAD STATISTICS - Summary Statistics
Total # Cases Filed/Opened (FY2013): 
Total # Cases Decided/Closed (FY2013): 
1 742
Total # Cases Pending (End of FY2013): 
CASELOAD STATISTICS - Supplementary Statistics
Does your agency maintain annual caseload statistics for this hearing office by case type (e.g., discrimination complaint, licen: 
Verified by Agency: