The Department of Labor (DOL) in its budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 seeks funding to fuel new initiatives to make sure lost benefits go to those to whom they belong.
The DOL seeks $5 million in FY 2024 to establish a program for ensuring that missing participants receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
That includes more than employees born here. The budget request says that the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) also intends to increase its focus on industries with a high number of workers who are foreign-born. EBSA wants to determine if they, too, “have disproportionate incidents of missing participants” and if they “face any specific impediments to receiving benefits.”
The DOL also says that recovering benefits is among the objectives they seek to support through their request for funds to implement the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022. Specifically, one portion of those funds would facilitate work with the Secretary of the Treasury to create and maintaining an online searchable database — known as the Retirement Savings Lost and Found — that would allow retirement savers who have lost track of their retirement plan to search for the contact information of their plan administrator in order to make a claim for benefits.
The Bottom Line
Without additional funding, the DOL says, EBSA not only could not embark on its effort to find lost benefits and repatriate them, it “will need to reduce and limit its current efforts to serve missing participants.”
Consequently, warns the DOL, “the significant, positive return on investment that the program generates for taxpayers will be diminished.” It observes that in FY 2021, it recovered “an extraordinary $220,614 per investigator per day through these efforts alone, recovering a total of more than $1.5 billion for 16,024 missing participants.”
“Many people were living on very limited incomes without even knowing they had substantial retirement benefits available,” says the DOL. It notes that its enforcement and compliance assistance programs “have recovered billions of dollars for retired elderly workers and their beneficiaries after the plans lost track of them or were unable to contact them.” These efforts, it says, “enhanced the quality of life for many elderly people who were living at the financial margins.”
Finding out More
The DOL budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 is available here: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/general/budget/2024/CBJ-2024-V2-01.pdf