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REGULATION/LEGISLATION

Western States multiemployer plan applies with Treasury for benefit cuts

Western States Office & Professional Employees Pension Fund, Portland, Ore., is seeking permission to cut benefits for participants, including retirees, as part of a proposed rescue plan awaiting approval from the Treasury Department.

Pension fund assets as of Jan. 1 were $334 million and liabilities were $535 million, for a funded status of 62.5%. Without benefit reductions, known as suspensions, the plan is projected to be insolvent by 2035.

The proposed benefit reductions would be 29% for active participants, terminated vested participants and retirees under the age of 75. Retirees older than 80 or under disability would see no change in benefits under the proposed plan.

In materials to participants, trustees said that between 2008 and 2016, the number of active participants dropped 62%, with retirees now outnumbering them 8-to-1 , and the number of employers dropped to 180 from 280 in 2008.

The Treasury Department has 225 days to respond to the application, which was filed Feb. 15.