The amount recovered in fiscal year 2022 from enforcement actions made by the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration decreased for the second consecutive year, the agency announced Monday.
The EBSA recovered $931 million from its enforcement actions during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, down from $1.9 billion in fiscal 2021 and $2.6 billion in fiscal 2020, according to a fact sheet.
In total, the EBSA recovered $1.4 billion for retirement, health and welfare benefits plans, participants and beneficiaries in fiscal 2022, down from $2.4 billion last year and $3.1 billion in 2020.
Of the $931 million recovered in enforcement actions, $542 million was from its Terminated Vested Participant Project, which encompasses missing participants. That project recovered $1.5 billion in each of the previous three years.
The EBSA's Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program — which allows plan officials to remedy ERISA violations they've identified and voluntarily report them to the agency without facing an enforcement action — received 1,374 applications during the fiscal year, up from 1,201 applications in fiscal 2021. In November, the Labor Department proposed a rule to expand the VFCP and public comments on the proposal are due Jan. 20.
Moreover, the agency's Abandoned Plan Program, which facilitates the termination and distribution of benefits from individual account pension plans abandoned by their sponsoring employers, received 1,433 applications in the fiscal year, and 1,453 were approved. In the previous fiscal year, the program received 1,770 applications and approved 923 of them.
"Our results in fiscal year 2022 show our commitment to safeguarding the security of the retirement, health and other work-related benefits of America's workers and their families," said Lisa M. Gomez, assistant secretary for employee benefits security, in a news release.
The EBSA's oversight authority extends to about 747,000 retirement plans, about 2.5 million health plans, and 673,000 other welfare benefit plans, such as those providing life or disability insurance, the Labor Department noted. These plans cover about 152 million workers and their dependents and have roughly $12 trillion in assets.