Enforcement actions at the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration continued to rise in fiscal year 2020.
The EBSA recovered $2.6 billion from its investigations during the fiscal year, up from $2 billion in 2019 and $1.1 billion in 2018.
In total, EBSA recovered more than $3.1 billion for direct payments to plans, participants and beneficiaries in 2020, up from $2.5 billion last year and $1.6 billion in 2018, according to a Labor Department fact sheet published Tuesday.
Over the past four years, EBSA has recovered more than $8 billion, significantly increasing its recoveries from fiscal year 2017 — when it recovered a total of $1.1 billion — to 2020, the Labor Department said.
Of the $2.6 billion recovered in enforcement actions, roughly $1.5 billion was from its Terminated Vested Participant Project, which encompasses missing participants. That number was in line with the $1.5 billion the project recovered in 2019 and well above the $808 million in 2018.
Moreover, EBSA's Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program — which allows plan officials who have identified specified ERISA violations to remedy the breaches and voluntarily report the violations to EBSA without becoming the subject of an enforcement action — received 1,309 applications for fiscal year 2020, down from the 1,600 applications last fiscal year.
EBSA's oversight authority extends to nearly 722,000 retirement plans, about 2.5 million health plans, and a similar number of other welfare benefit plans, such as those providing life or disability insurance, the Labor Department noted. These plans cover about 154 million workers and their dependents and include more than $10.7 trillion in assets.