EBSA Puts Out Lost Participant Search Tips

September 30, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Plan sponsors now have access to guidance from the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) regarding their responsibilities in locating missing participants in terminated defined contribution plans.

>A DoL news release said that  Field Assistance Bulletin 2004-02 not only offers details on the search steps plan sponsors should take, it also how touches on to distribute the assets of missing participants when fiduciaries’ efforts to locate them are unsuccessful. The document suggests search steps could include:

  • using certified mail
  • checking related plan records
  • checking with a designated plan beneficiary
  • using a letter-forwarding service such as those from  the IRS’ or Social Security Administration.

>In cases where participants cannot be located, or fail to elect a method of distribution, the guidance indicates that plan fiduciaries can follow the  new safe harbor regulations  governing automatic rollovers for guidance on distributing benefits.