PWBA Gets Raise, Name Change

January 13, 2003 ( - Major changes are in store for the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA), as President Bush has stated the fiscal year 2004 budget would include a 10% increase for the Department of Labor division, in addition to a name change, according to Washington-based legal publisher BNA.

In his January 11 radio address, the President said the PWBA would now be known as the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). The name change proclamation came in conjunction with the announcement that the department was to get a 10% budget increase, allowing the agency to restore, protect, or recover about $500 million in pension plan assets.

The budget increase is being provided to assist in safeguarding retirement savings and other benefits in the wake of a plethora of corporate fraud that has devastated some pension plans.   Additionally, the extra funding will be used to expand compliance assistance efforts to educate employers and pension plan administrators “on their responsibilities under the new pension laws,” Bush stated.

This past February, Bush issued a proposal to reform current pension laws in response to corporate fraud cases that entitled participants to new diversification rights, more frequent account statements, and increased access to investment advice. The House of Representatives responded positively to the measure, as it rapidly made its way through the chamber.   However, a similar measure suffered in the Senate late in the session.