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Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
  • EBSA enforces the provisions of ERISA by promoting voluntary compliance and facilitating self-regulation by employers.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is responsible for administering and enforcing the fiduciary, reporting, and disclosure provisions of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974. The agency oversees approximately 700,000 pension plans and another six million health and welfare benefits plans.

The provisions of Title I of ERISA, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), were enacted to address public concern that funds of private pension plans were being mismanaged and abused. ERISA was the culmination of a long line of legislation concerned with the labor and tax aspects of employee benefit plans. Since its enactment in 1974, ERISA has been amended to meet the changing retirement and health care needs of employees and their families. The role of EBSA has also evolved to meet these challenges.

The administration of ERISA is divided among the U.S. DOL, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the Department of the Treasury, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Title I, which contains rules for reporting and disclosure, vesting, participation, funding, fiduciary conduct, and civil enforcement, is administered by the U.S. DOL. Title II of ERISA, which amended the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to parallel many of the Title I rules, is administered by the IRS. Title III is concerned with jurisdictional matters and coordination of enforcement and regulatory activities by the U.S. DOL and the IRS. Title IV covers the insurance of defined benefit pension plans and is administered by the PBGC.

EBSA promotes voluntary compliance and facilitates self-regulation, working to provide assistance to plan participants and beneficiaries. The department’s responsibilities under ERISA have been expanded by health care reform. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), gave the department broad additional responsibilities with respect to private health plans.