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March 9, 2009
COBRA Subsidy - Information Support
Internal Revenue Service – With regard to the COBRA subsidy provisions contained in the recently enacted American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”), the Internal Revenue Service has posted on its website initial information designed to help employers claim credit for the COBRA medical premiums they pay for their former employees. As part of this information, the IRS has provided a set of questions and answers for employers at the following link: “COBRA: Answers for Employers.” In addition, the IRS website provides a revised version of the “Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return” (Form 941) that employers will use to claim the new COBRA premium assistance payments credit, beginning with the first quarter of 2009.
February 2, 2009
COBRA is playing a key role in the economic stimulus proposals being contemplated by Congress.
Supreme Court Says “Yes” To Beneficiary Designation Reliance
The United States Supreme Court has simplified the lives of ERISA plan administrators by giving credence to proper plan administration.
New Medicare Part-D Notices – Again?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) is at it again.
Massachusetts Fair Share Filing - Streamlined
Fair Share Contribution Filing Requirement
Investment Advice, Regulations – Final?
On January 21, final participant investment advice regulations were published in the Federal Register. They are substantially similar to the proposed regulations issued in August (see Benefit Beat, 9/4/2008 – “Proposed Rules: Investment Advice Exemption for 401(K) Plans and IRAS”). These regulations are to take effect March 23, 2009; however, whether this will actually happen is an open question.
January 13, 2009
Updated IRS and DOL Publications & Forms
The IRS and DOL have issued updated publications and forms:
New FMLA Forms Posted on DOL’s Website
As a follow-up to last month’sBenefit Beat article summarizing the final FMLA rules, the DOL has posted the various new model FMLA forms on its website:
New Pension Relief Law
On December 23, 2008, President Bush signed the “Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008” (Public Law 110-458) into law. This law provides some pension plan relief from the required minimum distribution provisions for the 2009 year only (the IRS has taken the position that no relief will be available for minimum distribution requirements for 2008). The required minimum distribution requirement applies to retirement plan participants, aged 70½ or older, and mandates that these individuals take a minimum distribution from their plans. Because of the reduction in account values, this news should be welcome.
DOL Issues Final Civil Penalty Rules
EBSA has issued final regulations relating to procedures for assessing civil monetary penalties, in accordance with ERISA Section 502(c)(4), for certain notice failures. In summary, the Pension Protection Act of 2006, imposes several new notice requirements on qualified plan officials. The recently issued regulations clarify the process that the DOL can use to assess civil penalties for these violations.