The ABC’s of Pension Acronyms

by Sandra Wisnewski, Director, Mid-America Pension Rights Project

Welcome to the Elder Law of Michigan blog  My name is Sandra Wisnewski and I am the Director of the Mid-America Pension Rights Project. Hopefully, you have already read some of the stories about our efforts on behalf of our clients.  ????????????????????????????????????????

As you can imagine, we get lots of questions regarding pensions. This is the first of a series explaining the most common pension acronyms. Each of these acronyms will be explained in greater detail through a post in this series. Those posts include such topics as:

  1. DB – defined benefit.
  2. DC – defined contribution.
  3. ERISA – Employee Retirement Income Security Act – Federal law that applies to private pension plans.
  4. PA – Plan Administrator.
  5. PBGC – Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation – the government entity that insures most private pension plans.
  6. QDRO/EDRO – Qualified/Eligible Domestic Relations Order – document used to split a pension benefit when a divorce occurs.
  7. QJSA – Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity.
  8. REA – Retirement Equity Act – Federal law added to ERISA in 1984 pertaining to surviving spouses.
  9. SPD – Summary Plan Description.

We enjoy speaking to every person who contacts the Project, and want to dedicate this series to those with inquiring minds.  Thanks to all the clients who we’ve  had the privilege of assisting throughout the past seventeen years!

The Pension Project is funded by the Federal government through a grant provided by the Administration for Community Living, and is a program of Elder Law of Michigan, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit.  This blog was produced through grant funds, but does not represent the view of the Administration for Community Living.

Since the program began in 1998, the Pension Project has assisted over 11,000 clients and has recovered over 50 million dollars in pension benefits.  The Pension Project assists clients in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. For more information, visit

If you need help with or information about your pension or 401(k) benefit, please call the Mid-America Pension Rights Project at 866-735-7737 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.

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