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DOL proposes voluntary Retirement Savings Lost and Found database reporting

By Stephen Douglas , William “Bill” Kalten , Janet Rabinowitz and Laura Roos | May 29, 2024

We outline key factors for plan administrators to consider when deciding whether to provide data to the Retirement Savings Lost and Found database.
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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a proposal to collect information from plan administrators on a voluntary basis in order to establish an online search tool to help individuals locate potentially lost retirement benefits. Under the SECURE 2.0 Act, the DOL must establish a Retirement Savings Lost and Found database by December 29, 2024.

The DOL is asking plan administrators to begin voluntarily supplying the information outlined in its proposal beginning with their 2023 Form 5500s — which for calendar-year plans is due on or before July 31, 2024, unless a request for an extension is filed.

Lost and found database tool

The online searchable database is intended to help individuals locate retirement benefits that are subject to the ERISA vesting standards. Missing participants would use the tool to find contact information for:

  • A plan administrator for whom a claim for benefits can be made
  • The designated trustee or issuer of any individual retirement account where mandatory rollovers were deposited
  • The issuer of any distributed annuity contract issued by a plan

Data would be collected directly from plan administrators via one of two options: 1) in a filing made along with, but not as part of, the Form 5500; or 2) in a separate (not yet created) secure portal.

Some of the types of data requested by the DOL include: 1) plan administrator information, including name, employer identification number, mailing address and telephone number; 2) participant information, such as names, dates of birth, mailing addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers; and 3) benefit information, such as the nature, form, amount, whether and how it's paid, and date of payment or commencement date.


Plan administrators will need to consider many factors when deciding whether or not to provide data to the Retirement Savings Lost and Found database.

  • Even though the proposed program is voluntary, this might change. The DOL believes it can already collect most of the requested information, stating it has authority to “investigate and collect information” under ERISA and “to verify participants’ and beneficiaries’ identities under the Retirement Savings Lost and Found online searchable database.”
  • Participating in the program may help participants locate their benefits in the future; therefore, a voluntary filing may promote head count reduction and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation savings in the long term.
  • Gathering and submitting the database information is expected to take significant internal resources and costs. Undertaking a partial filing focusing solely on nonresponsive and missing participants could lessen the burden.
  • Data privacy laws and contractual provisions may come into play related to the sharing of participant data. While a participant’s personal information can generally be shared with a court of law or government agency when a plan administrator is compelled to do so, it is less clear whether personal information can be shared when it is not legally required, which may be the case here.
  • Cybersecurity and fraud concerns also need to be considered. The DOL has indicated that the requested information should be transmitted via EFAST, the Form 5500 system maintained by the DOL. The proposal states that “security measures will be in place to protect plan participant and beneficiary data” and that “government access to the data will also be strictly controlled, which will be encrypted both at rest and in transit.”

Going forward

Plan administrators should consult with their plan’s legal counsel, benefit consultant, recordkeeper and service providers to determine whether and how they will participate in the Retirement Savings Lost and Found database program. Comments on the proposal may be submitted up until June 17, 2024.


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