TN 2 (10-19)

RM 03201.002 ERISA —Description of IRS Role

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects data submitted by pension plan administrators on individuals who may have deferred vested retirement benefits and then submits that data to SSA. SSA uses this IRS data to send claimants “Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information” notices informing them they may have potential private retirement benefits. The IRS has used various methods to provide SSA with potential private retirement benefit information and we describe those methods below.

  • Prior to December 2000, IRS provided SSA with ERISA data they received from pension plan administrators on paper forms. The form the pension plan administrators were required to fill out was the Schedule SSA, Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan.

  • Effective with the 1999 plan year reports and until June 2010, IRS, utilized the Department of Labor (DOL) Electronic Filing Acceptance System (EFAST) to scan paper Schedule SSA forms and transmit the data electronically to SSA; DOL sent paper forms they were unable to scan to SSA’s Wilkes-Barre Direct Operations Center (WBDOC) for processing.

  • As of June 2010, the IRS no longer uses the DOL contractor to process the ERISA data on individuals with deferred vested retirement benefits due to changes in DOL processing and personally identifiable information (PII) concerns. In addition, IRS replaced the Schedule SSA form completed by plan administrators with Form 8955-SSA.

  • Currently, the IRS processes the Form 8955-SSA data via their Files Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) System and then shares this FIRE data with SSA Systems. The IRS ships any paper Forms 8955-SSA to SSA’s WBDOC for scanning and processing.


The Schedule SSA is obsolete; in March 2011, the IRS published Announcement 2011-21 designating IRS Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits, as the form plan administrators should use to report individuals with deferred vested benefits to the IRS.


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RM 03201.002 - ERISA —Description of IRS Role - 10/01/2019
Batch run: 10/01/2019