The U.S. government’s pension watchdog said Thursday it will take over three pension plans of bankrupt A&P because the buyers of most of the supermarket chain’s stores have declined to pay benefits.

The three A&P plans cover the retirement benefits for more than 21,000 people and are underfunded by about $292 million. A&P, also known as Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., filed for Chapter 11 in July, its second bankruptcy of the decade, with plans to sell and close some stores quickly and shop the others.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation “is stepping in because A&P has sold the majority of its assets in bankruptcy proceedings and most of the buyers declined to keep the plans going,” the agency said in a news release.

The PBGC will pay all pension benefits earned by A&P retirees up to the legal maximum of $60,136 a year for a 65-year-old. Retirees will continue to get benefits without interruption, and future retirees can apply for benefits as soon as they are eligible.

A&P had 296 operating grocery and liquor stores when it sought bankruptcy protection. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is now down to its last 16 operating liquor stores, which are turning a profit, and some real estate that is still being marketed.

The company’s pension plans include the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. Plan, which is 55% funded with $135 million in assets to pay $244.4 million in benefit liabilities. The PBGC expects to cover $105.6 million of the plan’s $109.4 million shortfall.

A second plan, the Pathmark Stores Inc. Pension Plan, is 64% funded with $327.2 million in assets to pay $509.5 million in liabilities. The PBGC expects to cover nearly all of the $182.3 million shortfall as well as that of the Delaware County Dairies Inc. Hourly Employees Pension Plan, which has no assets and covers only eight people.

A fourth plan that is administered by UFCW Local 464A and Acme Markets has not been terminated and is an ongoing plan.

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5 responses to “Pension Agency Assumes Benefits for A&P Workers”

  1. I have a client who’s Father is deceased & collected A & P Pension- Who does he contact to advise not to send anymore monthly pension amts

  2. I worked for the A&P from approx 1984-1992 as an assistant director of loss prevention out of the Springfield Ma. office. Do I have a pension due me.

  3. My mother in law passed away in 2017, and as we were finally cleaning out her things (2021) we found a letter from an insurance company, saying that there was a Guaranty company that wanted to pay out her pension, because she had never accessed it. The letter said that they wanted to make the payment in one lump sum, and that it would include the years of 1998, up until her death in 2017. We’re guessing that for some reason, she didn’t realize that she had a pension coming, or maybe she forgot about it. (She also found out many years after her retirement, that she had a 401K that she also had not cashed out, but we got that taken care of for her, so that she was comfortable for her remaining years). She worked there from 1969-1996. She never mentioned that she might have had a pension, or else we would have helped her with it. Could there really be a pension for her, that no one notified her of? Or was it just up to her to inquire about it, and if she didn’t, it would be considered abandoned? She was never married, so my husband called about it. They had him send documentation of her death, and her SS#. Thank you so much for your time.

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