(a)Application. The plan administrator of an employee benefit plan may impose a reasonable charge to cover the cost of furnishing to participants and beneficiaries upon their written request as required under section 104(b)(4) of the Act, copies of the following information, statements or documents: The latest updated summary plan description, and the latest annual report, any terminal report, the bargaining agreement, trust agreement, contract, or other instruments under which the plan is established or operated. Except where explicitly permitted under the Act, no charge may be assessed for furnishing information, statements or documents as required by other provisions of the Act, which include, in part 1 of title I, sections 104(b)(1), (2), (3) and (c) and 105(a) and (c).
(b)Reasonableness. The charge assessed by the plan administrator to cover the costs of furnishing documents is reasonable if it is equal to the actual cost per page to the plan for the least expensive means of acceptable reproduction, but in no event may such charge exceed 25 cents per page. For example, if a plan printed a large number of pamphlets at $1.00 per 50-page pamphlet, the actual cost of reproduction for the entire pamphlet ($1.00) would be equal to 2 cents per page. If only one page of such a pamphlet were requested, the actual cost of providing that page from the printed copy would be $1.00, since the copy would no longer be complete. In such a case, the least expensive means of acceptable reproduction would be individually reproducing the page requested at a charge of no more than 25 cents. On the other hand, if six pages of the same plan document were requested and each page cost 20 cents to be reproduced, the actual cost of providing those pages would be $1.20. In such a case, if a printed copy is available, the least expensive means of acceptable reproduction would be to use pages from the printed copy at a charge of no more than $1.00. No other charge for furnishing documents, such as handling or postage charges, will be deemed reasonable. The plan administrator shall provide information to a plan participant or beneficiary, upon request, about the charge that would be made to provide a copy of material described in this paragraph.
[41 FR 16964, Apr. 23, 1976, as amended at 41 FR 37575, Sept. 7, 1976; 75 FR 9342, Mar. 2, 2010]
Title 29 published on 2013-07-01
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