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EBSA Enforcement Statistics from Fiscal Year 2020

Posted by Corey F. Schechter | Oct 27, 2020

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) enforces ERISA laws and regulations, including conducting civil and criminal investigations. EBSA investigations often result in recovering money from enforcement actions, voluntary fiduciary correction programs, abandoned plan programs, and informal complaint resolution. Enforcement statistics from fiscal year 2020 provide some insights on future enforcement efforts by EBSA.

 EBSA Enforcement Statistics from Fiscal Year 2020

The EBSA 2020 fact sheet shows the department recovered over $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2020. Including the following recoveries:

Recoveries from Enforcement Actions

Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program

Abandoned Plan Program

Monetary Benefit Recoveries from Informal Complaint Resolution

$2.602 billion

$12 million

$54 million

$456 million

EBSA closed 1,122 civil investigations in FY 2020 with over 67% of those cases resulting in monetary recovery for the plan or other corrective action. The largest share of these recoveries were on behalf of terminated vested plan participants (recovering over $1.48 billion in total for terminated vested participants).

When voluntary compliance is not available or efforts fail, EBSA refers cases for litigation. In FY 2020, 82 civil investigations were referred to litigation. 

EBSA also closed 230 criminal investigations in FY 2020. The criminal enforcement under ERISA included indictments against 70 individuals, resulting in 59 individuals being convicted or pleading guilty. This included plan officials, corporate officers, and service providers.

Over 300 investigations were opened as the result of inquiries and informal complaints. EBSA closed more than 171,000 inquiries made by plan participants, beneficiaries, and employees, recovering $456.3 million in benefits on behalf of workers and their families through informal resolution of individual complaints. Repeated inquiries and complaints or complaints that may indicate a fiduciary breach are referred for investigation.

Success with Compliance Assistance Programs

EBSA received 1,309 Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP) applications and 19,624 Delinquent Filer Voluntary Compliance Program (DFVCP) submissions. These programs encourage voluntary correction of ERISA violations to take corrective action without becoming subject to an enforcement action.

San Diego ERISA Law Firm

If you have any questions about ERISA violations, EBSA investigations, and potential enforcement actions, the law firm of Butterfield Schechter LLP is here to help. We are San Diego County's largest law firm focusing its law practice on employee benefits lawContact our office today with any questions on how we can help you and your business succeed.

About the Author

Corey F. Schechter

Corey Schechter practices in the areas of Employee Benefits, Employee Stock Ownership Plans, Pension and Profit Sharing Plans, ERISA, ERISA Litigation, Business Law, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), and Employment and Labor Law.


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