A quasi-federal agency that protects the retirement income of over 44 million U.S. workers in more than 35,000 defined benefit pension in the event that the companies operating the plan go bankrupt. Defined benefit plans guarantee a minimum monthly payment upon retirement. The PBGC was created as a federal corporation through the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The purpose of the PBGC is to encourage the continuation and maintenance of defined benefit pension plans and provide timely and uninterrupted payments of pension benefits to participants and beneficiaries in plans covered by PBGC. Analysts typically say that when plan assets fall below 85 percent of the projected benefit obligations, then the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. will ask companies to begin funding the pension plan with cash.