The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. wants to know more about defined benefit retirement plans that hover between life and death.[@@]

The federal pension insurance agency has asked the federal Office of Management and Budget for permission to conduct a mail survey of employers and other sponsors who have “frozen” their plans, or put them in a state of suspended animation.

“Findings about these plans’ characteristics, sponsor rationales for freezing these plans, sponsor intentions to either terminate or unfreeze these plans, and sponsor intentions to freeze plans that are not frozen will allow the PBGC to better forecast future trends in the plans it insures,” PBGC officials write in a notice that appears today in the Federal Register.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has recommended that the PBGC study frozen plans, the PBGC notes.

The PBGC estimates that about 750 plan sponsors will have to complete the survey.

Members of the public comment can file comments about the proposed survey by Dec. 8.

The PBGC has posted more information about the data collection at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/06jun20041800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-24858.htm