The U.S. Treasury Department says there are limits on how generous it will be toward employers that want to use Hurricane Katrina as an excuse for delays in contributing to pension plans.[@@]

Employers and plans in the devastated Gulf Coast area can delay making payments due Sept. 15, but employers outside the Gulf Coast that were affected by the storm must make their plan contributions on time, the department says.

For employers in the devastated area, “relief was granted in recognition of the administrative problems faced by employers and their service providers…due to lost records, and personnel and communications problems, resulting from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina,” the department says. “Such relief is not normally granted in other situations. While targeted relief is appropriate in these extraordinary circumstances, we remain equally committed to the necessary discipline of the funding requirements to protect the interests of workers and retirees, responsible plan sponsors, and ultimately taxpayers by targeting that relief to those directly affected by Katrina.”