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Pension agency to pay retiree benefits for A&P workers

Employees of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea

Employees of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. supermarkets, like this Pathmark on Grand Avenue in Baldwin, will get pensions through a government agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Credit: Audrey C. Tiernan

A federal agency said Thursday it will pay retirement benefits to more than 21,000 current and future retirees from the bankrupt Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.

A&P’s 51 Waldbaum’s and Pathmark stores on Long Island employed about 5,000 workers. Most found work at other stores, but about 2,000 lost their jobs.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., an independent federal agency, provides a safety net for participants in private- sector defined-benefit pension plans.

In a statement yesterday the agency said, “PBGC is stepping in because A&P has sold the majority of its assets in bankruptcy proceedings and most of the buyers declined to keep the plans going. The three plans that PBGC will assume ended on Nov. 30, 2015.”

The agency will pay all pension benefits earned by A&P retirees up to the legal maximum of $60,136 a year after they turn 65.

Retirees will continue to get benefits without interruption, and future retirees can apply for benefits as soon as they are eligible.

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