What is a Governmental Plan?
A “governmental plan” is a retirement or deferred compensation plan that is sponsored by the United States, a state or local government, an Indian tribal government, or any agency or instrumentality thereunder (e.g., the Federal Reserve), as well as any plan under the Railroad Retirement Act of 1935 or 1937. A governmental plan is exempt from ERISA and its requirements. However, many governmental plans are qualified plans even though they are not subject to all of the requirements in Internal Revenue Code (Code) section 401(a), including the requirement to honor a QDRO. For example, most governmental defined benefit pension plans are qualified plans. Conversely, most governmental defined contribution plans are nonqualified plans that fall under other Code sections (e.g., 403(b), 457(b), 457(f)).