Case Study: Timely, Accurate, and Cost-Effective IT Solutions Help Modernize Outdated Processes

The ERISA Fililng Acceptance System 2 (EFAST2) Makes a Difference in Employee Benefits Reporting
Project Facts
  • EFAST2 replaced the manual, paper-based EFAST system with a fully electronic process for submission of Form 5500 filings via the internet and processing of more than 22 million pages of paper annually. 
  • EFAST2 boosted electronic filing to 100 percent from 1 percent under EFAST.
  • As DOL’s largest outsourced IT project, EFAST2 continues to earn exceptional ratings on the Federal IT Dashboard. EFAST2 processes more than 1 million Form 5500s with 99.99 percent accuracy, and provides end-user access to filing submission data within 24 hours.
The Issue

Federal IT initiatives and procurement can be complex, costly, and heavily scrutinized. Federal and state agencies need a trusted, reliable partner to develop and implement timely, accurate, and cost-effective IT solutions that achieve client goals and ensure public confidence and usability.

EFAST, the legacy system, required manual processing of millions of paper-based 5500 forms which were submitted by employers to report on trillions of dollars of investments in employee benefit programs.

The Approach

Mathematica’s Data Management and Analytics Department, a team of more than 60 skilled, experienced professionals, has been supporting and providing independent validation and verification (IV&V) of IT systems for government agencies for more than 20 years. For EFAST2, Mathematica’s team provided a range of high quality services including:  developing independent government cost estimates (ICGCEs); drafting statements of work (SOWs); performing system migration planning, developing and overseeing project plans and work breakdown structures, contract support, oversight of program implementation and administration, extensive testing and validation, and security. 

 

The team met key project milestones, anticipated and planned for the dynamic IT policy environment, identified cost savings, and achieved the project goal of a timely, efficient, accurate, and cost-effective process for Form 5500 Series reporting.

The Impacts

In close collaboration and partnership with DOL EBSA, the Mathematica team ensured that the project met the stated goal—modernizing an inefficient and costly paper process—but also set a high standard for other federal IT initiatives.

 

EFAST2 provides timely and accurate Form 5500 data to the government reporting, analysis, and enforcement as well as providing search capability for filers and the public. EFAST2 earned an impressive five out of five on the Federal IT Dashboard with a system accuracy rate of 99.99 percent.

 

In keeping with our mission to improve public well-being, EFAST2 ensures that taxpayers, companies, and government agencies now enjoy the benefits of: 

  • Timely electronic filing of employee benefits reporting
  • Disclosure, access, and transparency of critical financial data
  • Faster access to high quality, accurate, and timely data for financial reporting and research by government agencies
  • Greater ease of use for taxpayers to compare retirement and 401K plans through dashboards and other tools
  • Reduced filer burden
  • Lower operating costs compared to the legacy system
  • Online public access to Form 5500 data
  • Greater system performance and reliability
  • Greater compliance review productivity and greater enforcement


           

To learn more about how Mathematica Policy Research can provide solutions to your challenges, contact: Communications@mathematica-mpr.com

This case study is for informational purposes only. Mathematica Policy Research, a nonpartisan research firm, provides a full range of research and data collection services, including program evaluation and policy research, survey design  and data collection, research assessment and interpretation, and program performance/data management, to improve public well-being. Its clients include federal and state governments, foundations, and private-sector and international organizations. The employee-owned company, with offices in Princeton, N.J.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Cambridge, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.; Oakland, Calif.; and Washington, D.C., has conducted some of the most important studies of education, disability, health care, family support, employment, nutrition, and early childhood policies and programs.

About the Project

When the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) decided to modernize their paper-based process for annual reporting of employee benefits programs, the Data Management and Analytics department at Mathematica Policy Research worked closely with them to deliver a solution that earned accolades for its timeliness, transparency, ease of use, efficiency, and accuracy.

 

Each year, EBSA receives millions of Form 5500 submissions from employers reporting financial information for their employee benefit programs. Form 5500 data is an important source of information for other federal agencies, Congress, and the private sector in assessing employee benefit, tax, and economic trends and policies. It is also an important compliance, research, and disclosure tool for DOL, plan participants, and beneficiaries.

 

Mathematica worked with DOL and its partners to ensure that the implementation of the new system, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Filing Acceptance System II, or EFAST2, went smoothly. Mathematica provided oversight and monitoring of the design, development, and implementation of the new electronic system which simplified, automated, and expedited the processing of Form 5500 submissions.

 

Over several decades, Mathematica has provided EBSA with program management and independent validation and verification services to improve the timeliness, accuracy, and efficiency of the Form 5500 Series data processing.