Yes, in addition to printed copies of the SPD, employers can use CDs or DVDs to provide the SPD. Consent of the participant is not necessary if the CD or DVD method is used. Whatever the method chosen, the SPD timing and recordkeeping requirements established by ERISA must be adhered to.
During litigation or audits, receipt of the SPD by a participant can become a crucial issue. Employers are advised to be prepared to provide documentation that the SPD was provided in a way “reasonably calculated to ensure actual receipt”. To confirm that necessary steps were taken to effectively distribute the SPD within the required time frame, mailing lists (internal, external, or electronic) should be maintained.