The ERRP was established by the ACA as a temporary program to reimburse employer and union sponsors of participating employment-based plans for a portion of the cost of health benefits for early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents. Payments under the program were capped at $5 billion. Earlier this year, CMS announced it would stop accepting applications for the program as of May 5, 2011, since it expected approved applications to exhaust program funding. On December 13, 2011, CMS published a notice announcing that it will deny ERRP reimbursement requests in their entirety if they include claims that are incurred after December 31, 2011.