The Financial Assistance Scheme (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2006 came into force on 16 December 2006. The Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS), which was set up in September 2005, helps members who lost out on their defined benefit occupational pension benefits because their scheme was under-funded when it wound up (between 1 January 1997 and 5 April 2005) and the employer is insolvent or no longer exists.

Previously, members who were more than 3 years from their scheme’s normal retirement age on 14 May 2004 were excluded from benefiting from assistance. However, the effect of the new regulations mean that members of qualifying pension schemes who were within 15 years of their scheme pension age on 14 May 2004 are now eligible for assistance from FAS.

The regulations also give the DWP a discretionary power to include schemes where the employer is unlikely to continue as a going concern but for some reason has not formally undergone a qualifying insolvency event. A copy of the new regulations together with general information about the FAS is available from  http://www.dwp.gov.uk/lifeevent/penret/penreform/fas