The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has laid revised draft regulations before Parliament that make changes to the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS).
Broadly, the FAS offers pension protection for employees of insolvent employers if, amongst other the things, they were a member of a qualifying occupational scheme that began winding up between 1 January 1997 and 5 April 2005.
These draft regulations are intended to implement the remaining elements of the extension to the FAS announced by the government in December 2007, as they relate to members of FAS qualifying schemes which are transferring their funds to the government (see the DWP’s website for more information). The government has also published its response to the earlier consultation on these draft regulations.
The DWP intends for these regulations to come into force in the summer.
The DWP has also issued a Trustee update on recent changes to the FAS. Included in this update is a clarification on the meaning of Normal Retirement Age (NRA) for the purpose of entitlement to FAS payments. The DWP has said that “the date the FAS will use as the individual member’s NRA is the NRA in force under the scheme rules as they applied at the date on which the member ceased to accrue rights in the scheme. The upper and lower age limits will remain the same.” The DWP intends to amend regulations to clarify this.