U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Sep 28, 2023
(a) In general. Subject to section 4022B of ERISA and part 4022B of this chapter, and except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, benefits payable with respect to a participant under a plan shall be guaranteed only to the extent that such benefits do not exceed the actuarial value of a benefit in the form of a life annuity payable in monthly installments, commencing at age 65, equal to the lesser of—
(1) One-twelfth of the participant's average annual gross income from his employer during either his highest-paid five consecutive calendar years in which he was an active participant under the plan, or if he was not an active participant throughout the entire such period, the lesser number of calendar years within that period in which he was an active participant under the plan; or
(2) $750 multiplied by the fraction x/$13,200 where “x” is the Social Security contribution and benefit base determined under section 230 of the Social Security Act in effect at the termination date of the plan.
(b) PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination. In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination—
(1) The five-year period described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section shall not include any calendar years that end after the bankruptcy filing date.
(2) “Bankruptcy filing date” is substituted for “termination date of the plan” in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. Example: A contributing sponsor files a bankruptcy petition in 2007. The sponsor's plan terminates in a distress termination with a termination date in 2008. PBGC will compute participants' maximum guaranteeable benefits based on the amount determined under paragraph (a)(2) for 2007 ($4,125.00 as a straight-life annuity starting at age 65).
(c) Gross income. For purposes of paragraph (a)(1) of this section—
(1) Gross income means “earned income” as defined in section 911(d)(2) of the Code, determined without regard to any community property laws.
(2) If the plan is one to which more than one employer contributes, and during any calendar year the participant received gross income from more than one such contributing employer, then the amounts so received shall be aggregated in determining the participant's gross income for the calendar year.
(d) Rollover amounts. Any portion of a benefit derived from mandatory employee contributions resulting from rollover amounts (as determined under § 4044.12(c)(4)(i) of this chapter) is disregarded in applying the provisions of §§ 4022.22 and 4022.23. However, any portion of a benefit derived from employer contributions resulting from rollover amounts (as determined under § 4044.12(c)(4)(ii) of this chapter) is combined with any other benefit under the plan for purposes of determining the maximum guaranteeable benefit under §§ 4022.22 and 4022.23. For example, assume that a participant has an $80,000 total annual plan benefit at age 65, of which $15,000 is derived from mandatory employee contributions resulting from rollover amounts and $5,000 is derived from employer contributions resulting from rollover amounts. The $15,000 benefit derived from employee contributions resulting from rollover amounts would be excluded in the determination of the participant's maximum guaranteeable amount. The participant's remaining $65,000 benefit (including the $5,000 benefit derived from employer contributions resulting from rollover amounts) would be subject to the maximum guaranteeable benefit limitation. Assuming the plan terminated in 2014, the participant's maximum guaranteeable benefit of approximately $59,000 for a straight life annuity at age 65 would effectively be increased by the $15,000 benefit derived from employee contributions resulting from rollover amounts, resulting in total guaranteeable benefits of approximately $74,000. (The maximum guaranteeable benefit limitation would apply to the participant's benefit derived from employer contributions; as a result, $6,000 of the participant's benefit derived from employer contributions would not be guaranteeable by PBGC.)