U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 01, 2022
(a) General. Except as otherwise provided in this part, the PBGC will guarantee the amount, as of the termination date, of a benefit provided under a plan to the extent that the benefit does not exceed the limitations in ERISA and in subpart B, if -
(1) The benefit is, on the termination date, a nonforfeitable benefit;
(2) The benefit qualifies as a pension benefit as defined in § 4022.2; and
(3) The participant is entitled to the benefit under § 4022.4.
(b) PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination - (1) Substitution of bankruptcy filing date. In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, “bankruptcy filing date” is substituted for “termination date” each place that “termination date” appears in paragraph (a) of this section.
(2) Condition for entitlement satisfied between bankruptcy filing date and termination date. If a participant becomes entitled to a subsidized early retirement or other benefit before the termination date (or on or before the termination date, in the case of a requirement that a participant attain a particular age, earn a particular amount of service, become disabled, or die) but on or after the bankruptcy filing date (or after the bankruptcy filing date, in the case of a requirement that a participant attain a particular age, earn a particular amount of service, become disabled, or die), the subsidy or other benefit is not guaranteed because the participant had not satisfied the conditions for entitlement by the bankruptcy filing date. In such a case, the participant may have been put into pay status with the subsidized early retirement or other benefit by the plan administrator, because the plan was ongoing at the time. Even though the subsidy or other benefit is not guaranteed, the participant may be entitled to another benefit from PBGC (at that time or in the future). If so, PBGC will continue paying the participant a benefit, but in an amount reduced to reflect that the subsidy or other benefit is not guaranteed. PBGC will also allow a similarly situated participant who had not started receiving a subsidized early retirement or other benefit before PBGC became trustee of the plan to begin receiving a benefit (if the participant would have been allowed under the plan to begin receiving benefits and has reached his Earliest PBGC Retirement Date, as defined in § 4022.10), but in an amount that does not include the subsidy or other benefit.
(3) Examples - (i) Vesting. A plan provides for 5-year “cliff” vesting - i.e., benefits become 100% vested when the participant completes five years of service; before the five-year mark, benefits are 0% vested. The contributing sponsor of the plan files a bankruptcy petition on November 15, 2006. The plan terminates with a termination date of December 4, 2007, and PBGC becomes statutory trustee of the plan. A participant had four years and six months of service at the bankruptcy filing date and became vested in May 2007. None of the participant's benefit is guaranteed because none of the benefit was nonforfeitable as of the bankruptcy filing date.
(ii) Subsidized early retirement benefit. The facts regarding the plan are the same as in Example (i) (paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section), but the plan also provides that a participant may retire from active employment at any age with a fully subsidized (i.e., not actuarially reduced) early retirement benefit if he has completed 30 years of service. The plan also provides that a participant who is age 60 and has completed 20 years of service may retire from active employment with an early retirement benefit, reduced by three percent for each year by which the participant's age at benefit commencement is less than 65. A participant was age 61 and had 29 years and 6 months of service at the bankruptcy filing date. The participant continued working for another six months, then retired as of June 1, 2007, and immediately began receiving from the plan the fully subsidized “30-and-out” early retirement benefit. PBGC will continue paying the participant a benefit, but PBGC's guarantee does not include the full subsidy for the “30-and-out” benefit, because the participant satisfied the conditions for that benefit after the bankruptcy filing date. The guarantee does include, however, the partial subsidy associated with the “60/20” early retirement benefit, because the participant satisfied the conditions for that benefit before the bankruptcy filing date.
(iii) Accruals after bankruptcy filing date. The facts regarding the plan are the same as in Example (i) (paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section). A participant has a vested, accrued benefit of $500 per month as of the bankruptcy filing date. At the plan's termination date, the participant has a vested, accrued benefit of $512 per month. His guaranteed benefit is limited to $500 per month - the accrued, nonforfeitable benefit as of the bankruptcy filing date.