U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Aug 13, 2022

§ 4262.4 - Amount of special financial assistance.

(a) In general - (1) Plans other than MPRA plans. Subject to paragraph (f) of this section and to the adjustment for the date of payment as described in § 4262.12, the amount of special financial assistance for a plan that is not a MPRA plan is the lowest whole dollar amount (not less than $0) for which, as of the last day of each plan year during the SFA coverage period, projected SFA assets and projected non-SFA assets are both greater than or equal to zero.

(2) MPRA plans. Subject to paragraph (f) of this section and to the adjustment for the date of payment as described in § 4262.12, the amount of special financial assistance for a MPRA plan is the greatest of the amount determined under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the amount determined under paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section, and the amount determined under paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section.

(i) The amount determined under this paragraph (a)(2)(i) is the lowest whole dollar amount (not less than $0) for which, as of the last day of each plan year during the SFA coverage period, projected SFA assets and projected non-SFA assets are both greater than or equal to zero, and, as of the last day of the SFA coverage period, the sum of projected SFA assets and projected non-SFA assets is greater than the amount of such sum as of the last day of the immediately preceding plan year.

(ii) The amount determined under this paragraph (a)(2)(ii) is the present value of benefits paid and expected to be paid by the plan during the SFA coverage period attributable to the reinstatement of benefits under § 4262.15(a)(1), payment of previously suspended benefits under § 4262.15(a)(2), and any restoration of benefits under 26 CFR 1.432(e)(9)-1(e)(3), calculated using the SFA interest rate under paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

(3) MPRA plan definition. For purposes of this section, MPRA plan means a plan that is eligible for special financial assistance under § 4262.3(a)(2).

(b) Projected SFA assets. The amount of projected SFA assets for a plan is determined by projecting special financial assistance forward annually until the projected SFA assets are exhausted, using the following annual cash flows:

(1) Benefits paid and expected to be paid by the plan during the SFA coverage period, including any reinstatement of benefits attributable to the elimination of reductions in a participant's or beneficiary's benefit due to a suspension of benefits under sections 305(e)(9) or 4245(a) of ERISA as required under § 4262.15(a)(1), payment of previously suspended benefits under § 4262.15(a)(2), and any restoration of benefits under 26 CFR 1.432(e)(9)-1(e)(3), assuming such reinstated benefits are paid beginning as of the SFA measurement date and excluding any benefit increases resulting from contribution increases agreed to on or after July 9, 2021, as demonstrated by the execution of a document described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section;

(2) Administrative expenses paid and expected to be paid by the plan during the SFA coverage period, excluding the amount owed to PBGC under section 4261 of ERISA (which is added to the amount of special financial assistance in § 4262.12 determined as of the date special financial assistance is paid); and

(3) Investment returns expected to be earned by amounts attributable to special financial assistance calculated using the SFA interest rate described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, excluding investment returns for the plan year in which the sum of annual projected benefit payments and administrative expenses for the year exceeds the beginning-of-year projected SFA assets.

(c) Projected non-SFA assets. The amount of projected non-SFA assets for a plan is determined by projecting the fair market value of plan assets on the SFA measurement date forward annually, using the following annual cash flows:

(1) Benefits paid and expected to be paid by the plan during the SFA coverage period after the projected SFA assets described in paragraph (b) of this section are fully exhausted, including any reinstatement of benefits attributable to the elimination of reductions in a participant's or beneficiary's benefit due to a suspension of benefits under sections 305(e)(9) or 4245(a) of ERISA as required under § 4262.15(a)(1), payment of previously suspended benefits under § 4262.15(a)(2), and any restoration of benefits under 26 CFR 1.432(e)(9)-1(e)(3), assuming such reinstated benefits are paid beginning as of the SFA measurement date and excluding any benefit increases resulting from contribution increases agreed to on or after July 9, 2021, as demonstrated by the execution of a document described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section;

(2) Administrative expenses paid and expected to be paid by the plan during the SFA coverage period after the projected SFA assets described in paragraph (b) of this section are fully exhausted, excluding the amount owed to PBGC under section 4261 of ERISA (which is added to the amount of special financial assistance in § 4262.12 determined as of the date special financial assistance is paid);

(3) Employer contributions paid and expected to be paid to the plan during the SFA coverage period, excluding contribution rate increases agreed to on or after July 9, 2021, as demonstrated by the execution of a document increasing a plan's contribution rate. The document referred to in this paragraph (c)(3) is either -

(i) A collective bargaining agreement not rejected by the plan; or

(ii) A document reallocating contribution rates;

(4) Withdrawal liability payments made and expected to be made to the plan during the SFA coverage period taking into account a reasonable allowance for amounts considered uncollectible;

(5) Other payments made and expected to be made to the plan (excluding the amount of financial assistance under section 4261 of ERISA and special financial assistance to be received by the plan) during the SFA coverage period; and

(6) Investment returns expected to be earned by assets not attributable to special financial assistance calculated using the non-SFA interest rate described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section.

(d) Deterministic basis. The projections in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section must be performed on a deterministic basis using assumptions as described in paragraph (e) of this section. For a plan other than a plan described in § 4262.4(g), the projections must be based on the participant census data used to prepare the plan's actuarial valuation report, either -

(1) For the plan year in which occurs the plan's SFA measurement date; or

(2) If there is no such report for that plan year, for the preceding plan year.

(e) Actuarial assumptions. The amount of special financial assistance must be determined in accordance with generally accepted actuarial principles and practices and the provisions in this paragraph (e).

(1) The non-SFA interest rate is the lesser of the rate in paragraph (e)(1)(i) or (ii) of this section.

(i) The interest rate in this paragraph (e)(1)(i) is the interest rate used for funding standard account purposes as projected in the plan's most recently completed certification of plan status before January 1, 2021.

(ii) The interest rate in this paragraph (e)(1)(ii) is the interest rate that is 200 basis points higher than the rate specified in section 303(h)(2)(C)(iii) of ERISA (disregarding modifications made under section 303(h)(2)(C)(iv)) for the month in which such rate is the lowest among the 4 calendar months ending with the month in which the plan's initial application for special financial assistance is filed, taking into account only rates that have been issued by the IRS as of the day that is the day before the date the plan's initial application is filed.

(2) The SFA interest rate is the lesser of the rate in paragraph (e)(2)(i) or (ii) of this section.

(i) The interest rate in this paragraph (e)(2)(i) is the interest rate in paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section.

(ii) The interest rate in this paragraph (e)(2)(ii) is the interest rate that is 67 basis points higher than the average of the rates specified in section 303(h)(2)(C)(i), (ii), and (iii) of ERISA (disregarding modifications made under section 303(h)(2)(C)(iv)) for the month in which such average is the lowest among the 4 calendar months ending with the month in which the plan's initial application for special financial assistance is filed, taking into account only rates that have been issued by the IRS as of the day that is the day before the date the plan's initial application is filed.

(3) The actuarial assumptions (other than the interest rate assumptions under paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section) are those used for the plan's most recently completed certification of plan status before January 1, 2021, unless such assumptions are unreasonable.

(4) If a plan determines that use of the actuarial assumptions under paragraph (e)(3) of this section is unreasonable, the plan's application may include a proposed change in the assumptions (excluding the interest rate assumptions under paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section), as described in § 4262.5.

(f) Certain events - (1) General rules. (i) The special financial assistance of a plan that experiences one or more of the events described in paragraph (f)(2), (3), or (4) of this section during the period beginning on July 9, 2021, and ending on the SFA measurement date is limited to the amount of special financial assistance that would have applied to the plan on the SFA measurement date if the events had not occurred, as determined in a reasonable manner.

(ii) The special financial assistance of a plan that experiences a merger event during the period described in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section is limited to the sum of the amounts of special financial assistance that would have applied to the plans involved in the merger on the SFA measurement date if the merger had not occurred, as determined in a reasonable manner. If any of the plans involved in the merger also experiences one or more of the events described in paragraph (f)(2), (3), or (4) of this section during the period described in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section, the amount of special financial assistance for that plan on the SFA measurement date, determined as if the merger had not occurred, must be determined in accordance with paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section.

(2) Transfers. The event described in this paragraph (f)(2) is a transfer of assets or liabilities (including a spinoff).

(3) Benefit increases. The event described in this paragraph (f)(3) is the execution of a plan amendment increasing accrued or projected benefits under a plan, other than a restoration of suspended benefits that satisfies the requirements of 26 CFR 1.432(e)(9)-1(e)(3).

(4) Contribution reductions. The event described in this paragraph (f)(4) is the execution of a document reducing a plan's contribution rate (including any reduction in benefit accruals adopted simultaneously or arising from a pre-existing linkage between benefit accruals and contributions), but only if the plan does not demonstrate (in accordance with the special financial assistance instructions on PBGC's website at www.pbgc.gov) that the risk of loss to participants and beneficiaries is reduced (disregarding special financial assistance) by execution of the document. The document referred to in this paragraph (f)(4) is either -

(i) A collective bargaining agreement not rejected by the plan; or

(ii) A document reallocating contribution rates.

(5) Effect of pre-event ineligibility. In determining the amount of special financial assistance that would have applied to a plan if an event described in this paragraph (f) had not occurred, if the plan would have been ineligible for special financial assistance under § 4262.3 in the absence of the event, then the amount of special financial assistance is deemed to be $0 (zero).

(6) Examples. The following examples illustrate the provisions of paragraph (f) of this section.

(i) Example 1. Plan A applies for special financial assistance. If the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section did not apply, Plan A would be entitled to special financial assistance in the amount of $20X. Before the SFA measurement date, but on or after July 9, 2021, Plan A transferred a portion of its assets and liabilities to Plan B. If the transfer had not occurred, Plan A would, as of the SFA measurement date, be entitled to special financial assistance in the amount of $40X. Although an event described in paragraph (f)(2) of this section occurred with respect to Plan A, Plan A's special financial assistance is unaffected by the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section and is $20X. Plan B also applies for special financial assistance. If the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section did not apply, Plan B would be entitled to special financial assistance in the amount of $30X. If the transfer from Plan A had not occurred, Plan B would, as of the SFA measurement date, be ineligible for special financial assistance. As a result of the event described in paragraph (f)(2) of this section, the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section reduces Plan B's special financial assistance from $30X to $0.

(ii) Example 2. Plan C applies for special financial assistance. If the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section did not apply, Plan C would be entitled to special financial assistance in the amount of $40X. Before the SFA measurement date, but on or after July 9, 2021, Plans A and B were merged into existing Plan C. If the mergers had not occurred, Plan A would not be eligible for special financial assistance, and Plan B and Plan C would be entitled, respectively, to $10X and $5X of special financial assistance as of the SFA measurement date. As a result of the merger event described in paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section, the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section reduces Plan C's special financial assistance from $40X to $15X.

(iii) Example 3. Plan A applies for special financial assistance. If the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section did not apply, Plan A would be entitled to special financial assistance in the amount of $10X. Before the SFA measurement date, but on or after July 9, 2021, projected benefits under Plan A were increased. If the increase had not occurred, Plan A would, as of the SFA measurement date, be ineligible for special financial assistance. As a result of the event described in paragraph (f)(3) of this section, applying the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section and in accordance with paragraph (f)(5) of this section, Plan A is treated as being entitled to special financial assistance of $0.

(iv) Example 4. Plan A applies for special financial assistance. If the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section did not apply, Plan A would be entitled to special financial assistance in the amount of $10X. Before the SFA measurement date, but on or after July 9, 2021, Plan A's contribution rate was reduced. Plan A's benefit formula states that the monthly benefit accrual for a participant for a plan year is 2.0 percent of the contributions paid on behalf of the participant for that plan year. Since there is a pre-existing linkage between benefit accruals and contributions, the event described in paragraph (f)(4) of this section includes both the reduction in benefit accruals and the reduction in the contribution rate. If the contribution rate reduction and the reduction in benefit accruals had not occurred, Plan A would, as of the SFA measurement date, be entitled to special financial assistance of $8X. Plan A does not provide a demonstration that the risk of loss to participants and beneficiaries is reduced (disregarding special financial assistance) due to the reduction in contribution rate and the reduction in benefit accruals. As a result of the events described in paragraph (f)(4) of this section, the limitation in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section reduces Plan A's special financial assistance from $10X to $8X.

(g) Filers under the interim provisions of this part. If a plan's application for special financial assistance under the terms of this part as in effect before August 8, 2022 was filed before that date, the plan may choose to proceed in accordance with paragraph (g)(1), (2), (3), or (4) of this section (whichever applies).

(1) Approved application. If the plan's application for special financial assistance was approved as of August 8, 2022, the plan may -

(i) Supplement the plan's application as described in paragraphs (g)(6) and (8) of this section after special financial assistance is paid to or for the plan under the terms of this part as in effect before August 8, 2022; or

(ii) Not supplement the plan's application.

(2) Pending application. If the plan's application for special financial assistance was not approved, withdrawn, or denied, and was pending, as of August 8, 2022, the plan may -

(i) Withdraw the plan's application in accordance with § 4262.11(d) and file a revised application as described in paragraph (g)(5) of this section; or

(ii) Not withdraw the plan's application and have the application reviewed under the terms of this part as in effect before August 8, 2022 as described in paragraph (g)(7) of this section.

(3) Withdrawn application. If the plan's application for special financial assistance was not pending as of August 8, 2022, because the application was withdrawn, the plan may file a revised application as described in paragraph (g)(5) of this section.

(4) Denied application. If the plan's application for special financial assistance was not pending as of August 8, 2022, because the application was denied, the plan may file a revised application as described in paragraph (g)(5) of this section. Any revised application must address the reasons cited by PBGC for the denial.

(5) Revised application. Any revised application for special financial assistance filed by a plan under this paragraph (g) is processed in the same way as an initial application, and must demonstrate eligibility and the amount of the plan's special financial assistance determined under the provisions of this part as in effect on August 8, 2022, subject to adjustment as described in § 4262.12(a), and use the following base data:

(i) The plan's SFA measurement date determined as the last day of the calendar quarter immediately preceding the date the plan's initial application for special financial assistance was filed;

(ii) The plan's participant census data determined under this part as in effect before August 8, 2022; and

(iii) The plan's non-SFA interest rate and SFA interest rate as determined under paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section.

(6) Supplemented application. Any supplemented application filed by a plan under this paragraph (g) must be filed in accordance with paragraph (g)(8) of this section and must be limited to the changes and information specified in the supplemented special financial assistance instructions on PBGC's website at www.pbgc.gov, about the determination of the amount of special financial assistance under this part as of August 8, 2022 (including the interest rates in paragraph (e) of this section), and the filer must agree to be bound by the provisions of this part governing such a determination, in which case, special financial assistance is subject to adjustment as described in § 4262.12(c).

(7) No supplement or withdrawal. If special financial assistance has not been paid to or for the plan under the terms of this part as in effect before August 8, 2022, and the plan has not filed a supplemented application as described in paragraphs (g)(6) and (8) of this section, or withdrawn the plan's application in accordance with § 4262.11(d), the application will be reviewed under the terms of this part as in effect before August 8, 2022. The amount of special financial assistance for the plan will be determined under the terms of this part as in effect before August 8, 2022 and be subject to adjustment as described in § 4262.12(b).

(i) A plan that receives special financial assistance as described under this paragraph (g)(7) may subsequently file a supplemented application in accordance with paragraphs (g)(6) and (8) of this section.

(ii) If the plan's application is denied, the plan may file a revised application as described in paragraph (g)(5) of this section.

(8) Supplemented application special rules. (i) Except as provided in this paragraph (g)(8), the rules in §§ 4262.10 and 4262.11(a) and (b) and (f) and (g) for a revised application apply to a supplemented application.

(ii) A supplemented application must not change the plan's SFA measurement date, fair market value of assets, or participant census data, or include a proposed change in assumptions, except to propose a change to the plan's employer contribution assumption to exclude contribution rate increases agreed to on or after July 9, 2021, as permitted under paragraph (c)(3) of this section (in which case, the plan must exclude any benefit increases resulting from such contribution increases as required under paragraphs (b)(1) and (c)(1) of this section).

(iii) A supplemented application may be withdrawn and resubmitted at any time before PBGC denies or approves the supplemented application. Any withdrawal of a plan's supplemented application must be by written notice to PBGC submitted by any person authorized to submit an application for the plan and in accordance with the supplemented special financial assistance instructions on PBGC's website at www.pbgc.gov.

(iv) If PBGC denies a plan's supplemented application, any new supplemented application filed by the plan must address the reasons cited by PBGC for the denial.