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Title 29 Part 4022 → Subpart A

Title 29 → Subtitle B → Chapter XL → Subchapter D → Part 4022 → Subpart A

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 29 Part 4022 → Subpart A

e-CFR data is current as of November 20, 2019

Title 29Subtitle BChapter XLSubchapter DPart 4022 → Subpart A


Title 29: Labor
PART 4022—BENEFITS PAYABLE IN TERMINATED SINGLE-EMPLOYER PLANS


§4022.1   Purpose and scope.

The purpose of this part is to prescribe rules governing the calculation and payment of benefits payable in terminated single-employer plans under section 4022 of ERISA. Subpart A, which applies to each plan providing benefits guaranteed under title IV of ERISA, contains definitions applicable to all subparts, and describes benefits that are guaranteed by the PBGC subject to the limitations set forth in subpart B. Subpart C is reserved for rules relating to the calculation and payment of unfunded nonguaranteed benefits under section 4022(c) of ERISA. Subpart D prescribes procedures that minimize the overpayment of benefits by plan administrators after initiating distress terminations of single-employer plans that are not expected to be sufficient for guaranteed benefits. Subpart E sets forth the method of recoupment of benefit payments in excess of the amounts permitted under sections 4022, 4022B, and 4044 of ERISA from participants and beneficiaries in PBGC-trusteed plans, and provides for reimbursement of benefit underpayments. (The provisions of this part have not been amended to take account of changes made in section 4022 of ERISA by sections 766 and 777 of the Retirement Protection Act of 1994.)

[61 FR 34028, July 1, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 67728, Dec. 30, 1997]

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§4022.2   Definitions.

The following terms are defined in §4001.2 of this chapter: annuity, bankruptcy filing date, Code, employer, ERISA, guaranteed benefit, majority owner, mandatory employee contributions, nonforfeitable benefit, non-PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, normal retirement age, notice of intent to terminate, PBGC, person, plan, plan administrator, plan year, PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, proposed termination date, statutory hybrid plan, and title IV benefit.

In addition, for purposes of this part (unless otherwise required by the context):

Accumulated mandatory employee contributions means mandatory employee contributions plus interest credited on those contributions under the plan, or, if greater, interest required by section 204(c) of ERISA.

Benefit in pay status means that one or more benefit payments have been made or would have been made except for administrative delay.

Benefit increase means any benefit arising from the adoption of a new plan or an increase in the value of benefits payable arising from an amendment to an existing plan. Such increases include, but are not limited to, a scheduled increase in benefits under a plan or plan amendment, such as a cost-of-living increase, and any change in plan provisions which advances a participant's or beneficiary's entitlement to a benefit, such as liberalized participation requirements or vesting schedules, reductions in the normal or early retirement age under a plan, an unpredictable contingent event benefit, and changes in the form of benefit payments. In the case of a plan under which the amount of benefits depends on the participant's salary and the participant receives a salary increase the resulting increase in benefits to which the participant becomes entitled will not, for the purpose of this part, be treated as a benefit increase. Similarly, in the case of a plan under which the amount of benefits depends on the participant's age or service, and the participant becomes entitled to increased benefits solely because of advancement in age or service, the increased benefits to which the participant becomes entitled will not, for the purpose of this part, be treated as a benefit increase.

Covered employment means employment with respect to which benefits accrue under a plan.

Pension benefit means a benefit payable as an annuity, or one or more payments related thereto, to a participant who permanently leaves or has permanently left covered employment, or to a surviving beneficiary, which payments by themselves or in combination with Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or workmen's compensation benefits provide a substantially level income to the recipient. An annuity benefit resulting from a rollover amount is a pension benefit.

Straight life annuity means a series of level periodic payments payable for the life of the recipient, but does not include any combined annuity form, including an annuity payable for a term certain and life.

Unpredictable contingent event (UCE) has the same meaning as unpredictable contingent event in section 206(g)(1)(C) of ERISA and Treas. Reg. §1.436-1(j)(9) (26 CFR 1.436-1(j)(9)). It includes a plant shutdown (full or partial) or a similar event (such as a full or partial closing of another type of facility, or a layoff or other workforce reduction), or any event other than the attainment of any age, performance of any service, receipt or derivation of any compensation, or occurrence of death or disability.

Unpredictable contingent event benefit (UCEB) has the same meaning as unpredictable contingent event benefit in section 206(g)(1)(C) of ERISA and Treas. Reg. §1.436-1(j)(9) (26 CFR 1.436-1(j)(9)). Thus, a UCEB is any benefit or benefit increase to the extent that it would not be payable but for the occurrence of a UCE. A benefit or benefit increase that is conditioned upon the occurrence of a UCE does not cease to be a UCEB as a result of the contingent event having occurred or its occurrence having become reasonably predictable.

[61 FR 34028, July 1, 1996, as amended at 74 FR 59096, Nov. 17, 2009; 76 FR 34601, June 14, 2011; 79 FR 25672, May 6, 2014; 79 FR 70094, Nov. 25, 2014; 83 FR 49803, Oct. 3, 2018]

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§4022.3   Guaranteed benefits.

(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.

[61 FR 34028, July 1, 1996; 61 FR 67943, Dec. 26, 1996; 76 FR 34601, June 14, 2011]

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§4022.4   Entitlement to a benefit.

(a) A participant or his surviving beneficiary is entitled to a benefit if under the provisions of a plan:

(1) The benefit was in pay status on the termination date of the plan.

(2) The benefit is payable in an optional life-annuity form of benefit that the participant or beneficiary elected on or before the termination date of the plan or, if later, the date on which PBGC became statutory trustee of the plan.

(3) Except for a benefit described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, 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) the participant had satisfied the conditions of the plan necessary to establish the right to receive the benefit prior to such date (prior to or on such date, in the case of a requirement that a participant attain a particular age, earn a particular amount of service, become disabled, or die) other than application for the benefit, satisfaction of a waiting period described in the plan, or retirement; or

(4) Absent an election by the participant, the benefit would be payable upon retirement.

(5) In the case of a benefit that returns all or a portion of a participant's accumulated mandatory employee contributions upon death, the participant (or beneficiary) had satisfied the conditions of the plan necessary to establish the right to the benefit other than death or designation of a beneficiary.

(b) If none of the conditions set forth in paragraph (a) of this section is met, the PBGC will determine whether the participant is entitled to a benefit on the basis of the provisions of the plan and the circumstances of the case.

(c) In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, “bankruptcy filing date” is substituted for “termination date” each place that “termination date” appears in paragraphs (a)(1) and (3) of this section. In making this substitution for purposes of paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the rule in §4022.3(b)(2) (dealing with the situation where the condition for entitlement was satisfied between the bankruptcy filing date and the termination date) shall apply.

[61 FR 34028, July 1, 1996, as amended at 67 FR 16954, Apr. 8, 2002; 76 FR 34602, June 14, 2011]

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§4022.5   Determination of nonforfeitable benefits.

(a) A guaranteed benefit payable to a surviving beneficiary is not considered to be forfeitable solely because the plan provides that the benefit will cease upon the remarriage of such beneficiary or his attaining a specified age. However, the PBGC will observe the provisions of the plan relating to the effect of such remarriage or attainment of such specified age on the surviving beneficiary's eligibility to continue to receive benefit payments.

(b) Any other provision in a plan that the right to a benefit in pay status will cease or be suspended upon the occurrence of any specified condition does not automatically make that benefit forfeitable. In each such case the PBGC will determine whether the benefit is forfeitable.

(c) A benefit guaranteed under §4022.6 shall not be considered forfeitable solely because the plan provides that upon recovery of the participant the benefit will cease.

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§4022.6   Annuity payable for total disability.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, an annuity which is payable (or would be payable after a waiting period described in the plan, whether or not the participant is in receipt of other benefits during such waiting period), under the terms of a plan on account of the total and permanent disability of a participant which is expected to last for the life of the participant and which began on or before the termination date is considered to be a pension benefit.

(b) In any case in which the PBGC determines that the standards for determining such total and permanent disability under a plan were unreasonable, or were modified in anticipation of termination of the plan, the disability benefits payable to a participant under such standard shall not be guaranteed unless the participant meets the standards of the Social Security Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder for determining total disability.

(c) For the purpose of this section, a participant may be required, upon the request of the PBGC, to submit to an examination or to submit proof of continued total and permanent disability. If the PBGC finds that a participant is no longer so disabled, it may suspend, modify, or discontinue the payment of the disability benefit.

(d) PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination. In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, “bankruptcy filing date” is substituted for “termination date” in paragraph (a) of this section.

[61 FR 34028, July 1, 1996, as amended at 67 FR 16954, Apr. 8, 2002; 76 FR 34602, June 14, 2011]

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§4022.7   Benefits payable in a single installment.

(a) Alternative benefit. If a benefit that is guaranteed under this part is payable in a single installment or substantially so under the terms of the plan, or an option elected under the plan by the participant, the benefit will not be guaranteed or paid as such, but the PBGC will guarantee the alternative benefit, if any, in the plan which provides for the payment of equal periodic installments for the life of the recipient. If the plan provides more than one such annuity, the recipient may within 30 days after notification of the proposed termination of the plan elect to receive one of those annuities. If the plan does not provide such an annuity, the PBGC will guarantee an actuarially equivalent life annuity.

(b)(1) Payment in lump sum. Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section:

(i) In general. If the lump sum value of a benefit (or of an estimated benefit) payable by the PBGC is $5,000 or less and the benefit is not yet in pay status, the benefit (or estimated benefit) may be paid in a lump sum.

(ii) Annuity option. If the PBGC would otherwise make a lump sum payment in accordance with paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section and the monthly benefit (or the estimated monthly benefit) is equal to or greater than $25 (at normal retirement age and in the normal form for an unmarried participant), the PBGC will provide the option to receive the benefit in the form of an annuity.

(iii) Election of QPSA lump sum. If the lump sum value of annuity payments under a qualified preretirement survivor annuity (or under an estimated qualified preretirement survivor annuity) is $5,000 or less, the benefit is not yet in pay status, and the participant dies after the termination date, the benefit (or estimated benefit) may be paid in a lump sum if so elected by the surviving spouse.

(iv) Payments to estates. The PBGC may pay any annuity payments payable to an estate in a single installment without regard to the threshold in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section if so elected by the estate. The PBGC will discount the annuity payments using the federal mid-term rate (as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to section 1274(d)(1)(C)(ii) of the Code) applicable for the month the participant died based on monthly compounding.

(2) Return of employee contributions—(i) General. Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section, the PBGC may pay in a single installment (or a series of installments) instead of as an annuity, the value of the portion of an individual's basic-type benefit derived from mandatory employee contributions, if:

(A) The individual elects payment in a single installment (or a series of installments) before the sixty-first (61st) day after the date he or she receives notice that such an election is available; and

(B) Payment in a single installment (or a series of installments) is consistent with the plan's provisions. For purposes of this part, the portion of an individual's basic-type benefit derived from mandatory employee contributions is determined under §4044.12 (priority category 2 benefits) of this chapter, and the value of that portion is computed under the applicable rules contained in part 4044, subpart B, of this chapter.

(ii) Set-off for distributions after termination. The amount to be returned under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section is reduced by the set-off amount. The set-off amount is the amount by which distributions made to the individual after the termination date exceed the amount that would have been distributed, exclusive of mandatory employee contributions, if the individual had withdrawn the mandatory employee contributions on the termination date.

Example: Participant A is receiving a benefit of $600 per month when the plan terminates, $200 of which is derived from mandatory employee contributions. If the participant had withdrawn his contributions on the termination date, his benefit would have been reduced to $400 per month. The participant receives two monthly payments after the termination date. The set-off amount is $400. (The $600 actual payment minus the $400 the participant would have received if he had withdrawn his contributions multiplied by the two months for which he received the extra payment.)

(iii) Rollover amounts. The rule in paragraph (b)(2) of this section (dealing with return of employee contributions) does not apply to a participant's accumulated mandatory employee contributions resulting from rollover amounts (as determined under §4044.12(c)(4)(i) of this chapter) or the benefit derived from such mandatory employee contributions.

(c) Death benefits—(1) General. Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, a benefit that would otherwise be guaranteed under the provisions of this subpart, except for the fact that it is payable solely in a single installment (or substantially so) upon the death of a participant, shall be paid by the PBGC as an annuity that has the same value as the single installment. The PBGC will in each case determine the amount and duration of the annuity based on all the facts and circumstances.

(2) Exception. Except in the case of accumulated mandatory employee contributions resulting from rollover amounts (as determined under §4044.12(c)(4)(i) of this chapter), upon the death of a participant the PBGC may pay in a single installment (or a series of installments) that portion of the participant's accumulated mandatory employee contributions that is payable under the plan in a single installment (or a series of installments) upon the participant's death.

(d) Determination of lump sum amount. For purposes of paragraph (b)(1) of this section—

(1) Benefits disregarded. In determining whether the lump-sum value of a benefit is $5,000 or less, the PBGC may disregard the value of any benefits the plan or the PBGC previously paid in lump-sum form or the plan paid by purchasing an annuity contract, the value of any benefits returned under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, and the value of any benefits the PBGC has not yet determined under section 4022(c) of ERISA.

(2) Actuarial assumptions. The PBGC will calculate the lump sum value of a benefit by valuing the monthly annuity benefits payable in the form determined under §4044.51(a) of this chapter and commencing at the time determined under §4044.51(b) of this chapter. The actuarial assumptions used will be those described in §4044.52, except that—

(i) Loading for expenses. There will be no adjustment to reflect the loading for expenses;

(ii) Mortality rates and interest assumptions. The mortality rates in appendix A to this part and the interest assumptions in appendix B to this part will apply; and

(iii) Date for determining lump sum value. The date as of which a lump sum value is calculated is the termination date, except that in the case of a subsequent insufficiency it is the date described in section 4062(b)(1)(B) of ERISA.

(e) Publication of lump sum rates. The PBGC will provide two sets of lump sum interest rates as follows—

(1) In appendix B to this part, the lump sum interest rates for PBGC payments, as provided under paragraph (d)(2) of this section; and

(2) In appendix C to this part, the lump sum interest rates for private-sector payments.

[61 FR 34028, July 1, 1996, as amended at 63 FR 38306, July 16, 1998; 65 FR 14752, 14755, Mar. 17, 2000; 67 FR 16954, Apr. 8, 2002; 79 FR 70094, Nov. 25, 2014]

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§4022.8   Form of payment.

(a) In general. This section applies where benefits are not already in pay status. Except as provided in §4022.7 (relating to the payment of lump sums), the PBGC will pay benefits—

(1) In the automatic PBGC form described in paragraph (b) of this section; or

(2) If an optional PBGC form described in paragraph (c) of this section is elected, in that optional form.

(b) Automatic PBGC form—(1) Participants—(i) Married participants. The automatic PBGC form with respect to a participant who is married at the time the benefit enters pay status is the form a married participant would be entitled to receive from the plan in the absence of an election.

(ii) Unmarried participants. The automatic PBGC form with respect to a participant who is unmarried at the time the benefit enters pay status is the form an unmarried person would be entitled to receive from the plan in the absence of an election.

(2) Beneficiaries—(i) QPSA beneficiaries. The automatic PBGC form with respect to the spouse of a married participant in a plan with a termination date on or after August 23, 1984, who dies before his or her benefit enters pay status is the qualified preretirement survivor annuity such a spouse would be entitled to receive from the plan in the absence of an election. The PBGC will not charge the participant or beneficiary for this survivor benefit coverage for the time period beginning on the plan's termination date (regardless of whether the plan would have charged).

(ii) Alternate payees. The automatic PBGC form with respect to an alternate payee with a separate interest under a qualified domestic relations order is the form an unmarried participant would be entitled to receive from the plan in the absence of an election.

(c) Optional PBGC forms—(1) Participant and beneficiary elections. A participant may elect any optional form described in paragraphs (c)(4) or (c)(5) of this section. A beneficiary described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section (a QPSA beneficiary or an alternate payee) may elect any optional form described in paragraphs (c)(4)(i) through (c)(4)(iv) of this section.

(2) Permitted designees. A participant or beneficiary, whether married or unmarried, who elects an optional form with a survivor feature (e.g., a 5-year certain-and-continuous annuity or, in the case of a participant, a joint-and-50%-survivor annuity) may designate either a spouse or a non-spouse beneficiary to receive survivor benefits. An optional joint-life form must be payable to a natural person or (with the consent of the PBGC) to a trust for the benefit of one or more natural persons.

(3) Spousal consent. In the case of a participant who is married at the time the benefit enters pay status, the election of an optional form or the designation of a non-spouse beneficiary is valid only if the participant's spouse consents.

(4) Permitted optional single-life forms. The PBGC may offer benefits in the following single-life forms:

(i) A straight-life annuity;

(ii) A 5-year certain-and-continuous annuity;

(iii) A 10-year certain-and-continuous annuity;

(iv) A 15-year certain-and-continuous annuity; and

(v) The form an unmarried person would be entitled to receive from the plan in the absence of an election.

(5) Permitted optional joint-life forms. The PBGC may offer benefits in the following joint-life forms:

(i) A joint-and-50%-survivor annuity;

(ii) A joint-and-50%-survivor-“pop-up” annuity (i.e., where the participant's benefit “pops up” to the unreduced level if the beneficiary dies first);

(iii) A joint-and-75%-survivor annuity; and

(iv) A joint-and-100%-survivor annuity.

(6) Determination of benefit amount; starting benefit. To determine the amount of the benefit in an optional PBGC form—

(i) Single-life forms. In the case of an optional PBGC form under paragraph (c)(4) of this section, the PBGC will first determine the amount of the benefit in the form the plan would pay to an unmarried participant in the absence of an election.

(ii) Joint-life forms. In the case of an optional PBGC form under paragraph (c)(5) of this section, the PBGC will first determine the amount of the benefit in the form the plan would pay to a married participant in the absence of an election. For this purpose, the PBGC will treat a participant who designates a non-spouse beneficiary as being married to a person who is the same age as that non-spouse beneficiary.

(7) Determination of benefit amount; conversion factors. The PBGC will convert the benefit amount determined under paragraph (c)(6) of this section to the optional form elected, using PBGC factors based on—

(i) Mortality. Unisex mortality rates that are a fixed blend of 50 percent of the male mortality rates and 50 percent of the female mortality rates from the 1983 Group Annuity Mortality Table as prescribed in Rev. Rul. 95-6, 1995-1 C.B. 80 (Internal Revenue Service Cumulative Bulletins are available from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402); and

(ii) Interest. An interest rate of six percent.

(8) Determination of benefit amount; limitation. The PBGC will limit the benefit amount determined under paragraph (c)(7) of this section to the amount of the benefit it would pay in the form of a straight life annuity under paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section.

(9) Incidental benefits. The PBGC will not pay an optional PBGC form with a death benefit (e.g., a joint-and-50%-survivor annuity) unless the death benefit would be an “incidental death benefit” under 26 CFR 1.401-1(b)(1)(i). If the death benefit would not be an “incidental death benefit,” the PBGC may instead offer a modified version of the optional form under which the death benefit would be an “incidental death benefit.”

(d) Change in benefit form. Once payment of a benefit starts, the benefit form cannot be changed.

(e) PBGC discretion. The PBGC may make other optional annuity forms available subject to the rules in paragraph (c) of this section.

(f) Rollover amounts. The annuity benefit resulting from rollover amounts (as determined under §4044.12(c)(4) of this chapter) is combined with any other benefit under the plan and paid in the same form and at the same time as the other benefit.

[67 FR 16954, Apr. 8, 2002, as amended at 79 FR 70095, Nov. 25, 2014]

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§4022.9   Time of payment; benefit applications.

(a) Time of payment. A participant may start receiving an annuity benefit from the PBGC (subject to the PBGC's rules for starting benefit payments) on his or her Earliest PBGC Retirement Date as determined under §4022.10 of this subchapter or, if later, the plan's termination date.

(b) Elections and consents. The PBGC may prescribe the time and manner for benefit elections to be made and spousal consents to be provided.

(c) Benefit applications. The PBGC is not required to accept any application for benefits not made in accordance with its forms and instructions.

(d) Filing with the PBGC—(1) Method and date of filing. The PBGC applies the rules in subpart A of part 4000 of this chapter to determine permissible methods of filing with the PBGC under this part. Benefit applications and related submissions are treated as filed on the date received by the PBGC unless the instructions for the applicable form provide for an earlier date. Subpart C of part 4000 of this chapter provides rules for determining when the PBGC receives a submission.

(2) Where to file. See §4000.4 of this chapter for information on where to file.

(3) Computation of time. The PBGC applies the rules in subpart D of part 4000 of this chapter to compute any time period for filing under this part.

[67 FR 16955, Apr. 8, 2002, as amended at 68 FR 61353, Oct. 28, 2003]

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§4022.10   Earliest PBGC Retirement Date.

The Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for a participant is the earliest date on which the participant could retire under plan provisions for purposes of section 4044(a)(3)(B) of ERISA. The Earliest PBGC Retirement Date is determined in accordance with this §4022.10. For purposes of this §4022.10, “age” means the participant's age as of his or her last birthday (unless otherwise required by the context).

(a) Immediate annuity at or after age 55. If the earliest date on which a participant could separate from service with the right to receive an immediate annuity is on or after the date the participant reaches age 55, the Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for the participant is the earliest date on which the participant could separate from service with the right to receive an immediate annuity.

(b) Immediate annuity before age 55. If the earliest date on which a participant could separate from service with the right to receive an immediate annuity is before the date the participant reaches age 55, the Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for the participant is the date the participant reaches age 55 (except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section).

(c) Facts and circumstances. If a participant could separate from service with the right to receive an immediate annuity before the date the participant reaches age 55, the PBGC will make a determination, under the facts and circumstances, as to whether the participant could retire under plan provisions for purposes of section 4044(a)(3)(B) of ERISA on an earlier date. If the PBGC determines, under the facts and circumstances, that the participant could retire under plan provisions for those purposes on an earlier date, that earlier date is the Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for the participant. In making this determination, the PBGC will take into account plan provisions (e.g., the general structure of the provisions, the extent to which the benefit is subsidized, and whether eligibility for the benefit is based on a substantial service or age-and-service requirement), the age at which employees customarily retire (under the particular plan or in the particular company or industry, as appropriate), and all other relevant considerations. Neither a plan's reference to a separation from service at a particular age as a “retirement” nor the ability of a participant to receive an immediate annuity at a particular age necessarily makes the date the participant reaches that age the Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for the participant. The Earliest PBGC Retirement Date determined by the PBGC under this paragraph (c) will never be earlier than the earliest date the participant could separate from service with the right to receive an immediate annuity.

(d) Examples. The following examples illustrate the operation of the rules in paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section.

(1) Normal retirement age. A plan's normal retirement age is age 65. The plan does not offer a consensual lump sum or an immediate annuity upon separation before normal retirement age. The Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for a participant who, as of the plan's termination date, is age 50 is the date the participant reaches age 65.

(2) Early retirement age. A plan's normal retirement age is age 65. The plan specifies an early retirement age of 60 with 10 years of service. The plan does not offer a consensual lump sum or an immediate annuity upon separation before early retirement age. The Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for a participant who, as of the plan's termination date, is age 55 and has completed 10 years of service is the date the participant reaches age 60.

(3) Separation at any age. A plan's normal retirement age is age 65. The plan specifies an early retirement age of 60 but offers an immediate annuity upon separation regardless of age. The Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for a participant who, as of the plan's termination date, is age 35 is the date the participant reaches age 55, unless the PBGC determines under the facts and circumstances that the participant could “retire” for purposes of ERISA section 4044(a)(3)(B) on an earlier date, in which case the participant's Earliest PBGC Retirement Date would be that earlier date.

(4) Age 50 retirement common. A plan's normal retirement age is age 60. The plan specifies an early retirement age of 50 but offers an immediate annuity upon separation regardless of age. The Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for a participant who, as of the plan's termination date, is age 35 is the date the participant reaches age 55, unless the PBGC determines under the facts and circumstances that the participant could retire for purposes of ERISA section 4044(a)(3)(B) on an earlier date, in which case the Earliest PBGC Retirement Date would be that earlier date. For example, if it were common for participants to retire at age 50, the PBGC could determine that the participant's Earliest PBGC Retirement Date would be the date the participant reached age 50.

(5) “30-and-out” benefit. A plan's normal retirement age is age 65. The plan offers an immediate annuity upon separation regardless of age and a fully-subsidized annuity upon separation with 30 years of service. The Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for a participant who, as of the plan's termination date, is age 48 and has completed 30 years of service is the date the participant reaches age 55, unless the PBGC determines under the facts and circumstances that the participant could retire for purposes of ERISA section 4044(a)(3)(B) on an earlier date, in which case the participant's Earliest PBGC Retirement Date would be that earlier date. In this example, the PBGC generally would determine under the facts and circumstances that the participant's Earliest PBGC Retirement Date is the date the participant completed 30 years of service.

(6) Typical airline pilots' plan. An airline pilots' plan has a normal retirement age of 60. The plan specifies an early retirement age of 50 (with 5 years of service). The Earliest PBGC Retirement Date for a participant who, as of the plan's termination date, is age 48 and has completed five years of service would be the date the participant reaches age 55, unless the PBGC determines under the facts and circumstances that the participant could retire for purposes of ERISA section 4044(a)(3)(B) on an earlier date, in which case the participant's Earliest PBGC Retirement Date would be that earlier date. In this example, the PBGC generally would determine under the facts and circumstances that the participant's Earliest PBGC Retirement Date is the date the participant reaches age 50. If the plan instead had provided for early retirement before age 50, the PBGC would consider all the facts and circumstances (including the plan's normal retirement age and the age at which employees customarily retire in the airline industry) in determining whether to treat the date the participant reaches the plan's early retirement age as the participant's Earliest PBGC Retirement Date.

(e) Special rule for “window” provisions. For purposes of paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section, the PBGC will treat a participant as being able, under plan provisions, to separate from service with the right to receive an immediate annuity on a date before the plan's termination date only if—

(1) Eligibility for that immediate annuity continues through the earlier of—

(i) The plan's termination date; or

(ii) The date the participant actually separates from service with the right to receive an immediate annuity; and

(2) The participant satisfies the conditions for eligibility for that immediate annuity on or before the plan's termination date.

[67 FR 16955, Apr. 8, 2002]

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§4022.11   Guarantee of benefits relating to uniformed service.

This section applies to a benefit of a participant who becomes reemployed after service in the uniformed services that is covered by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

(a) A benefit described in paragraph (b) of this section that would satisfy the requirements of §4022.3(a) and (c) (together with any benefit earned for the period preceding military service) except for the fact that the participant was not reemployed on or before the termination date will be deemed to satisfy those requirements if PBGC determines, based upon a demonstration by the participant or otherwise, that he or she became reemployed after the termination date and entitled to the benefit under USERRA.

(b) A benefit described in this paragraph (b) is a benefit attributable to a period of service commencing before the termination date and ending on the termination date during which the participant was serving in the uniformed services as defined in 38 U.S.C. 4303(13) (or was in a subsequent reemployment eligibility period) and to which the participant is entitled under USERRA.

(c) Example: A plan's vesting requirement is 5 years of service with the employer. A participant has completed 4 years of service when he leaves employment for uniformed service. The plan terminates while the participant is in military service. As of the termination date, the participant would have had 5 years of service and 5 years of benefit accruals if he had remained continuously employed. Upon reemployment after the termination date but within the time limits set by USERRA, the participant would have had 6 years of service under the plan for vesting and benefit accrual purposes, if the plan had not terminated. PBGC would treat the participant as having a vested, nonforfeitable plan benefit with 5 years of vesting service and benefit accruals as of the termination date.

(d) In the case of a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, “bankruptcy filing date” is substituted for “termination date” each place that “termination date” appears in this section.

[74 FR 59096, Nov. 17, 2009]

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