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Title 29 Part 4022 → Subpart D

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

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 29 Part 4022 → Subpart D

e-CFR data is current as of October 10, 2019

Title 29Subtitle BChapter XLSubchapter DPart 4022 → Subpart D


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


Subpart D—Benefit Reductions in Terminating Plans


Contents
§4022.61   Limitations on benefit payments by plan administrator.
§4022.62   Estimated guaranteed benefit.
§4022.63   Estimated asset-funded benefit.

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§4022.61   Limitations on benefit payments by plan administrator.

(a) General. When §4041.42 of this chapter requires a plan administrator to reduce benefits, the plan administrator shall limit benefit payments in accordance with this section.

(b) Accrued benefit at normal retirement. Except to the extent permitted by paragraph (d) of this section, a plan administrator may not pay that portion of a monthly benefit payable with respect to any participant that exceeds the participant's accrued benefit payable at normal retirement age under the plan. For the purpose of applying this limitation, post-retirement benefit increases, such as cost-of-living adjustments, are not considered to increase a participant's benefit beyond his or her accrued benefit payable at normal retirement age.

(c) Maximum guaranteeable benefit. Except to the extent permitted by paragraph (d) of this section, a plan administrator may not pay that portion of a monthly benefit payable with respect to any participant, as limited by paragraph (b) of this section, that exceeds the maximum guaranteeable benefit under section 4022(b)(3)(B) of ERISA and §4022.22(a)(2) of this part, adjusted for age and benefit form, for the year of the proposed termination date. In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, the maximum guaranteeable benefit is determined as of the bankruptcy filing date, in accordance with §§4022.22(b) and 4022.23(g).

(d) Estimated benefit payments. A plan administrator shall pay the monthly benefit payable with respect to each participant as determined under §4022.62 or §4022.63, whichever produces the higher benefit.

(e) PBGC authority to modify procedures. In order to avoid abuse of the plan termination insurance system, inequitable treatment of participants and beneficiaries, or the imposition of unreasonable burdens on terminating plans, the PBGC may authorize or direct the use of alternative procedures for determining benefit reductions.

(f) Examples. This section is illustrated by the following examples. (For examples addressing issues specific to a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, see §§4022.21(e), 4022.22(b), and 4022.23(g).)

Example 1. Facts. On October 10, 1992, a plan administrator files with the PBGC a notice of intent to terminate in a distress termination that includes December 31, 1992, as the proposed termination date. A participant who is in pay status on December 31, 1992, has been receiving his accrued benefit of $2,500 per month under the plan. The benefit is in the form of a joint and survivor annuity (contingent basis) that will pay 50 percent of the participant's benefit amount (i.e., $1,250 per month) to his surviving spouse following the death of the participant. On December 31, 1992, the participant is age 66, and his wife is age 56.

Benefit reductions. Paragraph (b) of this section requires the plan administrator to cease paying benefits in excess of the accrued benefit payable at normal retirement age. Because the participant is receiving only his accrued benefit, no reduction is required under paragraph (b).

Paragraph (c) of this section requires the plan administrator to cease paying benefits in excess of the maximum guaranteeable benefit, adjusted for age and benefit form in accordance with the provisions of subpart B. The maximum guaranteeable benefit for plans terminating in 1992, the year of the proposed termination date, is $2,352.27 per month, payable in the form of a single life annuity at age 65. Because the participant is older than age 65, no adjustment is required under §4022.23(c) based on the annuitant's age factor. The benefit form is a joint and survivor annuity (contingent basis), as defined in §4022.23(d)(2). The required benefit reduction for this benefit form under §4022.23(d) is 10 percent. The corresponding adjustment factor is 0.90 (1.00-0.10). The benefit reduction factor to adjust for the age difference between the participant and the beneficiary is computed under §4022.23(e). In computing the difference in ages, years over 65 years of age are not taken into account. Therefore, the age difference is 9 years (65-56). The required percentage reduction when the beneficiary is 9 years younger than the participant is 9 percent. The corresponding adjustment factor is 0.91 (1.00-0.09).

The maximum guaranteeable benefit adjusted for age and benefit form is $1,926.51 ($2,352.27 × 0.90 × 0.91) per month. Therefore, the plan administrator must reduce the participant's benefit payment from $2,500 to $1,926.51. If the participant dies after December 31, 1992, the plan administrator will pay his spouse $963.26 (0.50 × $1,926.51) per month.

Example 2. Facts. The benefit of a participant who retired under a plan at age 60 is a reduced single life annuity of $400 per month plus a temporary supplement of $400 per month payable until age 62 (i.e., a step-down benefit). The participant's accrued benefit under the plan is $450 per month, payable from the plan's normal retirement age. On the proposed termination date, June 30, 1992, the participant is 61 years old.

The maximum guaranteeable benefit adjusted for age under §4022.23(c) of this chapter is $1,693.63 ($2,352.27 × 0.72) per month. Since the benefit is payable as a single life annuity, no adjustment is required under §4022.23(d) for benefit form.

Benefit reductions. The plan benefit of $800 per month payable until age 62 exceeds the participant's accrued benefit at normal requirement age of $450 per month. Paragraph (b) of this section requires that, except to the extent permitted by paragraph (d), the plan benefit must be reduced to $450 per month. Since the levelized benefit of $404.10 ((0.082 × 50) + $400) per month, determined under §4022.23(f), is less than the adjusted maximum guaranteeable benefit of $1,693.63 per month, no further reduction in the $450 per month benefit payment is required under paragraph (c) of this section. The plan administrator next would determine the amount of the participant's estimated benefit under paragraph (d).

Example 3. Facts. A retired participant is receiving a reduced early retirement benefit of $1,100 per month plus a temporary supplement of $700 per month payable until age 62. The benefit is in the form of a single life annuity. On the proposed termination date, November 30, 1992, the participant is 56 years old.

The participant's accrued benefit at normal retirement age under the plan is $1,200 per month. The maximum guaranteeable benefit adjusted for age is $1,152.61 ($2,352.27 × 0.49) per month. A form adjustment is not required.

Benefit reductions. The plan benefit of $1,800 per month payable from age 56 to age 62 exceeds the participant's accrued benefit at normal retirement age of $1,200 per month. Therefore, under paragraph (b) of this section, the plan administrator must reduce the temporary supplement to $100 per month.

For the purpose of determining whether the reduced benefit, i.e., a level-life annuity of $1,100 per month and a temporary annuity supplement of $100 per month to age 62, exceeds the maximum guaranteeable benefit adjusted for age, the temporary annuity supplement of $100 per month is converted to a level-life annuity equivalent in accordance with §4022.23(f) of this chapter. The level-life annuity equivalent is $38.70 ($100 × 0.387). This, added to the life annuity of $1,100 per month, equals $1,138.70. Since the maximum guaranteeable benefit of $1,152.61 per month exceeds $1,138.70 per month, no further reduction is required under paragraph (c) of this section.

The plan administrator next would determine the participant's estimated benefit under paragraph (d). Assume that the estimated benefit under paragraph (d) is $780 per month until age 62 and $715 per month thereafter. The plan administrator would pay the participant $780 per month, reduced to $715 per month at age 62, subject to the final benefit determination made under title IV.

Example 4. Facts. A retired participant is receiving a reduced early retirement benefit of $2,650 per month plus a temporary supplement of $800 per month payable until age 62. The benefit is in the form of a joint and survivor annuity (contingent basis) that will pay 50 percent of the participant's benefit amount to his surviving spouse following the death of the participant. On the proposed termination date, December 20, 1992, the participant and his spouse are each 56 years old.

The participant's accrued benefit at normal retirement age under the plan is $3,000 per month. The maximum guaranteeable benefit adjusted for age and the joint and survivor annuity (contingent basis) annuity form is $1,037.35 per month. An adjustment for age difference is not required because the participant and his spouse are the same age.

Benefit reductions. The plan benefit of $3,450 per month payable from age 56 to age 62 exceeds the participant's accrued benefit at normal retirement age, which is $3,000 per month. Therefore, under paragraph (b) of this section, the plan administrator must reduce the participant's benefit so that it does not exceed $3,000 per month.

The level-life equivalent of the participant's reduced benefit, determined using the §4022.23(f) adjustment factor, is $2,785.45 (($350 × 0.387) + $2,650) per month. Since this benefit exceeds the participant's maximum guaranteeable benefit of $1,037.35 per month, the plan administrator must reduce the participant's benefit payment so that it does not exceed the maximum guaranteeable benefit.

The ratio of (i) the participant's maximum guaranteeable benefit to (ii) the level-life equivalent of the participant's reduced benefit (computed under the “accrued for normal retirement age” limitation) is used in converting the level-life maximum guaranteeable benefit to the step-down benefit form. The level-life equivalent of the reduced benefit computed under the “accrued for normal retirement age” limitation is 37.24 percent ($1,037.35/$2,785.45). Thus, the plan administrator must reduce the participant's level-life benefit of $2,650 per month to $986.86 ($2,650 × 0.3724) and must further reduce the reduced temporary benefit of $350 per month to $130.34 ($350 × 0.3724). Under paragraph (c) of this section, therefore, the participant's maximum guaranteeable benefit is $1,117.20 ($986.86 + $130.34) per month to age 62 and $986.86 per month thereafter, subject to any adjustment under paragraph (d) of this section.

Assume that the estimated benefit under paragraph (d) is $1,005.48 per month to age 62 and $888.17 per month thereafter. The plan administrator would reduce the participant's benefit from $3,450 per month to $1,005.48 per month and pay this amount until age 62, at which time the benefit payment would be reduced to $888.17 per month, subject to the final benefit determination made under title IV.

[61 FR 34028, July 1, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 60428, Nov. 7, 1997; 76 FR 34604, June 14, 2011]

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§4022.62   Estimated guaranteed benefit.

(a) General. The estimated guaranteed benefit payable with respect to each participant who is not a majority owner is computed under paragraph (c) of this section. The estimated guaranteed benefit payable with respect to each participant who is a majority owner is computed under paragraph (d) of this section.

(b) Rules for determining benefits. For the purposes of determining entitlement to a benefit and the amount of the estimated benefit under this section, the following rules apply:

(1) Non-PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination. In a non-PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination:

(i) For benefits payable with respect to a participant who is in pay status on or before the proposed termination date, the plan administrator shall use the participant's age and benefit payable under the plan as of the proposed termination date.

(ii) For benefits payable with respect to a participant who enters pay status after the proposed termination date, the plan administrator shall use the participant's age as of the benefit commencement date and his service and compensation as of the proposed termination date.

(2) PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination. In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination:

(i) For benefits payable with respect to a participant who is in pay status on or before the bankruptcy filing date, the plan administrator shall use the participant's age and benefit payable under the plan as of the bankruptcy filing date.

(ii) For benefits payable with respect to a participant who enters pay status after the bankruptcy filing date, the plan administrator shall use the participant's age as of the benefit commencement date and his service and compensation as of the bankruptcy filing date.

(3) Participants with new benefits or benefit improvements. For the purpose of determining the estimated guaranteed benefit under paragraph (c) of this section, only new benefits and benefit improvements that affect the benefit of the participant or beneficiary for whom the determination is made are taken into account.

(4) Limitations on estimated guaranteed benefits. For the purpose of determining the estimated guaranteed benefit under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section, the benefit determined under paragraph (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section is subject to the limitations set forth in §4022.61 (b) and (c).

(5) Nothing in this paragraph (b) overrides the provisions of subparts A and B of part 4022 with respect to the requirements necessary for a benefit to be guaranteed by PBGC.

(c) Estimated guaranteed benefit payable with respect to a participant who is not a majority owner. For benefits payable with respect to a participant who is not a majority owner, the estimated guaranteed benefit is determined under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, if no portion of the benefit is subject to the phase-in of plan termination insurance guarantees set forth in section 4022(b)(1) of ERISA. In any other case, the estimated guaranteed benefit is determined under paragraph (c)(2). “Benefit subject to phase-in” means a benefit that is subject to the phase-in of plan termination insurance guarantees set forth in section 4022(b)(1) of ERISA, determined without regard to section 4022(b)(7) of ERISA.

(1) Participants with no benefits subject to phase-in. In the case of a participant or beneficiary with no benefit improvement (as defined in paragraph (c)(2)(ii)) or new benefit (as defined in paragraph (c)(2)(i)) in the five years preceding the proposed termination date, the estimated guaranteed benefit is the benefit to which he or she is entitled under the rules in paragraph (b) of this section.

(2) Participants with benefits subject to phase-in. In the case of a participant or beneficiary with a benefit improvement or new benefit in the five years preceding the proposed termination date, the estimated guaranteed benefit is the benefit to which he or she is entitled under the rules in paragraph (b) of this section, multiplied by the multiplier determined according to paragraphs (i), (ii), and (iii), but not less than the benefit to which he or she would have been entitled if the benefit improvement or new benefit had not been adopted.

(i) From column (a) of Table I, select the line that applies according to the number of full years before the proposed termination date since the plan was last amended to provide for a new benefit (or the number of full years since the plan was established, if it has never been amended to provide for a new benefit). “New benefit” means a change in the terms of the plan that results in (a) a participant's or a beneficiary's eligibility for a benefit that was not previously available or to which he or she was not entitled (excluding a benefit that is actuarially equivalent to the normal retirement benefit to which the participant was previously entitled) or (b) an increase of more than twenty percent in the benefit to which a participant is entitled upon entering pay status before his or her normal retirement age under the plan. “New benefits” result from liberalized participation or vesting requirements, reductions in the age or service requirements for receiving unreduced benefits, additions of actuarially subsidized benefits, and increases in actuarial subsidies. “New benefits” also result from increases that become payable by reason of the occurrence of an unpredictable contingent event (provided the event occurred after July 26, 2005), to the extent the increase would not be payable but for the occurrence of the event; in the case of such new benefits, the date of the occurrence of the unpredictable contingent event is treated as the amendment date for purposes of Table I. The establishment of a plan creates a new benefit as of the effective date of the plan. A change in the amount of a benefit is not deemed to be a “new benefit” if it results solely from a benefit improvement. “New benefit” and “benefit improvement” are mutually exclusive terms.

(ii) If there was no benefit improvement under the plan during the one-year period ending on the proposed termination date, use the multiplier set forth in column (b) of Table I on the line selected from column (a). “Benefit improvement” means a change in the terms of the plan that results in (a) an increase in the benefit to which a participant is entitled at his or her normal retirement age under the plan or (b) an increase in the benefit to which a participant or beneficiary in pay status is entitled.

(iii) If there was any benefit improvement during the one-year period ending on the proposed termination date, use the multiplier set forth in column (c) of Table I on the line selected from column (a).

Table I—Applicable Multiplier If—

Full years since last new benefit
(a)
No benefit improvement during last year
(b)
Benefit improvement during last year
(c)
Five or more.90.80
Four.80.70
Three.65.55
Two.50.45
Fewer than two.35.30

Note: The foregoing method of estimating guaranteed benefits is based upon the PBGC's experience with a wide range of plans and may not provide accurate estimates in certain circumstances. In accordance with §4022.61(e), a plan administrator may use a different method of estimation if he or she demonstrates to the PBGC that his proposed method will be more equitable to participants and beneficiaries. The PBGC may require the use of a different method in certain cases.

(d) Estimated guaranteed benefit payable with respect to a majority owner. For benefits payable with respect to each participant who is a majority owner, the estimated guaranteed benefit is the benefit to which he or she would be entitled under paragraph (c) of this section but for his or her status as a majority owner, multiplied by a fraction, not to exceed one, the numerator of which is the number of full years from the later of the effective date or the adoption date of the plan to the proposed termination date and the denominator of which is 10.

(e) PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination. In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, “bankruptcy filing date” is substituted for “proposed termination date” each place that “proposed termination date” appears in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section.

(f) Examples. This section is illustrated by the following examples. (For an example addressing issues specific to a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, see §4022.25(f).)

(1) Example 1—(i) Facts. A participant who is not a majority owner retired on December 31, 2011, at age 60 and began receiving a benefit of $600 per month. On January 1, 2009, the plan had been amended to allow participants to retire with unreduced benefits at age 60. Previously, a participant who retired before age 65 was subject to a reduction of 115 for each year by which his or her actual retirement age preceded age 65. On January 1, 2012, the plan's benefit formula was amended to increase benefits for participants who retired before January 1, 2012. As a result, the participant's benefit was increased to $750 per month. There have been no other pertinent amendments. The proposed termination date is December 15, 2012.

(ii) Estimated guaranteed benefit. (A) No reduction is required under §4022.61(b) or (c) because the participant's benefit does not exceed either the participant's accrued benefit at normal retirement age or the maximum guaranteeable benefit. (Post-retirement benefit increases are not considered as increasing accrued benefits payable at normal retirement age.)

(B) The amendment as of January 1, 2009, resulted in a “new benefit” because the reduction in the age at which the participant could receive unreduced benefits increased the participant's benefit entitlement at actual retirement age by 5/15, which is more than the 20-percent increase threshold under paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section. The amendment of January 1, 2012, which increased the participant's benefit to $750 per month, is a “benefit improvement” because it is an increase in the amount of benefit for persons in pay status. (No percentage test applies in determining whether an increase in a pay status benefit is a benefit improvement.)

(C) The multiplier for computing the amount of the estimated guaranteed benefit is taken from the third row of Table I of this section (because the last new benefit had been in effect for three full years as of the proposed termination date) and column (c) (because there was a benefit improvement within the one-year period preceding the proposed termination date). This multiplier is 0.55. Therefore, the amount of the participant's estimated guaranteed benefit is $412.50 (0.55 × $750) per month.

(2) Example 2—(i) Facts. A participant who is not a majority owner terminated employment on December 31, 2010. On January 1, 2012, she reached age 65 and began receiving a benefit of $250 per month. She had completed three years of service at her termination of employment and was fully vested in her accrued benefit. The plan's vesting schedule had been amended on July 1, 2008. Under the schedule in effect before the amendment, a participant with five years of service was 100 percent vested. There have been no other pertinent amendments. The proposed termination date is December 31, 2012.

(ii) Estimated guaranteed benefit. No reduction is required under §4022.61(b) or (c) because the participant's benefit does not exceed either her accrued benefit at normal retirement age or the maximum guaranteeable benefit. The plan's change of vesting schedule created a new benefit for the participant. Because the amendment was in effect for four full years before the proposed termination date, the second row of Table I of this section is used to determine the applicable multiplier for estimating the amount of the participant's guaranteed benefit. Because the participant did not receive any benefit improvement during the 12-month period ending on the proposed termination date, column (b) of the table is used. Therefore, the multiplier is 0.80, and the amount of the participant's estimated guaranteed benefit is $200 (0.80 × $250) per month.

(3) Example 3—(i) Facts. A participant who is a majority owner retired before the proposed termination date of April 30, 2012. The plan was in effect for seven full years as of the proposed termination date. On the proposed termination date he was entitled to receive a benefit of $2,000 per month. No reduction of this benefit is required under §4022.61(b) or (c).

(ii) Estimated guaranteed benefit. Paragraph (d) of this section is used to compute the amount of the estimated guaranteed benefit of majority owners. Consequently, the amount of this participant's estimated guaranteed benefit is $1,400 ($2,000 × 710 ) per month.

(4) Example 4—(i) Facts. A participant who is a majority owner retired before the proposed termination date of April 30, 2012. The plan was in effect for 12 full years as of the proposed termination date. On the proposed termination date he was entitled to receive a benefit of $2,000 per month. No reduction of this benefit is required under §4022.61(b) or (c).

(ii) Estimated guaranteed benefit. Paragraph (d) of this section is used to compute the amount of the estimated guaranteed benefit of majority owners. Since the plan was in effect for more than 10 years as of the proposed termination date, the amount of this participant's estimated guaranteed benefit is $2,000 per month.

[61 FR 34028, July 1, 1996; 61 FR 36626, July 12, 1996; 76 FR 34604, June 14, 2011; 79 FR 25674, May 6, 2014; 83 FR 49804, Oct. 3, 2018]

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§4022.63   Estimated asset-funded benefit.

(a) General. If the conditions specified in paragraph (b) exist, the plan administrator shall determine each participant's estimated asset-funded benefit. The estimated asset-funded benefit payable with respect to each participant who is not a majority owner is computed under paragraph (c) of this section. The estimated asset-funded benefit payable with respect to each participant who is a majority owner is computed under paragraph (d) of this section.

(b) Conditions for use of this section. The conditions set forth in this paragraph must be satisfied in order to make use of the procedures set forth in this section. If the specified conditions exist, estimated asset-funded benefits must be determined in accordance with these procedures (or in accordance with alternative procedures authorized by the PBGC under §4022.61(f)) for each participant and beneficiary whose benefit under the plan exceeds the limitations contained in §4022.61(b) or (c) or who is a majority owner or the beneficiary of a majority owner. If the specified conditions do not exist, title IV benefits may be estimated by the plan administrator in accordance with procedures authorized by the PBGC, but no such estimate is required. The conditions are as follows:

(1) An actuarial valuation of the plan has been performed for a plan year beginning not more than eighteen months before the proposed termination date. If the interest rate used to value plan liabilities in this valuation exceeded the applicable valuation interest rates and factors under appendix B to part 4044 of this chapter in effect on the proposed termination date, the value of benefits in pay status and the value of vested benefits not in pay status on the valuation date must be converted to the PBGC's valuation rates and factors.

(2) The plan has been in effect for at least five full years before the proposed termination date, and the most recent actuarial valuation demonstrates that the value of plan assets, reduced by employee contributions remaining in the plan and interest credited thereon under the terms of the plan, exceeds the present value, adjusted as required under paragraph (b)(1), of all plan benefits in pay status on the valuation date.

(3) PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination. In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, “bankruptcy filing date” is substituted for “proposed termination date” in the first sentence of paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(c) In general—(1) Estimated asset-funded benefit payable with respect to a participant who is not a majority owner. For benefits payable with respect to a participant who is not a majority owner, the estimated asset-funded benefit is the estimated priority category 3 benefit computed under this paragraph. Priority category 3 benefits are payable with respect to participants who were, or could have been, in pay status three full years prior to the proposed termination date. The estimated priority category 3 benefit is computed by multiplying the benefit payable with respect to the participant under §4022.62 (b)(1) and (b)(2) by a fraction, not to exceed one—

(i) The numerator of which is the benefit that would be payable with respect to the participant at normal retirement age under the provisions of the plan in effect on the date five full years before the proposed termination date, based on the participant's age, service, and compensation as of the earlier of the participant's benefit commencement date or the proposed termination date, and

(ii) The denominator of which is the benefit that would be payable with respect to the participant at normal retirement age under the provisions of the plan in effect on the proposed termination date, based on the participant's age, service, and compensation as of the earlier of the participant's benefit commencement date or the proposed termination date.

(2) PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination. In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, “bankruptcy filing date” is substituted for “proposed termination date” each place that “proposed termination date” appears in paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(d) Estimated asset-funded benefit payable with respect to a majority owner. For benefits payable with respect to a participant who is a majority owner, the estimated asset-funded benefit is the higher of the benefit computed under paragraph (c) of this section or the benefit computed under this paragraph.

(1) The plan administrator shall first calculate the estimated guaranteed benefit payable with respect to the majority owner as if he or she were not a majority owner, using the method set forth in §4022.62(c).

(2) The benefit computed under paragraph (d)(1) shall be multiplied by the priority category 4 funding ratio. The category 4 funding ratio is the ratio of x to y, not to exceed one, where—

(i) In a plan with priority category 3 benefits, x equals plan assets minus employee contributions remaining in the plan on the valuation date, with interest credited thereon under the terms of the plan, and the present value of benefits in pay status, and y equals the present value of all vested benefits not in pay status minus such employee contributions and interest; or

(ii) In a plan with no priority category 3 benefits, x equals plan assets minus employee contributions remaining in the plan on the valuation date, with interest credited thereon under the terms of the plan, and y equals the present value of all vested benefits minus such employee contributions and interest.

(e) Examples. This section is illustrated by the following examples:

(1) Example 1—(i) Facts. (A) A participant who is not a majority owner was eligible to retire 3.5 years before the proposed termination date. The participant retired two years before the proposed termination date with 20 years of service. Her final five years' average salary was $45,000, and she was entitled to an unreduced early retirement benefit of $1,500 per month payable as a single life annuity. This retirement benefit does not exceed the limitation in §4022.61(b) or (c).

(B) On the participant's benefit commencement date, the plan provided for a normal retirement benefit of 2 percent of the final five years' salary times the number of years of service. Five years before the proposed termination date, the percentage was 1.5 percent. The amendments improving benefits were put into effect 3.5 years before the proposed termination date. There were no other amendments during the five-year period.

(C) The participant's estimated guaranteed benefit computed under §4022.62(c) is $1,500 per month times 0.90 (the factor from column (b) of Table I in §4022.62(c)(2)), or $1,350 per month. It is assumed that the plan meets the conditions set forth in paragraph (b) of this section, and the plan administrator is therefore required to estimate the asset-funded benefit.

(ii) Estimated asset-funded benefit. (A) For a participant who is not a majority owner, the amount of the estimated asset-funded benefit is the estimated priority category 3 benefit computed under paragraph (c) of this section. This amount is computed by multiplying the participant's benefit under the plan as of the later of the proposed termination date or the benefit commencement date by the ratio of the normal retirement benefit under the provisions of the plan in effect five years before the proposed termination date and the normal retirement benefit under the plan provisions in effect on the proposed termination date.

(B) Thus, the numerator of the ratio is the benefit that would be payable to the participant under the normal retirement provisions of the plan five years before the proposed termination date, based on her age, service, and compensation on her benefit commencement date. The denominator of the ratio is the benefit that would be payable to the participant under the normal retirement provisions of the plan in effect on the proposed termination date, based on her age, service, and compensation as of the earlier of her benefit commencement date or the proposed termination date. Since the only different factor in the numerator and denominator is the salary percentage, the amount of the estimated asset-funded benefit is $1,125 (0.015/0.020 × $1,500) per month. This amount is less than the estimated guaranteed benefit of $1,350 per month. Therefore, in accordance with §4022.61(d), the benefit payable to the participant is $1,350 per month.

(iii) PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination. In a PPA 2006 bankruptcy termination, the methodology would be the same, but “bankruptcy filing date” would be substituted for “proposed termination date” each place that “proposed termination date” appears in the example, and the numbers would change accordingly.

(2) Example 2—(i) Facts. (A) A participant who is a majority owner retired on the proposed termination date of October 31, 2012. The original plan had been in effect for seven full years as of the proposed termination date. Under the provisions of the plan in effect five years before the proposed termination date, the participant is entitled to a single life annuity of $500 per month. The plan was amended to increase benefits three full years before the proposed termination date. Under these plan amendments, the participant is entitled to a single life annuity of $1,000 per month.

(B) The participant's estimated guaranteed benefit computed under §4022.62(d) is $455 per month ($1,000 × 0.65 × 710 ).

(C) It is assumed that all of the conditions in paragraph (b) of this section have been met. Plan assets equal $2 million. The present value of all benefits in pay status is $1.5 million based on applicable PBGC interest rates. There are no employee contributions and the present value of all vested benefits that are not in pay status is $0.75 million based on applicable PBGC interest rates.

(ii) Estimated asset-funded benefit. (A) Paragraph (d) of this section provides that the amount of the estimated asset-funded benefit payable with respect to a participant who is a majority owner is the higher of the estimated priority category 3 benefit computed under paragraph (c) of this section or the estimated priority category 4 benefit computed under paragraph (d) of this section.

(B) Under paragraph (c) of this section, the participant's estimated priority category 3 benefit is $500 ($1,000 × $500/$1,000) per month.

(C) Under paragraph (d) of this section, the participant's estimated priority category 4 benefit is the estimated guaranteed benefit computed under §4022.62(c) (i.e., as if the participant were not a majority owner) multiplied by the priority category 4 funding ratio. Since the plan has priority category 3 benefits, the ratio is determined under paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section. The numerator of the ratio is plan assets minus the present value of benefits in pay status. The denominator of the ratio is the present value of all vested benefits that are not in pay status. The participant's estimated guaranteed benefit under §4022.62(c) is $1,000 per month times 0.65 (the factor from column (b) of Table I in §4022.62(c)(2)), or $650 per month. Multiplying $650 by the category 4 funding ratio of 23 (($2 million−$1.5 million)/$0.75 million) produces an estimated category 4 benefit of $433.33 per month.

(D) Because the estimated category 4 benefit so computed is less than the estimated category 3 benefit so computed, the estimated category 3 benefit is the estimated asset-funded benefit. Because the estimated category 3 benefit so computed is greater than the estimated guaranteed benefit of $455 per month, in accordance with §4022.61(d), the benefit payable to the participant is the estimated priority category 3 benefit of $500 per month.

[61 FR 34028, July 1, 1996; 61 FR 36626, July 12, 1996, as amended at 76 FR 34604, June 14, 2011; 83 FR 49805, Oct. 3, 2018]

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