The Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) was first announced on May 2004 by the government and actually started in September of 2005. The point of the scheme is to offer financial assistance to members of applicable pension schemes that lost a portion, or all, of their pension following the ‘winding-up’ of underfunding that occurred between the years of 1997 and 2005 and since then, in some cases, up until December of 2008.
What this means to the average consumer is that the scheme has been created to help those who lost their retirement pension funds as a result of the stock market collapse due to insider trading and poor banking practices. Not everyone is applicable for the FAS as it depends on if your pension scheme is one that qualifies for the FAS, at which point you can apply for an assessment to see if you meet the guidelines.
In order to receive payments a consumer must go through an FAS assessment and be able to prove that they had an expected pension that was lost during the wind-up. A consumer also must have been a member of the pension benefit scheme before the wind-up occurred in order to have subsequently lost the benefits that make them applicable to receive payments as part of the FAS.
Ex-employees that also had a deferred pension due to them that was lost as a result of the wind-up and those who lost pension credit rights due to the dissolution of a partnership, divorce, or marriage nullity are also applicable to apply for the FAS.
In addition, family members of an employee that is now deceased that were suppose to receive the pension in their place are also entitled to apply for assistance from the FAS if they meet certain guidelines.
The idea of the FAS is to offer eligible workers the pension funds that they were dependent on that were lost as a result of the wind-up so that workers do not find themselves without funds that they were counting on upon retirement age.
The FAS will pay out 90% of what was expected from a pension scheme by the denoted retirement age of the scheme (age sixty must at least be reached before funds will be disbursed). The idea of the scheme is to help consumers that through no fault of their own lost their pensions to help alleviate financial stress later in life.