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Financial Assistance Scheme: Take-up

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people have registered for assistance under the financial assistance scheme; (120243)

(2) how much has been paid out by the financial assistance scheme;

(3) how many people are receiving payments from the financial assistance scheme.

It is for the trustees of the pension schemes to apply for assistance rather than individual members. Of 995 schemes that have been notified to FAS, 659 have subsequently qualified. ‘Notification’ of a scheme occurs when trustees or members formally notify FAS of their scheme’s basic details, after which a scheme can then be considered for FAS qualification. We estimate that 40,000 members of qualified schemes will be eligible for FAS. The vast majority of these potential recipients have yet to reach payment age and our best estimate is that perhaps 9,000 people are already 65.

On the basis of operational data to the end of December, we estimate that trustees have made applications for assistance for 1,900 people. We are only able to pay them once the trustees have provided acceptable data on the members, which is taking longer than we had hoped.

As at 23 February 2007 the financial assistance scheme was making payments to 967 qualifying members. A further 79 will be paid as soon as they have confirmed their personal details. This gives a total of 1,046 members who have been assessed as eligible for assistance.

As at 23 February 2007 payments had totalled £3,421,457 gross, (£2,656,622 net).