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Pensions: Financial Assistance Scheme

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures his Department has taken in conjunction with the financial assistance scheme (FAS) to raise the profile of the FAS among members of occupational schemes that come under its remit. (141882)

Since the inception of the financial assistance scheme (FAS), the main focus of our communications has been aimed at trustees and administrators in order to encourage them to apply for FAS and to supply the member data needed to make payments.

We currently provide information for members via our website at www.dwp.gov.uk/fas and we have worked with trustees on a scheme specific basis to provide information for their updates to members about the progress of the winding up.

We recognise the need to provide more clarity to members about the nature of FAS benefits, how they work and when they can expect payments. Lord McKenzie, announced in the Lords on 6 June that we are introducing arrangements so that, rather that relying on trustees to make applications on their behalf, individual scheme members who believe that they are eligible for payment can advise the FAS operational unit direct, which will then contact the scheme trustees to seek to arrange a payment.