News release

Government to Amend Pension Benefits Regulations

Government has amended pension regulations to allow greater flexibility for people to withdraw from locked-in pensions when facing financial hardship.

"A number of people in the province will benefit from these amendments, which will help Nova Scotians in need pay their mortgages, rent and healthcare costs," said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Diana Whalen. "This is an important change and the right thing for government to do."

Before these amendments, Nova Scotians had to be at or below a yearly income of $21,000 to qualify for early access to their pension funds on the basis of low income.

These updates will increase the yearly income of eligible participants to $35,000, permitting greater flexibility for withdrawals. The maximum amount that can be withdrawn each year has been increased from $21,000 to $26,250. In addition, the updates will raise the net amount that can be withdrawn from a locked-in pension in a year to 50 per cent of the year's maximum pensionable earnings, up from the current 40 per cent.

The new amendments also allow rental eviction to be considered a condition for unlocking of a pension.

Nova Scotia first passed provisions respecting financial hardship as part of the Pension Benefits Regulations in 2007.

This allowed members of pension plans to access their retirement savings if they were faced with a reduction in their incomes, incurred medical expenses not covered by another program, or faced a mortgage foreclosure.


FOR BROADCAST:

Government has amended pension regulations to allow greater

flexibility for people to withdraw from locked-in pensions when

facing financial hardship.

Finance and Treasury Board Minister Diana Whalen says a

number of people in the province will benefit from these

amendments, which will help Nova Scotians in need pay

their mortgages, rent and healthcare costs.

Before these amendments, Nova Scotians had to be at or

below a yearly income of 21-thousand dollars to qualify for

early access to their pension funds on the basis of low income.

These updates will increase the yearly income of eligible

participants to 35-thousand dollars, and the maximum amount that

can be withdrawn has been increased to about 26-thousand dollars

per year.

The new amendments also allow rental eviction to be

considered a condition for unlocking of a pension.

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Media Contact:

Darcy MacRae
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