Your Pension and an IVA

Your Pension and an IVA

Your existing pension fund is not at risk if you start an IVA. However the amount you currently pay in may have to be reduced.

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What happens to your Pension if you start an IVA?

If you start an IVA any money already in your pension (known as the fund) is protected. Unlike other forms of savings it is regarded as an exempt asset. The fund cannot be touched to help repay your debts.

However if you are already receiving payments these form part of your income. As such these receipts must be included when calculating the amount you can pay into the Arrangement.

If you start drawing your pension during an IVA you must tell your Insolvency Practitioner (IP). They will then review your income and expenses budget. The amount you pay into the Arrangement could be affected as a result.

You cannot be forced to start drawing your pension during an IVA. This was confirmed in the case of Horton v Henry (Nov 14, upheld Oct 16).

Can you continue paying into a Plan during an IVA?

Making regular payments into your pension is important for a secure retirement. As such these are recognised as allowable in an IVA living expenses budget. However the amounts must be reasonable.

Payments into a company scheme are taken directly from your wages. You should be allowed to continue making the minimum contributions required to stay in the Plan. However overpayments may have to be suspended.

If you pay into a private scheme then depending on your circumstances you should be able to continue doing so. Again the amount paid in each month must be reasonable and may have to be reduced if deemed too high.

You may have to reduce or suspend payments into your pension during an IVA. However once it is completed you will be in a position to increase the payments again if you wish.

Can you do an IVA if you already receive Pension Payments?

You can start an IVA if you are already receiving your pension. In fact given this form of income is generally guaranteed it should mean that you have no problem maintaining the agreed payments.

It is important to understand that this money is not protected. It must be included when you are working out your total income each month. As such it can be used to help pay your debts.

In other words pension receipts are included when working out how much you can afford to pay into your Arrangement each month.

If your pension income changes during your IVA you must inform your IP. If the amount you receive increases your payments may also go up.

Can you withdraw a lump sum from your Pension during an IVA?

You may have the option of drawing a lump sum from your pension after reaching the age of 55. However if you are already in an IVA you should act with care and get further advice before doing so.

If you take a lump sum without prior agreement from your IP it will be treated as a windfall. If discovered all of the cash you received will have to be paid into your Arrangement.

Where you are facing a financial emergency your IP might allow you to withdraw cash to cover it. But you must first get written agreement from them. You might also be able to draw a lump sum to settle your IVA early.

After the Horton v Henry ruling you cannot be forced to withdraw a lump sum from your pension to increase the amount you pay into your IVA.

24 thoughts on “Your Pension and an IVA

    JoanJ says:

    I retire in January and will get a lump sum from my final salary pension. Would all of it have to go into the IVA

      Hi JoanJ

      You need to be very careful about taking a lump sum from your pension during an IVA. If you do, generally speaking it will be seen as a windfall and all of it will have to be paid into your IVA.

      In these circumstances, your IVA company are allowed to take up to 100% of the original amount of debt you owed (less the payments you have already paid in) plus 100% of their fees and costs. In some cases, they can also add interest. If there are any funds remaining after these deductions, they are then returned to you.

      Given this, I normally advise that you delay taking the lump sum until after your IVA is completed (if you can). Alternatively, you should try and negotiate with your IVA company that you will settle your IVA in full using some of the lump sum funds you release. Your bargaining chip is that you will not take the lump sum at all unless a reasonable settlement deal can be agreed. This way you would avoid having to pay more than you originally owed.

    Laura H says:

    my parents currently have an IVA, this finishes at the end of February. will they be able to take a lump sum from their pension after the IVA is completed or will it class as funds obtained before the IVA.

      Hi Laura

      I confirm that once your parent’s IVA is completed (i.e. they have their completion certificate), they can then draw a lump sum from their pension and keep the cash. It would not have to be paid into the Arrangement.

      You can read more about keeping cash lump sums drawn from a pension after an IVA here: What happens to cash received after an IVA is completed

    Glenn JR says:

    Hi I am in an IVA and I am on disability as a disabled veteran. recently the war pension scheme awarded me £7072.00 I have informed all the relevant people including my IVA. My question is can the IVA class this money as a windfall, as Ive told them its not its from the MOD for injuries sustained whilst I was in the Army

      Dear Glenn

      I am not sure whether the terms and conditions of your IVA would cover a lump sum from the war pension scheme as a windfall.

      I believe that if you were bankrupt, any lump sum paid to you from a war pension would be exempt from the bankruptcy estate and therefore yours to keep. Basically, the bankrupt person’s right to receive periodic payments in respect of personal injury can’t be touched.

      The rules with IVAs often follow the bankruptcy law. So, in the absence of anything specific in your IVA Ts&Cs, I would say the same should apply when you are in an IVA.

      That said, it will very much boil down to the attitude of your individual IVA company. Ultimately it will be up to them to decide how to interpret the rules.

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