Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Frequently Asked Pension Questions


Q.

What pension plans are available for me?

A.

There are two pension plans available. The Defined Benefit Plan provides a monthly benefit to you upon your qualified retirement. With the Defined Contribution Plan, you can receive a rollover distribution, monthly installments or a lump sum distribution subject to mandatory 20% federal tax withholding.

Q.

How old do I have to be to start collecting benefits from my defined benefit pension plan?

A.

Reduced early retirement commence is available at age 55 with at least 10 years of credited service. Unreduced benefits are payable at age 60 with minimum of 10 years of service or by the Rule of 85 (you have attained age 55, and the sum of your age and years of vesting credit are at least 85.) Unreduced benefits are also payable at the attainment of Normal Retirement Age (age 62 and vested.)

Q.

What are the different forms of benefits offered by the defined benefit pension plan?

A.

The Plan offers a single life annuity, and joint & survivor annuity options with the survivor percentage at 50%, 75% and 100% (note: the higher the survivor percentage, the lower the participant monthly benefit). Please refer to your plan’s Summary Plan Description for details.

Q.

Can I change my form of benefit?

A.

You can change your form of benefit at any time during the retirement processing period. Once you begin receiving monthly defined benefit plan payments, you cannot change your form of benefit.

Q.

Once I retire, am I allowed to go back to work?

A.

Suspensions rules limit the number of hours a retiree is allowed to work each month. You cannot work any Industry service before age 62 and can work less than 40 hours after age 62. The suspension rules do not apply after you attain age 70 1/2.

Q.

When are pension checks mailed or direct deposits sent each month?

A.

Benefit checks are mailed two days before the first of the benefit month. Direct deposits are made on the first of the benefit month.

Q.

Is my pension taxable?

A.

Yes, pension benefits are taxable.

Q.

Can I change my withholding?

A.

Yes, BeneSys Administrators must receive your request by the 15th of the month for the change to be reflected in the following month’s payment. Changes must be in writing. Print and complete a Change of Withholding form and mail to BeneSys Administrators.

Q.

How do I change my mailing address?

A.

Changes of address must be in writing. Print and complete a Change of Information form and mail to BeneSys Administrators.

Q.

When are the annual pension statements mailed?

A.

Annual statements are mailed approximately 5 months after the end of the Plan Year.

Q.

What happens to my pension if I die before I start drawing on it?

A.

If you have a vested interest in the Defined Benefit Pension Plan and you are married, your spouse is entitled to the Qualified Pre-retirement Survivor Annuity. The benefits your spouse would receive would be the same as if you had elected a Joint & 50% Survivor annuity on the day after you died. Death benefits are also payable to the beneficiaries of vested unmarried participants. Under the Defined Contribution Plan, your account balance would be payable to your spouse or other named beneficiary upon your death.

Q.

What happens if I become disabled?

A.

If prior to normal retirement age, you become totally and permanently disabled as determined by the Social Security Administration, have met the Plan’s service requirement, and have been recently working in covered employment, then your unreduced monthly pension benefit is payable to Normal Retirement Age. Once you attain Normal Retirement Age, your retirement benefit converts to a normal retirement benefit. At that time, you must elect your form of benefit.

Q.

Is there a hardship provision under the plan?

A.

There is now a hardship provision under the Defined Contribution Plan. If you are experiencing a financial hardship that is immediate and heavy and cannot be met from other reasonably available resources, and the hardship has been caused by a specific situation, you may qualify to withdraw up to 60% of your vested interest in funds that have been in the account for at least two years. You may not withdraw more than $10,000 net per hardship distribution and you may not take more than one hardship distribution in any calendar year. Generally, the financial need must be due to:

  • Unreimbursed medical bills for the participant, spouse or dependent;
  • Costs of post-secondary education for the participant, spouse or dependent;
  • The cost of preventing eviction or foreclosure on the employee’s principal residence;
  • The cost of any other demonstrated bill which causes the employee, the employee’s spouse or dependents present or impending want or privation;
  • Burial or funeral expenses for the employee's eligible spouse or dependent.
The amount available for a hardship distribution is limited, and the amount requested may not be greater that the amount necessary to relieve the financial need. To determine if you qualify for a hardship distribution, you must complete the Hardship Withdrawal Application and Election Forms, and return to BeneSys Administrators along with your proof of hardship.
Q.

I am no longer working. When can I withdraw or rollover my defined contribution plan balance?

A.

A participant is entitled to a distribution of his account under the following circumstances: (1) upon Normal, Early or Disability Retirement from the Defined Benefit Pension Plan, (2) upon Disability, or (3) effective on the April 1 following the completion of three Plan Years that he/she has not been employed in work covered under the collective bargaining agreements of BAC Local 3.

Q.

Can I borrow against my pension plan?

A.

At the time of retirement, you indicate your beneficiary on your retirement application. For all married participants, the spouse is the beneficiary unless he/she has consented to another beneficiary. This consent must be certified by a notary public. Unmarried participants can change their beneficiary at any time by completing the Change of Beneficiary Designation Form and returning it to BeneSys Administrators. Married participants must also obtain the written and notarized consent of spouse in order to change beneficiaries. The Plans have an order of succession if no beneficiary is indicated: spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, estate.

Q.

Who is listed as my beneficiary and can I change it?

A.

At the time of retirement, you indicate your beneficiary on your retirement application. For all married participants, the spouse is the beneficiary unless he/she has consented to another beneficiary. This consent must be certified by a notary public. Unmarried participants can change their beneficiary at any time by completing the Change of Beneficiary Designation Form and returning it to BeneSys Administrators. Married participants must also obtain the written and notarized consent of spouse in order to change beneficiaries. The Plans have an order of succession if no beneficiary is indicated: spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, estate.