Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Frequently Asked 401(k) Profit Sharing Questions

Q. May I withdraw money from my account if I become disabled? 

Yes. If you are permanently and totally disabled as defined in the Plan, regardless of age, you may withdraw your account balance in one of the methods described in the booklet. Permanently and totally disabled means you are receiving a Social Security Disability benefit under Title II of the Social Security Act. 

Q. What amount of benefit will I receive when I retire? 
A.The value of your benefit at retirement is equal to the value of your basic account (your Self-Directed Account and your portion of the Trustee Managed Account). Although you may receive benefits under any of the several methods of payment you may select, the total of all payments under each alternate method are equal in value. The value of your account at retirement depends upon the amount of contributions and investment earnings credited to your account during the period of participation. Generally, the longer the period of your participation, the greater will be the value of your basic account at retirement. Similarly, the higher the investment earnings, the greater will be the value of your account. For this reason, the Trustees intend to achieve the highest investment return possible, consistent with prudence and safety.
Q. What are the Trustees responsibilities for the Investments I self direct through Self-Directed Investment Source? 
A.Pursuant to ERISA 404(c) the Profit Sharing Plan permits participants and beneficiaries to direct the investment of their Plan accounts in accordance with the limits and restrictions described in the booklet and other investments literature provided to you. In structuring the Self-Directed Investment Source portion of this Plan to facilitate participant directed investments, the Trustees have intended that Plan qualified as a plan described in Section 404(c) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and corresponding regulations. By qualifying as "Section 404(c) Plan, the Profit Sharing Plan's Trustees may be relieved of any liability for losses experienced in connection with the investment of your Plan account, which losses were the direct and necessary result of your investment instructions. In other words, if the Profit Sharing Plan provides you with an opportunity to exercise control of the investments in your account, as described in ERISA Section 404(c), and you actually exercise the control and direct the investment of your account, then the Plan's Trustees and other fiduciaries are generally not responsible for any investment losses suffered by your account as a result of your investment decision.  
Q. Can I transfer my account balance to other IBEW Pension Plan?
A.The Solano-Napa Counties Electrical Workers Profit Sharing Plan is signatory to the National Electrical Industry Pension Reciprocal Agreement. Funds are transferred according to the Reciprocal Agreement on a monthly basis. Traveling employees must complete the reciprocal authorization from which is available at participating Local Union offices and send the form to the Plan Manager. The Trustees of the Solano-Napa Counties Electrical Workers' Profit Sharing Plan have approved a separate Special Reciprocity Agreement to be signed with various IBEW defined contribution Plans allowing you to transfer fund balances to or from a defined contribution Plan in which you have previously participated, including funds which have been received by the Plan Manager prior to the time you signed the separate reciprocal authorization form or the National Electrical Industry Pension Reciprocity form. If you so elect, the Solano-Napa Counties Electrical Workers' Profit Sharing Plan or the reciprocal plan shall make a one-time transfer of all contributions and earnings thereon through the date the transfer is effective to the designated defined contribution plan, any such request shall be made to the Plan Manager in writing with the written consent of the employee’s spouse.
Q. What happens if I leave the trade? 
Once you have contributions credited to your basic account, you are entitled to a benefit at your retirement, regardless of whether you have left the trade. The amount of your benefit will depend on the accumulated contributions made on your behalf and the investment earnings credited to your basic account whether you retire on your regular retirement date or postpone your retirement. You start earning more benefits as soon as you start back to work in the trade, and are 100% vested in all benefits accumulated from that time on.
Q. What forms of payment may I elect? 
When you apply for retirement benefits, you will be required to elect a form of payment from the following choices:
(a)   You may elect to have periodic payments made to you by the Plan Manager in equal monthly amounts for your lifetime. This would provide monthly payments for your life equal to the monthly amount of a single life annuity.
(b)   You may elect to have a reduced monthly amount with a guaranteed minimum payout. This would provide monthly payments for your life with a guarantee that payment would continue, regardless of when you died, for a predetermined period of time (1, 5, 15 or 20 years). These payments in the event of your death would be paid to your designated beneficiary. Of course, the longer the guarantee, the lower the monthly benefit paid you during your life.
(c)    You may elect to receive a full lump sum amount equal to the value of your basic account.
(d) You may elect to have an annuity contract purchased from an insurance company in the form of 50%, 66 2/3% or 100% joint and survivor life annuity. Under this form, you will receive a monthly annuity for life and, upon your death, your spouse, if living, will receive a monthly payment for life equal to 50%, 66 2/3% or 100% of the amount you were receiving.
(e) You may rollover all or part of your account balance to the Solano-Napa Counties Electrical Workers’ Pension Plan if you are a participant in the Plan and buy additional benefit credits in the Plan thereby increasing your monthly pension from that Plan.  
Q. What happens if I lose track of my account? 

The Board of Trustees has taken the following action so that administrative expenses will not diminish account balances. Where there has been no activity by the inactive Participant concerning his/her account(s) for twenty four (24) months and the account balance is under $5,000.00 and where has been no activity for a period of five (5) years and the Plan Manager cannot locate the inactive Participant after due diligence, all funds in the inactive Participant’s account(s) shall be placed in a single account and become assets of the Trust. In the event the inactive Participant, his/her beneficiary, or legal representative comes forward after the inactive Participant’s account has been transferred to the Trust, such account shall be reinstated.

In the event your account balance is less than $1,000.00 and there has been no activity in your account for eighteen (18) months – deposit or withdrawals – the Trustees will automatically send you your account balance. The distribution will be subject to state and federal taxes and possible penalties depending upon your age. 

Q. What if death occurs after retirement? 
A.A participant's beneficiary shall be entitled to a benefit equal to the remaining value of the participant's basic account upon death for other than an insured benefit. If the benefit is an insured benefit, the conditions of the insurrect benefit contract will prevail. 
Q. May the election not to be covered by the Joint & Survivor Annuity benefit be changed once elected?
A.Yes. A participant with a written consent of his spouse may revoke an election not to take the qualified pre-retirement survivor annuity or choose against to take a qualified pre-retirement survivor annuity at any time and any number of times within the applicable election period. 
Q. Can a Participant elect to not be covered by the Joint and Survivor Annuity? 

Yes. The participant may elect not to be covered by the joint & Survivor annuity benefit with the written consent of the spouse. That written consent must either be notarized or witnessed by a Plan Representative. 

Q. Is interest credited to my Trustee Managed or Administrative account? 

The contributions received by the Trust fund for this account are invested to earn additional income. Your basic account is credited annually with your proportionate share of the investment income. Your share of the investment earnings each year is equal to the ratio which your account (including contributions and investments income allocated in prior years) bears to the total of all participants' accounts. The larger the balance credited to your account, the greater investment income allocated each year.

Annually following account valuation the account balance is transferred to your Self-Directed Account. 

Q. May I postpone my retirement? 
A. Yes. Retirement is not mandatory. You may continue to work in the trade after normal retirement age.  
Q. What death benefits are payable under the Plan?  

(a) Pre Retirement death benefits: If your death occurs before your retirement, your designated beneficiary will receive a benefit equal to the value of your basic account.

(b)   Post Retirement death benefits: If your death occurs after your retirement and you have not elected to receive your benefit in the form of an insured annuity, your designated beneficiary will receive an amount equal to the remaining value of your basic account. If you have elected an insured annuity, the conditions of the insured annuity contract will determine the death benefits.

(c)    Form of payments to beneficiary: If a benefit is payable from your basic account, your beneficiary will be required to elect one of the methods of receiving benefits under the Plan.

Q. As a retiree; what forms for retirement benefits are available under the Plan?  
A. A participant who has been married for the twelve (12) months immediately prior to retirement is automatically covered by the joint and survivor annuity benefit with a 50% annuity to his spouse unless elected otherwise as explained above. Other elections that may be made by all participants include a lump sum distribution equal to the value of the basic account, a single life annuity, (purchased from an insurance company), and single life annuity with 5, 10, 15 or 20 year guarantee (purchased from an insurance company). 
Q. What reports do I have to make if I withdraw my accumulated funds?  

Unless you directly rollover your funds into another qualified Plan or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) by a direct trustee-to-trustee rollover, you are required to report the receipt of such funds as income and, as such, you will be subject to income tax, both state and federal. 

Effective January 1, 1993, any lump sum withdrawal paid over a period of less than five years is subject to mandatory 20% withholding for federal income tax. Even if the withdrawal distribution is rolled over into another qualified pension plan or individual retirement account within 60 days, the Trust will withhold 20% for federal income tax. The Trust is not required to withhold federal taxes if the transfer is from trustee to trustee. Consequently, CONSULT WITH AN ACCOUNTANT REGARDING THE TAX RAMIFICATIONS OF ANY WITHDRAW/DISTRIBUTIONS BEFORE YOU TAKE POSSESSION OF THE BENEFITS. 

Q. May I withdraw my funds prior to retirement?  

Yes, under certain circumstances, an individual may withdraw the accumulated funds in this Pension Plan. They are as follows:

  • If an employee is not employed under covered employment for a period of eighteen (18) consecutive months and the account balance is less than $5,000.00 he/she may withdraw the amount in his/her individual account. A request for withdrawal must be in writing and approved by the Board of Trustees. The funds also are available to the employee upon early or normal retirement.
  • Additionally, hardship distributions are available. The Solano-Napa Counties Electrical Workers Profit Sharing Plan allows for hardship distributions to be made prior to the date a participant is otherwise eligible to retire. The distributions are strictly regulated by the Internal Revenue Code; are limited, and must be approved by the Trustees after application is made. Hardship distributions are not automatic. A hardship distribution is for an immediate and pressing financial need which cannot be met by obtaining funds from any source other than the participant’s account. Such distributions are allowed subject to the Trustees approval for the following hardships:
  1. excessive medical expenses;
  2. college tuition and books;
  3. down payment on a principal residence;
  4. the need to prevent eviction from a rental or foreclosure on a principal  residence;
  5. payments for burial or funeral expenses for the employee’s parent, spouse, child or dependent;
  6. expenses for the repair of damage to the employee’s principal residence that would qualify for the casualty deduction under IRC section 165, whether or not the loss exceeds 10% of adjusted gross income. 

            Q. What are my Ownership rights to this money? 
            A. Participants will have immediate 100% ownership (vested rights) in all funds credited to his (her) account. This includes contributions and interest. 
            Q. Are the employer's contributions taxable income to me? 
            A. No. The employer's contributions are not taxable income to the individual, nor are earnings thereon, as this is a tax exempt Pension Trust. Taxes are due when you withdraw money from your account.  
            Q. May I assign my benefits under the Plan? 
            A. Unless otherwise required by law, the benefits provided under this Plan are non assignable.  
            Q. When do I retire?  

            (a)     Normal Retirement Date: Your normal retirement date will be the first day of the month coinciding with or next following your 62th birthday. The benefit is your account balance.

            (b)    Early Retirement: You may elect to retire as early as 55 and receive your account balance at that time if you have ceased work in the electrical industry. Election of Early Retirement may be made only once.

            (c)    Disability Retirement: You may elect to retire at any age if you become permanently and totally disabled as determined by the Social Security administration and confirmed by a Social Security award certificate. 

            Q. Who is eligible to become a participant?  
            A. You are eligible to participate in the Plan if you are an employee of an employer who is signatory to a collective bargaining agreement between Local Union No. 180, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Northern California Chapter, Solano-Napa Counties Branch of the National Electrical Contractors Association, and you are performing work covered by these agreements for such employers, or as an employee of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee or the Union signatory hereto. 
            Q. Who pays for the Plan? 
            A. The entire cost of the Plan is paid by contributions required under a collective bargaining agreement. The amount of contribution depends upon your classification under the collective bargaining agreement. Classification is determined annually with the consent of the local union. 
            Q. When did the Plan become Effective? 
            A. The Plan became effective on June 1, 2003.