Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Frequently Asked Annuity Questions


Q. Who is covered under the Annuity Fund?
A. All employees working for an Employer whose Collective Bargaining Agreement obligates them to contribute to the Fund are covered.
Q. How does the Fund work?
A. Individual Accounts are established for all employees for whom Employer contributions are made. These Employees become Participants in the Plan. All Employer contributions made on the Participants' behalf are credited to that Participant's Individual Account.
Q. When will I be eligible to receive a lump sum payment from the Annuity Fund?
A. You will become eligible to receive payment under any of the following circumstances:
  • You have not worked in Covered Employment for at least twelve (12) consecutive calendar months and do not return to work in covered Employment prior to the date of benefit payments, or
  • You receive a pension benefit under the Iron Workers Pension Plan, or
  • You receive monthly Social Security benefits, or
  • You reach age 70-1/2, or
  • You become totally and permanently disabled, or
  • You die (benefits will be made payable to your beneficiary), or
  • You reach age 65 and have not worked in Covered Employment for at east one (1) consecutive calendar month and do not return to work in Covered Employment prior to the date of benefit payments.
Q. Why can’t I take my money when I need it?
A. The Annuity Fund is a Defined Contribution Pension Plan and is subject to ERISA and IRS guidelines. Although the Plan Document outlines the circumstances in which a Participant is eligible to withdraw his account from the Fund, ERISA and the IRS dictates which circumstances are allowable.
Q. Do I have to apply for payment from the Annuity Fund when I’m eligible?
A. Yes. You must complete an application. Payment cannot be made until a properly completed application is received, processed and approved. Please note that the application process is not complete until the Benefit Office has received all of the required documents. The Annuity Application (Non-Hardship) is located under the Documents tab above. 
Q. After I submit an application, when will I receive my account balance from the Annuity Fund?
A. You should receive the benefit within 30 days following the receipt of a completed application and all required documents by the Benefit Office.
Q. Are distributions from the Plan taxable?
A. Yes. The IRS requires a 20% Federal tax withholding from Plan distributions. In addition, if you take a distribution prior to age 59 ½, you may be subject to an additional 10% penalty that must be reported on your annual Federal tax return for the year in which you received the distribution. The Tax Withholding form is included in the Annuity Application (Non-Hardship) located under the Documents tab above.
Q. Can I avoid paying the required taxes now?   
A. Yes. Under most circumstances, you can roll your account balance, or a portion of it, into an IRA. The amount rolled into a tax sheltered account will not be subject to the 20% withholding or 10% penalty. Only the amount made payable to you at the time of a distribution from the Plan will be taxable. Please note that Hardship distributions and certain other distributions are not eligible for rollover.
Q. If I elect to take a lump sum payment rather than rolling the account into an IRA, can the distribution be directly deposited into my bank account?
A. Yes. Mass Mutual can wire the payment directly into your bank account. Specific bank account information must be provided when the application is submitted to the Fund Office. Payment will not be made to a third party or to an account held in another party’s name. The Direct Deposit form is included in the Annuity Application (Non-Hardship) located under the Documents tab above.
Q.Can I borrow against the Annuity Fund?
A. No. The Plan does not allow loans.
Q. Can I withdraw from the Annuity Fund for a hardship?
A. Yes, but only in certain circumstances. The Hardship Application is located under the Documents tab above. You can apply for a Hardship Withdrawal for the following reasons:
  • Expenses for medical care – medical expenses allowed by the IRS are expenses not covered under the IWSTLDC Welfare Plan or any other group or private insurance. Proof of the medical expenses must be provided with the application for a Hardship Withdrawal.
  • Costs directly related to the purchase of your principal residence. Costs that may qualify you for a Hardship Withdrawal could be the required down payment and/or closing costs. Mortgage payments ARE NOT considered a part of the purchase of a principal residence.
  • Payment of tuition for post-secondary education for you, your spouse or any of your dependents.
  • Payments necessary to prevent eviction and/or foreclosure of your principal residence.
  • Any other immediate and heavy financial need when you have been unemployed for a period of at least 6 months and where you lack other available resources to satisfy the need.
  • Funeral expenses for an immediate family member.
Q. Do I need to provide proof of the hardship?
A.Yes. Because the IRS determines allowable expenses to qualify for a hardship withdrawal, the Plan must retain evidence on file of the purpose for the hardship distribution and all supporting documentation. This is to protect you as well as the Plan. If the reason for the hardship is determined to be fraudulent by the IRS, then the entire withdrawal would become a taxable distribution to you resulting in your owing unpaid taxes and potential penalties. The documentation must be consistent with the purpose of the withdrawal and include specific information, such as dollar amounts and contact information.
Q. How quickly can I get the money once I’ve applied for a hardship withdrawal?
A.Once your application and all supporting documents are received, your check will be mailed or wire transfer to your bank will be completed within 30 days following receipt of a completed application. Obviously, the process will be delayed if the application doesn't contain all required information or if the supporting documentation doesn’t provide required proof of the hardship. Please note that your distribution is processed through Mass Mutual and not the Benefit Office.
Q. Can my hardship withdrawal be wired directly into my account at a bank or financial institution?
A.Yes. Mass Mutual will issue the payment either in the form of a check mailed to the address on file at the Benefit Office or directly into your bank account. Specific bank account information must be provided when the application is submitted to the Benefit Office. Payment will not be made to a third party or to an account held in another party’s name. The Direct Deposit form is included in the Hardship Application located under the Documents tab above.
Q. How will I know if the application is approved?
A.If the application is NOT approved, you will receive a letter from the Benefit Office advising you of any additional information needed or if the application is denied. If the application IS approved, you will receive a letter from the Benefit Office. If you are mailing the application and supporting documents to the Benefit Office, you should call the Benefit Office about five (5) business days (allowing time for mail service) to confirm receipt and status.
Q. Are there any fees associated with taking a Hardship Withdrawal?
A. Yes. There is a $300.00 application processing fee deducted directly from your account balance for every application submitted, regardless of whether the application is approved or denied. This application processing fee MAY be waived if the Hardship Withdrawal is for additional post-secondary educational expenses for the same dependent that a previous Hardship Withdrawal for post-secondary educational expenses was taken from the Plan.
Q. How often can I take a Hardship Withdrawal?
A. You’re limited to three (3) hardship withdrawals during your Participation in the Plan for all reasons other than payment of tuition for post-secondary education. You are not limited on the number of hardship distributions for payment of tuition for post-secondary education.
Q. Is a Hardship Withdrawal subject to Federal taxes?
A. Yes. Because a hardship withdrawal is considered a distribution from the Plan, it is subject to federal taxes and may also be subject to an additional 10% tax penality. You can choose to have taxes withheld at the time of the distribution or report it on your annual Federal return. The Tax Withholding form is included in the Hardship Application located under the Documents tab above
Q.Will I receive a statement that I can provide to the IRS with my annual return?
A. Yes. Around January 31st, you will receive Form 1099 detailing the total amount of the distribution and the taxable amount that must be reported with your annual return. 
Q.Is my account invested and, if yes, where is it invested?
A.Yes. Contributions remitted on your behalf by your Employer are invested in a variety of investment options maintained by Mass Mutual. You have the option to select how your money is invested by either 1) completing an Investment Election form and submitting it to the Benefit Office or 2) logging onto the Mass Mutual website and accessing your personal account detail where you can make your elections online. You should have received a packet of information from Mass Mutual containing log on instructions and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that allows you to access your secured account information. If not, you can access the Mass Mutual website, www.massmutual.com, and obtain contact information. Mass Mutual will reissue a packet at your request. The Annuity Investment Election form is located under the Documents tab above.
Q.How often can I change my investment election for existing money?
A.You can change how your account is invested as often as you’d like. Investment changes made online through the Mass Mutual website will, in most cases, be effective the next business day. Investment elections submitted to the Benefit Office will be completed within ten (10) business days following receipt of the completed Investment Election form by the Benefit Office. Please note that the Benefit Office will not make investment elections on your behalf without your completed Investment Election form or provide investment advice. Please note that some funds have certain trading restrictions.
Q.How often can I change my investment election for new contributions?
A.You can change your investment election as often as you’d like. Keep in mind that new contributions remitted by your Employer will not be reflected in your account immediately. Your employer remits contributions to the Benefit Office during the month following the work month. The contributions are credited to your Benefit Office record and then transferred to Mass Mutual for investment purposes. Investment changes made online through the Mass Mutual website will be effective the next business day, in most cases. Investment elections submitted to the Benefit Office will be completed within ten (10) business days following receipt of the completed Investment Election form by the Benefit Office. Please note that the Benefit Office will not make investment elections on your behalf without your completed Investment Election form or provide investment advice.
Q.Will I be able to track investment earnings and losses through the Mass Mutual Web site?
A.Yes. The Mass Mutual website will provide you with investment earnings and losses as well as your current account balance and any other transactions to your account, such as withdrawals.
Q.What if I have questions about my investments or options?
A.Questions regarding your investments, investment options or problems with the online service should be directed to Mass Mutual. www.massmutual.com
Q. Who receives my account balance in the Annuity Fund if I die before retirement or qualifying for a distribution?
A.If you are married at the time of your death, your spouse will be the beneficiary of your account, unless otherwise indicated by a Court order or a completed Universal Beneficiary Form with spouse's consent. It is important that your beneficiary information remain current with the Benefit Office to ensure that your benefits are paid in the manner you desire in the event of your death. The Universal Beneficiary form is located under the Documents tab above.
Q. If I’m married and get divorced, does my former spouse have any right to my account?
A.It’s possible. If you were married while you were a participant in the Plan and become divorced, your former spouse may petition the Courts to file a Domestic Relations Order which could entitle him or her to a portion of your account. The Order must be determined “Qualified” (Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO) under the terms of the Plan and approved by the Plan before benefits can be paid to a former spouse, or Alternate Payee.
Q. Can I confirm my beneficiaries on this Web site?
A.Not at this time. Please fill out a new Universal Beneficiary form to confirm your beneficiary.  The Universal Beneficiary form is located under the Documents tab above.
Q. What happens if I get a divorce and don’t update my beneficiary information with the Benefit Office?
A.If you have a beneficiary card on file listing your spouse as your beneficiary and you do not submit a new beneficiary card when you divorce, then your ex-spouse will still be your beneficiary upon your death. The Beneficiary Election for Annuity form is located under the Documents tab above.
Q. Do I need to notify the Benefit Office if my address changes?
A.Yes. The Benefit Office receives hundreds of pieces of returned mail each month as a result of participants relocating and not updating their records. Not updating your address information will result in your not receiving important information from the Benefit Office. The Address Change form is located under the Documents tab above.