Sunday, November 29, 2020

Frequently Asked Pension Questions


Q. How do I become a Participant in the Pension Plan?
A.

You become a Participant in the Pension Plan when you are credited with one Hour of Service. An Hour of Service is a legal term used to comply with federal law. It is an hour of sheet metal work performed for an Employer who is required to contribute to the Pension Plan on your behalf under a collective bargaining agreement with Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union No. 80 for which you are paid or entitled to payment or any hour for which back pay is awarded for work you would have performed for your Employer.

Q. How many hours do I have to work in a Plan Year to earn a full Year of Credited Service?
A.

Years of Credited Service are what determine benefit accrual. You earn a partial Year of Credited Service for each Plan Year in which you have performed at least 435 Hours of Service. You earn one full Year of Credited Service for each Plan Year in which you perform 1,400 or more Hours of Service. You may earn a partial Year of Credited Service by taking the total number of Hours of Service you accrued in a Plan Year and dividing it by 1,400. For example, if you performed 800 Hours of Service in a Plan Year, you will be credited with .6 Years of Credited Service. You cannot earn more than one Year of Credited Service in a Plan Year.

Q. When will I have a right to receive benefits from the Pension Plan?
A.

You will become entitled to benefits when you become "vested". You are vested if you accrue at least five (5) Years of Vesting Service. When you become vested, you are entitled to certain benefits from the Pension Fund that will be paid to you even if you stop working for employers who are required to contribute to the Pension Plan under a collective bargaining agreement with Local 80.

Q. What is a Year of Vesting Service?
A.

You will be credited with a Year of Vesting Service for each Plan Year in which you perform 870 Hours of Service. If you perform between 435 and 870 Hours of Service in a Plan Year, your partial Year of Vesting Service will be calculated by dividing your Hours of Service by 1400 and rounded to the nearest 1/10th of one year. Your Years or partial Years of Vesting Service will never be less than your Years or partial Years of Credited Service.

Q. What happens if I leave covered employment or work less than the minimum hours required (435 hours per Plan Year) before I am vested in my accrued benefit?
A.

You may forfeit any accrued benefit you had earned up to that point. If you perform fewer than 435 Hours of Service in a Plan Year, that is called a Break in Service year. If you have three consecutive Break in Service years before you are vested, you will suffer a Permanent Break in Service and lose all previously accrued benefit. There are ways you can reinstate these benefits if you return to covered employment - please refer to the Summary Plan Description for specific rules regarding reinstatement of lost service.

Q. When I am ready to retire, what procedure should I follow?
A.

Contact the Fund office approximately 30 - 45 days prior to your retirement date for an estimate of your benefit and the appropriate application. You will be required to submit with your application a copy of you and your spouse's birth certificates, your marriage certificate and, if you have ever been divorced, a complete copy of your divorce decree(s). Your benefit cannot begin until all required documents are received by the Fund, and you are responsible for obtaining those documents.

Q. What benefits does the Plan provide?
A.

The Plan provides six kinds of benefits: normal retirement, early retirement (reduced or unreduced), deferred vested, deferred vested early, disability and death. Disability benefits do not vest.

Q. Will my spouse be entitled to any part of my pension upon my death after retirement?
A.

Yes. If at the time you retire, you have been married for at least ninety days on the date your benefits begin, your benefits will be paid in the 50% joint and survivor benefit form. This form provides that you receive your full accrued benefit and, upon your death, your spouse will receive 50% of your benefit for the remainder of your spouse's life. You may also choose to have your benefits paid in the 80% or 100% joint and survivor benefit form. If you elect one of these forms at retirement, you will receive a reduced benefit during your lifetime, and, upon your death, your spouse will receive either 80% or 100% of the benefit paid during your life, depending on which of the forms you elected. The amount of the reduction depends on your and your spouse's ages when you retire and whether you select the 80% or 100% joint and survivor benefit.

Q. If I die before retirement, are any benefits payable?
A.

Yes, if you have earned at least one Year of Credited Service. The kind of benefit, the amount of the benefit, the beneficiary who receives it and when it is paid varies depending on whether or not you are married. Please refer to the Summary Plan Description for a detailed explanation of the benefits available.

Q. How can I find out what my benefit at retirement?
A.

Once per year, you will receive a statement of your accrued benefit. These statements are prepared and mailed after the final contributions are received for the prior Plan Year. The statement will show your total hours and vesting credits for the previous Plan Year. It will also show your total service credits, your accrued benefit and your vesting status. A Plan Year is a consecutive 12 month period running from each June 1st to the next following May 31st. The Fund uses Plan Years to determine many matters relating to the Plan.