Thursday, December 2, 2021

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 870 Hours of Work in an eligibility computation period for a covered 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 one full Year of Credited Service for each Plan Year in which you perform 1,740 or more Hours of Work. For each Plan Year in which you are credited with more than 300 Hours of Work, you will accrue a pro-rated fractional part of a Credit Year. For example, if you performed 800 Hours of Work in a Plan Year, you will be credited with .46 Years of Credited Service
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 or five (5) Years of Credited Service, which ever occurs first. 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 292.
Q. What is a Year of Vesting Service?
A. A Year of Vesting Service is 870 hours. A Year of Credited Service is 1740 hours. A member cannot earn a partial Year of Vesting Service. But, a member can earn partial Credited Service for hours worked between 300 - 1740.
Q. What happens if I leave covered employment or work less than the minimum hours required (300 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 300 Hours of Work in a Plan Year, that is called a Break in Service year. If your number of Break in Service years equals the greater of five or the number of your accrued Vesting Years, 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 will I be eligible to retire?
A. When you have reached age 65 and have accrued at least five (5) Vesting Years you will be eligible for Normal retirement. You may be eligible for a reduced early benefit once you have reached age 55 and accrued at least five (5) Vesting Years. Under certain circumstances you may be eligible for an unreduced early benefit at ages 58 or 62.
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 birth certificates for yourself and your spouse, 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 normal retirement benefits, early retirement (reduced or unreduced), disability and death benefits.
Q. Will my spouse be entitled to any part of my pension upon my death after retirement?
A. Your spouse's entitlement to a benefit upon your death will depend on the option of payment you chose at the time of your retirement. If you chose a Joint & Survivor Option of Payment, your spouse will receive a portion of your benefit. If you chose the Single Life Option of Payment, the there is no benefit payable upon your death. Please see the Summary Plan Description for more details.
Q. If I die before retirement, are any benefits payable?
A. Prior to retirement, benefits that are payable upon your death are determined based on your marital status and whether or not you are vested in the Plan at the time of your death. Please refer to the Summary Plan Description for a detailed explanation of the benefits available
Q. How can I find out what my benefit will be 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 April 1st to the next following March 31st.