Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Pension

This page contains answers to common questions handled by our support staff.
  1. How do I file for Pension Benefits?
  2. What is the earliest age I can collect Pension Benefits?
  3. What is required in order to be eligible for a Disability Pension Benefit?
  4. What is Vesting Service?
  5. What is Benefit Service?
  6. What documents are needed when filing for Pension Benefits?
  7. Why is my spouse’s information required?
  8. How far in advance should I apply for Pension Benefits?
  9. Does the Fund provide a Lump Sum Payment?
  10. Can I change my Option?
  11. Why will my benefits be suspended if I am not working in a “union” capacity?
  12. What should I do if I disagree with a decision that has been rendered, such as a denial for Pension Benefit, the effective date, the amount of my pension etc.?
  13. How do I check to see if the company is making the correct contributions?
  14. What should I do if I do not agree with the time that has been reported?
  15. How do I know if my employer has fulfilled their obligation under the Collective Bargaining Agreement?
  16. How do I sign up for Direct Deposit ?
  17. If I am on Direct Deposit, do I need to notify you if I should move?
  18. How do I change the amount of taxes being withheld on my pension check ?
  19. I need to change my Beneficiary for my Death Benefit?
  20. What should my family do in the event of my death?
  21. Does the Fund offer any type of medical coverage after I retire?
  22. If I die as a single member, who will receive my pension?

(1) How do I file for Pension Benefits?
In order to file for pension benefits, you need to obtain an application. This can be done in several ways: (i) by accessing the Normal/Early or Disability application form directly from this Website in the Forms Gallery, (ii) by requesting the forms via email, or (iii) by calling the Pension Department at 1-800-523-2846. Back to Top

 

(2) What is the earliest age I can collect Pension Benefits?
The earliest age that a participant can collect Pension Benefits is age 50 unless you have attained 25 Benefit Years AND age 55. In those cases, you may begin to collect your accrued Pension Benefit at any age after you leave Covered Employment and are not employed in “suspendible employment” for more than 64 hours in a calendar month (or 100 hours in the cases of employment with participating employer of the Pension Fund). Back to Top

 

(3) What is required in order to be eligible for a Disability Pension Benefit?
In order to be eligible for any type of Pension Benefit, you must have a vested pension. To be vested, you must have at least five (5) years of Vesting Service provided you were in Covered Employment after January 1, 1999 or ten (10) years if you terminated participation in the Plan prior to January 1, 1999. Additionally, you would have had to become disabled while in Covered Employment. This will require verification either through a Social Security Disability Award Letter or medical records. Back to Top

 

(4) What is Vesting Service?
Vesting Service determines whether you have a non-forfeitable right to a pension sometime in the future. You will earn one (1) year of Vesting Service for any calendar year in which you earn at least 750 hours of Covered Employment (prior to 1/1/76 – 175 days for a full year, 100 days for one half year of vesting service credit). Back to Top

 

(5) What is Benefit Service?
While Vesting Service determines whether you have a right to a nonforfeitable pension sometime in the future, Benefit Service determines the amount that that vested pension is worth. You will earn one year of Benefit Service if you work at least 1800 hours (225 days) in a calendar year (prior to 1/1/76 -175 days for a full year, 100 days for one half year of benefit service credit). You will earn fractional benefit service credit if you work at least 750 hours, but less than 1800 hours in a calendar year (Example – 1600 hours = .89 year of benefit service credit) Back to Top

 

(6) What documents are needed when filing for Pension Benefits?
The documents required when filing for pension are a birth certificate for the member and spouse (if married) and a copy of your marriage certificate as well as copies of both the member’s and spouse’s social security card. If you are divorced, you will need to provide a copy of your divorce decree. If you are widowed, you will need to provide a copy of the death certificate for your spouse. If your spouse was previously married, we will need documentation to substantiate each name change. Back to Top

 

(7) Why is my spouse’s information required?
Under Federal Law and under the provisions of the Pension Plan, a spouse is required to give written consent to a participant’s election. Back to Top

 

(8) How far in advance should I apply for Pension Benefits?
The processing of an application is generally a quick process. However, a delay can be caused by a slow response from employers, other pension funds, the lack of required documents or lack of information. Generally speaking, the application process should take approximately 90 days unless we need to obtain your itemized earnings from the Social Security Administration, which could take an additional 90 – 120 days. Back to Top

 

(9) Does the Fund provide a Lump Sum Payment?
Yes, the Fund does have a lump sum payout provided the actuarially determined present value of the benefit is $5,000 or less. It will be determined at the time of the calculation as to whether or not you qualify for this type of a payment. Should it be determined that you do qualify, you will be paid in a one-time lump sum payment in lieu of monthly Pension Benefits. Back to Top

 

(10) Can I change my Option?
An election becomes irrevocable upon the earlier of, 90 days after you make your election or the commencement of your benefits. Back to Top

 

(11) Why will my benefits be suspended if I am not working in a “union” capacity?
Re-employment under the provisions of the Pension Plan is not limited to employment in a “union” capacity. Rather, it is defined as employment in the same trade, craft or industry. Please refer to the definitions in the Pension Plan for a full explanation of a trade, craft or industry. Different rules apply depending on whether you are receiving an Early or Normal Retirement Benefit. Please contact the Pension Fund to determine what set of rules apply to your particular benefit. Back to Top

 

(12) What should I do if I disagree with a decision that has been rendered, such as a denial for Pension Benefit, the effective date, the amount of my pension etc.?
If you disagree with a decision that has been rendered on your application, you have a right to an appeal hearing. To do so, follow the appeal procedure in the Summary Plan Description. Back to Top

 

(13) How do I check to see if the company is making the correct contributions?
To determine if the company has properly remitted to the Health & Welfare Fund on your behalf, you should contact the Eligibility Department at 1-800-523-2846 ext. 1904. To determine if the company has properly remitted to the Pension Fund on your behalf, you should contact the Pension Department at 1-800-523-2846 ext. 1905. Keep in mind that contributions are generally due the 28th of the month following the month in which the time was worked. Back to Top

 

(14) What should I do if I do not agree with the time that has been reported?
If you feel that the time reported by your employer is not accurate, you should notify the Fund office immediately by sending a letter with a full explanation as to why you feel the time is incorrect. Also, you should substantiate any differences you may have by submitting any and all documents such as pay stubs, payroll records, workmen’s compensation stubs, etc. Once this information is received, we will review the records along with the Collective Bargaining Agreement to determine any differences that may be due. The employer, in turn, will be notified and, in appropriate cases, billed for any discrepancies. Back to Top

 

(15) How do I know if my employer has fulfilled their obligation under the Collective Bargaining Agreement?
You, as the member, should become aware of your employer’s obligation in making contributions to the Pension and/or Health & Welfare Fund. This information is set forth in the collective bargaining agreement between your Local Union and your employer. If you have any questions as to whether or not your company is required to make contributions under certain circumstances such as workmen’s compensation, weekly disability, overtime etc., you should contact your Business Agent or Local Union. Back to Top

 

(16) How do I sign up for Direct Deposit ?
In order to sign up for Direct Deposit, you simply need to access and complete the form for Direct Deposit and return it to our office. Once we receive the properly completed form, we will process your request. Keep in mind that this process will take approximately one to two pay cycles depending on what time of the month we receive your request. In the meantime, your check will be mailed directly to your home. Back to Top

 

(17) If I am on Direct Deposit, do I need to notify you if I should move?
Yes, the Fund will still need a way to get in touch with you for various reasons such as update letters, Fund’s financial statements and especially for the mailing your own 1099R at the end of the year. For security purposes, any changes of address must be sent in writing, signed by the member or accompanied by a Durable Power of Attorney. Back to Top

 

(18) How do I change the amount of taxes being withheld on my pension check ?
Just complete the W-4P in the Forms Gallery and return it to our office. It’s that simple! Back to Top

 

(19) I need to change my Beneficiary for my Death Benefit?
In order to change your beneficiary, simply access the beneficiary designation form directly from the Forms Gallery. Complete the form and return it to our office. Because the Spouse Death Benefit is only payable if the member is still living at the time of the spouse’s death, the spouse is not able to name a beneficiary. Keep in mind that NOT all retirees are eligible for these death benefits. To find out if you are eligible, contact the Pension Fund at 1-800-523-2846. Back to Top

 

(20) What should my family do in the event of my death?
The family should contact the Fund office as soon as possible so they can be advised as to what documents are required for the processing of the death benefit, if any, or survivorship Pension Benefits, if any. Back to Top

 

(21) Does the Fund offer any type of medical coverage after I retire?
No. However, if you participated in the Health & Welfare Fund, you are permitted to “run out” your active benefit eligibility (without weekly disability or death benefit coverage). You may also be able to continue your coverage through the Health & Welfare Fund’s COBRA Coverage Continuation Program. COBRA questions may be directed to the Health & Welfare Fund’s COBRA Department at 1-800-523-2846, ext.2425. Back to Top

 

(22) If I die as a single member, who will receive my pension?
If you were to die as a single member, your pension benefit is payable for a period of sixty (60) months only to the beneficiaries as outlined in the Pension Plan. They are as follows: surviving spouse, then if none, surviving minor children, then if none, surviving adult children, then if none, surviving parents, then if none surviving siblings related by blood through at least on parent or by adoption. Back to Top

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