FREQUENTLY ASKED PENSION QUESTIONS FOR PLAN A-1
What does the term "vesting"
|It means to have earned enough years of Vesting Credit (five if you have at least one Hour of Service on or after April 1, 1999, otherwise ten) to become entitled to a pension benefit without having to work any additional time for an Employer.
|What is the difference between Vesting Credit and Benefit Credit?
||Vesting Credit is used to determine if you are entitled to retirement benefits and to determine which benefits are available to you.
Benefit Credit is used to determine the amount of your retirement.
|How many years do I need to be vested?
||You must have five (5) years of Vesting Credit to be vested.
|Does it matter if I
am full-time or part-time for vesting credit?
||Yes, full-time earns one (1) benefit credit in a calendar year if 1800 hours are worked.
Part-time earns a pro-rated fraction based on reportable hours.
If you work less than 1800 hours of Covered Service but more than 150 hours of Covered Service in a calendar year, you earn partial Benefit Credit for that year. The partial credit is determined by dividing your Hours of Covered Service by 2,000.
|What is the difference between a “Vested Participant” & “Separated Vested Participant?
||A Vested Participant means you are entitled to a retirement benefit without having to work additional time for an Employer.
A Separated Vested Participant, also called an “Inactive Vested Participant”, if you incur a Separation in Service before retirement. Pension benefits earned before July 1, 1990, will be payable without reduction at age 60. However, your benefit may be less thereafter or if you have a 120-Day Absence. Contact the Insurance Department for more information
|What does “Hours of Covered Service” mean?
||All straight time hours worked and any other hours for which your Employer is obligated to contribute to the Pension Fund.
Hours for which you are paid vacation, sick leave (but not unused sick leave), jury duty, holiday absences and funeral leave.
Periods of during which you receive State Disability or Worker’s Compensation benefits, provided that your disability started on or after September 1, 1990. Six (6) hours of Service will be credited per day for each day of disability up to a maximum of 1800 Hours of Service during your lifetime.
Hours of Industry Vacation paid to you after 1986 in accordance with the terms of the Industry Vacation Plan of the UFCW & Food Employers Benefit Fund.
Under certain circumstances and limitations, periods of time in Military Service
No Pension Credit is given while on Strike.
|How can I obtain what my monthly pension amount would be? Will I have retiree medical benefits?
||If you worked for different employers or was in Non-Bargaining (Mgmt.) Contact the Insurance Dept. for a Pension Inquiry form. The Trust Fund processing time is 2-3 months.
For all new and currently a Retired member, Medical is not a guaranteed benefit.
|What is the Rule of 85? Do I qualify?
The Rule of 85 (Golden 85) provides that if your age and Benefit credits total 85 or more, and you did not have a Separation in Service as of December 31, 1994, you can retire and receive retirement benefits (if applicable) with no reduction for Early Retirement Age.
If you had a Separation in Service as of December 31, 1994, only those Benefit Credits accrued after that date qualify for payment under the Rule of 85. (Benefit Credits earned before 1994 will be counted to determine if your age and service equal 85)
Note: This option can be negotiated and/or may be suspended amidst any contract
|Can I collect my retirement early?
||Platinum + members hired prior to April 1, 2004, If you have earned at least ten (10) years of Vesting Credit and you satisfy all other Plan requirements, you can retire at any time on or after the first of the month following your 50th birthday.
|When can I collect Normal Retirement?
||If you have earned at least ten (10) years of Vesting Credit and you satisfy all other Plan requirements, you can retire and begin receiving full monthly pension you have built up in the Plan on or after the first of the month following your 60th birthday.
|What if I have a pending Social Security Disability Award? Is it a Disability Retirement or Early Retirement?
||You may apply for Early Retirement to be paid while you are waiting to receive your Social Security Disability Award. Your Early Retirement will be converted to a Disability Retirement if your date of entitlement to Social Security Disability Benefits is no more than six (6) months after your Early Retirement date.
Disability Retirement, contact Insurance Dept.
|How far in advance should I apply for pension? How long is the application process?
||No more than two (2) months before retirement effective date. The retirement date is always the first of each month. Ex. Application received in March, retirement effective April 1 or specified retirement date.
It takes 8-12 weeks to process a notarized retiree application. Submit copies of the members recorded birth certificate, passport or Documentation showing Proof of Age. If electing Joint and Survivor option we will need your spouse’s copy of birth certificate, marriage certificate and/or previous divorces.
Retired dependents can be eligible up to age 24 only if full-time in College with a Student Certificate form on file for each quarter or semester the Accredited College considers.
You must terminate employment with your employer or your retirement application cannot be completed without it.
Once all information is received, we will request your finalized hours and termination from your employer’s corporate office. After your file is complete, another Pension Analyst will verify the file to ensure accuracy. Once verified, you will receive your “Pension Application Worksheet” in which you will circle your final retirement choice. Sign, date and return it to the Fund Office.
Note: If you are married and choose to decline the Joint and Survivor, your spouse will need to fill out the “Consent of Rejection form and have it notarized.
Once your Final Choice letter is received, your first pension check will retroactively paid back to date of retirement via mail. The initial Direct deposit takes up to (2) months processing to take effect.
| What is a Pension Payment Verification form?
||Every year you will receive a Pension Payment Verification form to be completed by the retiree or surviving spouse and notarized so your pension benefits will not be stopped.
|If I die before retirement, will my spouse receive my pension and/or medical benefits?
||If you are vested and die before retirement, your surviving spouse will receive lifetime pension payments (payments will begin on the first of the month after you would have reached age 50.
If you die before you retire, there will be no medical for your spouse.
|Once I am retired,
how many hours am I allowed to work?
||Work for an Employer with a UFCW SO CAL Collective Bargaining Agreement:
More than (40) hours in a calendar month with four weekly payroll periods, or
More than (50) hours in a calendar month with five weekly payroll periods
Work for an Employer with No Collective Bargaining Agreement under age 65:
If you are less than age 65 and work in a Suspendible Employment for an employer (including self-employment) that doesn’t have a Collective Bargaining Agreement, the part of your pension earned after March 31, 2002 will be suspended for any month in which you work any hours. If your benefits are suspended for working less than (40) hours or (50) hours in a calendar month (whichever is applicable), your benefits will be actuarially adjusted when they resume, if necessary, so that the value of your Normal Retirement Benefit is no reduced because of the suspension.
If you do not know whether particular employment will be considered Suspendible Employment, you may contact the Trust Fund to request a determination of whether that employment will cause a Suspension of your pension benefits.
|What if I attain the 70 ½ age and still actively working, do I need to notify the Insurance Department? Is it a Required Distribution?
||Yes, the Plan requires that you collect your retirement benefits starting no later than April 1 of the following year in which you reach age 70 ½ - even if you are still working. If you are no longer working for an Employer after that date and still have not begun collecting your retirement benefits, you may be subject to adverse tax consequences.