FREQUENTLY ASKED PENSION QUESTIONS FOR PLAN A-1
IMPORTANT NOTICE OF CHANGE TO WHEN YOUR PENSION CAN BEGIN.
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.
For Disability Retirement, the starting date of your pension payments may be different. Contact Insurance Dept for more information. .
|Are Retirement Applications available to download Online?
||Blank applications are no longer available from the fund website. Applications are individually numbered, they are unique to the retiring participant/surviving spouse and cannot be used as an application for another participant. In order to avoid department scheduling conflicts, please call ahead of time to request that a Retirement Application to be generated. Calling ahead allows us time to have the Applicaiton available for you prior to your arrival.
Effective immediately, October 1, 2015, new retirement application procedures were implemented to fall in line with current Federal Regulations. The new procedures include a system generated numbered application. A Disclosure Booklet will be provided to you with your application. We recommended you review this booklet before completing your Election Form.
Please note that applications expire 180 days after the form is generated. The deadline is printed on the application above the application number. If it is not submitted by the must be submitted before date on the form, it will be considered expired. A new application must be requested if the participant still intends to retire.
|How far in advance should I apply for pension? How long is the application process?
Retirement Applications must be submitted to the Fund Office or Local Union Benefits department 30-60 days before your preferred 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 filling Surviving Spouse Benefits attach your spouse's copy of birth certificate/ passport etc., marriage certificate and/or death certificate of the deceased participant.
Your retirement application cannot be completed until your employment is terminated with your employer.
You must terminate employment with your employer prior to completing you retirement application. Your Retiree H&W (if electing) cannot be updated until you do so.
After your pension application is processed, you will be provided an Election form that shows the amount of pension benefit for each payment option that is available to you as of your date retirement. You have 30 days from the date you received the Election form to consider and elect different payment options. If you decide that you do not want to retire, you can with withdraw your retirement application when you receive the election form.
Processing of the initial direct deposit takes up to two (2) months to take effect.
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.
| 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 Suspendable 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 Suspendable 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.