Benefits under the Retiree Health and Welfare (RHW) Plan are not vested benefits. They may be changed or even eliminated in the future. Retiree benefits are different from the benefits offered to active Participants.
There are two classes of retiree benefits: “Retirees Except Class E” and “Class E Retirees.”
To be eligible for RHW benefits, you must meet all of the following requirements (1 through 4):
- You must have been hired: a. Before March 1, 2004, by an employer under a Collective Bargaining Agreement that provides for RHW benefits, or b. After February 29, 2004, by an employer who provided Platinum Plus benefits for all of its employees hired after that date.
- You must have accrued at least 10 years* of benefit credit under the Southern California United Food and Commercial Workers Unions and Food Employers Joint Pension Trust Fund.
- You must have satisfied one of the following employment requirements within the Retail Food Industry:
a. You must have earned at least 10 years* of benefit credit under the Southern California United Food & Commercial Workers Unions and Food Employers Joint Pension Trust Fund within the 15 years immediately preceding your retirement date, or
b. You must have worked at least 345 hours* in covered employment in each of the three years preceding your retirement date, or
c. You must have worked at least 1,500 hours* in covered employment within the three-year period immediately preceding your retirement date. Note: Period(s) of disability that prevented your active employment will not be included in this three-year period (you must provide a medical affidavit that verifies your disability). Also, the period may be extended by up to three years due to verified periods of disability which prevented your active employment.
- If you returned to covered employment from non-bargaining unit employment with the same employer on or after March 1, 2004, after five or more consecutive calendar years with no reported hours in your pension history, you must accrue 10 years* of benefit credit under the Pension Plan. This requirement applies, in addition to meeting the requirements of 1 and 3 above.
* Years and hours of covered service under Pension Plans A-2 and/or B-2 do not count towards meeting the eligibility requirements for RHW benefits. However, hours of covered service earned under reciprocity agreements with other pension plans may count.
If you qualify for RHW benefits, your benefits (medical, prescription drug and vision coverage) will begin when you reach age 55**, or on the effective date of your retirement, whichever is later. A Participant who qualifies and receives a disability retirement is treated as though s/he had attained age 65.
**An eligible retiree who retires on or after November 1, 1995 under the Rule of 85 (before age 60 but with enough benefit credits that, when combined with age, equal at least 85) qualifies for RHW benefits as of the date of retirement.
To be eligible for Class E benefits:
- You must have begun receiving retirement benefits from the Meat Cutters Pension Plan prior to November 1, 1988, and
- You must have qualified for Retiree Health and Welfare (RHW) benefits under the Meat Cutters Fund at the time you began receiving retirement benefits. OR
- You are the spouse of a deceased Participant who met requirements 1 and 2 above, you were enrolled in the retiree benefits plan prior to your spouse’s death, and your eligibility for retiree benefits has not expired.
If you qualify for RHW benefits, your dependents eligible for coverage include:
- Your legally married spouse
- Your certified domestic partner* (A Certificate of Registration of Domestic Partnership must be filed with the California Secretary of State. Both partners must satisfy the criteria for domestic partnership under California law, and you may enroll your opposite-sex domestic partner only if at least one of you is age 62 or older.)
- Your or your spouse’s or eligible domestic partner’s* unmarried natural child, legally adopted child (or child placed for adoption), or step-child who is dependent upon you for support, and is:
- Either under age 19, or under age 24 and a full-time student enrolled in an accredited educational institution; or
- Unemployable because of permanent or physical disability that began while covered under the plan either prior to age 19, or between the ages of 19 and 24 while enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited educational institution; or
- A child you are required to cover under a Qualified Medical Child Support Order.
- Your foster child who meets the criteria noted in the Fund’s Application for Coverage of a Foster Child as an Eligible Dependent.
*Note that you might be responsible for paying taxes on the value of the coverage provided to your domestic partner or to his or her child(ren). Contact the Fund Office for more information.