The following section provides a brief description of important Pension Plan concepts. For more detailed information, refer to the Summary Plan Description and the Summaries of Material Modifications (SMMs). If there are any discrepancies between the information provided in the brief description below and the Plan Document, the Plan Document will govern.
If you were hired by an employer before March 1, 2004, you became a Participant automatically when you reached age 20 and had 300 Hours of Service within two consecutive calendar years. Once you become a Participant, you will be credited with your Hours of Service retroactive to your date of hire.
You earn one Vesting Credit for each calendar year in which you have at least 150 Hours of Service.
If you have an Hour of Service on or after April 1, 1999, you become vested when you have earned 5 Vesting Credits. If you do not have an Hour of Service on or after April 1, 1999, you become vested when you have earned 10 Vesting Credits.
Once you are vested, your accumulated Vesting and Benefit Credits cannot be lost, and you will continue to be a Participant for the rest of your life even if you leave employment covered by the Pension Plan.
Breaks In Service
Note: Breaks In Service may be avoided during periods of excused absences. Contact the Fund Office for more information about excused absences.
One-Year Break in Service
If you are not vested, you will have a One-Year Break in Service if you do not earn at least 150 Hours of Service (one Vesting Credit) in a calendar year. If this happens, you will cease to be a Participant.
As long as you have not had a Permanent Break in Service, you may reestablish your status as a Participant by returning to work for an employer and earning 150 Hours of Service within a calendar year.
Permanent Break in Service
If you have a Permanent Break in Service, all Vesting and Benefit Credits that you earned before the Permanent Break will be permanently lost and cannot be recovered.
If you are not vested and you:
Have at least one Hour of Service after April 1, 1999: You will have a Permanent Break in Service when you have five consecutive One-Year Breaks in Service.
Do not have an Hour of Service on or after April 1, 1999: You will have a Permanent Break in Service when the number of your consecutive One-Year Breaks in Service first equals or exceeds the greater of (a) five, or (b) the number of your years of Vesting Credit accumulated before the first of your consecutive One-Year Breaks in Service.
Different rules applied to service before 1985. Contact the Fund Office for more information.
Separation in Service
Whether or not you are vested, a Separation in Service occurs:
At the end of the second consecutive calendar year in which you fail to earn 150 Hours of Covered Service, unless you qualify for an excused absence, or
When you begin receiving retirement benefits under the Pension Plan.
If you have a Separation in Service anytime before you retire, you may be what is called a Separated Vested Participant. If you are a Separated Vested Participant, or if you become a Separated Vested Participant before you retire, the retirement benefits available if you retire before age 65 will be subject to different and less favorable terms and conditions and some retirement benefit options will not be available.
Be sure you understand the effect that leaving your covered employment may have on your retirement benefits. Contact the Fund Office for more information.
The amount of your pension benefit is calculated based on a formula that includes your number of Benefit Credits.
You earn one Benefit Credit for each calendar year in which you have 1,800 or more Hours of Covered Service.
If you work fewer than 1,800 but more than 150 Hours of Covered Service in a calendar year, you earn partial Benefit Credit for that year.
You cannot earn more than one Benefit Credit in a calendar year.
Contact the Fund Office to request an estimate of the monthly pension benefit you may have earned in the Pension Plan.
The Pension Plan provides the following types of retirement benefits for Plan A-1 Participants:
Normal Retirement Benefit: Your Normal Retirement Benefit is the full monthly pension you have earned under the Pension Plan. This is calculated based on a formula that takes your number of Benefit Credits into account. If you satisfy all other Pension Plan requirements, you can retire and begin receiving this benefit:
- On or after the first of the month following your 60th birthday, if you have earned at least ten Vesting Credits,
- On or after the first of the month following your 65th birthday, if you are vested with at least five (but less than ten) Vesting Credits, or
- If you have fewer than 5 Vesting Credits upon attainment of age 65, on the fifth anniversary of your participation in the Pension Plan, if you are still a Participant at that time.
Early Retirement Benefit: An Early Retirement Benefit is available as early as age 50, if you have earned at least 10 Vesting Credits and satisfy all other Pension Plan requirements. If you retire early and do not qualify for the Rule of 85 Retirement Benefit, your monthly benefit will be less than it would be if you retired with a Normal Retirement Benefit, since your monthly benefit payments are expected to be paid over a longer period.
Rule of 85 Retirement Benefit: If your age and Benefit Credits total 85 or more, you may qualify for the Rule of 85 Retirement Benefit. Under the Rule of 85, your monthly retirement benefit will be calculated the same as if you had retired with a Normal Retirement Benefit at age 60 and there is no reduction for early retirement. If you had a Separation in Service as of December 31, 1994, only Benefit Credits earned after that date qualify for payment under the Rule of 85 (Benefit Credits earned before December 31, 1994 will only be counted to determine if your age and service equal 85).
Disability Retirement Benefit: You will be eligible for a Disability Retirement Benefit if you:
- Are entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits,
- Are not yet eligible for Normal Retirement,
- Have at least 20 Vesting Credits, and
- Have not incurred a Separation in Service as of the calendar year before the calendar year in which your disability began (unless you earn at least one hour of covered service after the Separation in Service and before your disability began).
The Disability Retirement Benefit is 84% of the amount you would receive with a Normal Retirement Benefit.
If you have applied for a Social Security Disability Award, are eligible for Early Retirement and meet the other requirements for Disability Retirement, you may apply for Early Retirement benefits to be paid while you are waiting to receive your Social Security Disability Award. However, your Early Retirement will be converted to a Disability Retirement only if your date of entitlement to Social Security Disability Benefits is no more than six months after your Early Retirement effective date.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR SEPARATED VESTED PARTICIPANTS
If you are a Separated Vested Participant, or if you become a Separated Vested Participant, the retirement options described in this section may be different for you. You’ll find more details here.
When you retire, you may be able to select from any of the following benefit payment options that apply to you:
- Single Life Annuity: If you are not married when you retire, you will receive a monthly pension payment for your lifetime. No benefits are payable after your death. If you are legally married when you retire, the Single Life Annuity is available to you if your spouse consents and both you and your spouse complete the required forms.
- 50% Joint & Survivor Annuity: If you are legally married when you retire, your benefit will be paid as a 50% Joint & Survivor Annuity, unless both you and your spouse specifically reject this form of payment and complete the necessary forms. This annuity gives you monthly payments for the rest of your life. When you die, payments equal to 50% of the payment amount you were receiving will automatically continue to your surviving spouse for his/her life, provided that you have been married for at least one year before your death. In exchange for continuing payments to your spouse, the amount of your own monthly payment is reduced based on the ages of you and your spouse at the time of your retirement.
- 75% Joint & Survivor Annuity: If you are legally married when you retire, you will be entitled to choose a 75% Joint & Survivor Annuity if both you and your spouse complete the necessary forms. This annuity gives you monthly payments for the rest of your life. When you die, payments equal to 75% of the payment amount you were receiving will automatically continue to your surviving spouse for his/her life, provided that you have been married for at least one year before your death. In exchange for continuing payments to your spouse, the amount of your own monthly payment is reduced based on the ages of you and your spouse at the time of your retirement. This option has been available since April 1, 2008 only.
- Lump Sum: If, at the time of your retirement, the actuarial present value of your pension benefit is $5,000 or less, you will receive it as a lump sum payment.
If you are vested, die before retirement, and were legally married throughout the one-year period ending on the date of your death, your surviving spouse will receive lifetime pension payments, beginning no earlier than the date that you would have been eligible to begin receiving an Early or Normal Retirement Benefit. The amount will be 50% of the benefit you would have received had you retired with a 50% Joint & Survivor Annuity on the date that benefits to your surviving spouse begin.
You can request a Retirement Application by calling or visiting the Fund Office or your Union Local. Your Retirement Application must be completed and returned to the Fund Office within 180 days from the date the application is issued, and no later than the end of the month before your desired pension effective date.
The effective date of your pension, also called your Annuity Starting Date, is generally the first of the month after you submit your completed Retirement Application and meet all other requirements to receive a pension benefit, unless you choose a later date. (This does not apply to participants retiring on a disability pension). Because it can take time to process pension applications and issue payment of pension benefits, we encourage you to submit your Retirement Application 60 to 90 days before you want your pension to begin.
In order to receive retirement benefits, you must terminate employment with your contributing employer, unless you have reached your required beginning date (the April 1st of the calendar year following the calendar year in which you attain age 70-1/2).
Your pension benefits may stop, or be “suspended,” during months when you work in Southern California in the same industry and trade or craft covered by the Pension Plan for more than the allowable hours.
The allowable hours vary depending on:
- Whether your benefits were earned before April 1, 2002, or after March 31, 2002,
- Your age, and
- Whether you work for an employer signed to a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Pension Plan’s suspension rules apply both to retirees and to Participants who work after age 65 without retiring under this Plan. Your pension, or part of your pension, will be suspended one month for each month that you work more than the allowable hours, as follows:
- If you are retired, this means you will not receive a pension payment (or part of a pension payment, if applicable) for any month that your pension is suspended, and you will permanently lose the value of that pension payment.
- If you work after age 65 without retiring under this Pension Plan, this means you will permanently lose the pension payments that you would have received if you had retired at age 65 and not worked more than the allowable hours.
Or, as an alternative, instead of suspending your pension for a month, retirees may elect to have their pension reduced by earnings in excess of the allowable hours.
Your pension will not be suspended for any amount or kind of work after April 1st of the calendar year following the year in which you reach age 70-1/2.
Considering a return to work in the industry after you retire? You must notify the Fund Office in writing within 21 days of the date you begin work in the same industry, in the same trade or craft, and in the same geographic area covered by the Plan. Contact the Fund Office with any questions.