Defined Benefit Pension General FAQs

Important Note:
Notwithstanding any information in this FAQ page or embedded links, for retirements that are first in pay status on or after April 1, 2017, certain Defined Benefit Plan provisions are scheduled to change in accordance with the adoption of Alternative Schedules 1 or 2 under the Second Critical Status Rehabilitation Plan.
  1. When can I retire with 100% benefits (no reduction)?

    That depends on how many years you worked under the Plan. You are eligible for a 100% pension at age 55 if you have accrued 10 years of Total Credited Service (at least 2 must be Future Credited Service). You may also be eligible for a full pension prior to age 55, if certain additional conditions are met. See the Pre-55 Retirement BenefitTab. Of course, the 100% pension is subject to reduction if an optional form of payment is elected.
  2. Can I provide for my spouse when I retire? Do I have to?

    Yes and no. There are several different joint annuity options to choose from if you wish to provide benefits to your spouse after your death. An actuarial reduction will be applied to your single-life pension amount if you elect one of these options. If you elect not to provide for your spouse at retirement, spousal consent is required.
  3. How do I request information on my retirement benefit amount?

    You need to make a request for a retirement estimate by calling or writing the Administrative Office. These requests for estimates are handled in the order in which they are received.
  4. What does it take to be eligible for retirement benefits?

    Five (5) years of Vesting Service (including at least one accrued after 6/30/1999) is required to earn a non-forfeitable right to retirement benefits.
  5. What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)?

    It is a court order signed by a judge that assigns a portion or all of your benefit to your spouse, former spouse or children of the marriage. These orders can be submitted to the Plan before or after you have retired.
  6. What happens if I retire before reaching age 55?

    In order to retire before age 55 you must have met the following service requirements: (1) 37,500 Covered Hours-the portion of the benefit earned on or after 7/1/96 will be deferred until age 55; (2) 42,500 Covered Hours with 23 years of 300 hours. Other factors to consider: (1) Effect on the Retiree Health Plan, and (2) Return to work. See the Pre-55 Retirement BenefitTab for more information.
  7. Can I work after I retire? If so, what kind of work can I do?

    Yes, work after retirement is allowed pursuant to Plan guidelines. To protect your benefits refer to the Work Guidelines or contact the Fund Office regarding any prospective employment.

    If you are over age 70 1/2 there are no restrictions on your employment or activity that would result in a suspension of your pension. If you are between the ages of 65 and 70-1/2, your benefit will be suspended if for any month you work over 39 hours in Suspendible Employment within the jurisdiction of the Plan. In general, if you are under age 65, you cannot begin your pension or continue receiving pension benefits from this Plan if you are engaged in any employment or activity described in Article 9.7(a)(1) of the Plan.

  8. Can seniority play a part in determining my pension benefits?

    No, Pension benefits are based solely on the age and service requirements of the Plan.
  9. How is the 25 years computed?

    The 25 years is computed by dividing the number of Total Credited Service by a Credit Service Year (1,500 Covered Hours). See the Vesting/Credits BenefitTab for more information on the various types of Credited Service.

    Example: 37,500 Hours of Total Credited Service divided by 1,500 hours (Credit Service Year) = 25

  10. Why aren't the rules for pension qualification fixed at the time I enter the Plan rather than at the date I retire?

    The Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to run the Trust in a prudent manner and at times are obligated to enact changes that will keep the Plan solvent so that current and future benefits can be protected and provided. You should be aware, however, that the Trustees generally cannot change the Plan to reduce any benefits that you have accrued to date - reductions may only be made to benefits that will be earned in the future.
  11. When did the "Pop-Ups" start? Why it is not automatically assigned?

    Just as the Joint and Survivor Pension Option is like an insurance policy on your life (protecting your spouse's income in the event of your early death), the "pop-up" feature is insurance on your spouse's life, protecting your income should your beneficiary die before you. As with any insurance, there is a cost and your initial benefit level will be lower if the pop-up feature is elected. Since each retiree applicant has different insurance needs depending on their individual economic circumstances, the Trustees have made the pop-up feature an optional election rather than an automatic assignment.
  12. Is the Pension Plan (DB) insured?

    Yes, the DB Plan is insured under the PBGC and subject to limits defined by law. Go to the PBGC website at www.pbgc.gov to learn more.
  13. Are there statistics (mortality tables) just for electricians?

    Factors which may cause deviation from general population mortality rates include: Genetic/Gender makeup, Economic Status, Workplace/Environment/Lifestyle Health and Safety.