Defined Benefit Pension Summary Plan Description

5. How do I commence benefits and when may I commence them?

If certain Plan requirements are met, you may be eligible to receive an Early Retirement Benefit or retire at Normal Retirement Age. Question 7 on page 14 summarizes how your pension is affected when you receive an Early Retirement Benefit.

Submitting a completed application
To commence receipt of any benefits you must file an application with the Fund Office and submit all required information related to the application. Under the Plan, failure to submit an application is an election to defer commencement of benefits to a later date. Applications are available upon request from the Fund Office or on-line at the Trust Funds website at www.scibew-neca.org.

As a vested individual not already receiving a pension approaches their Normal Retirement Age, the Fund Office shall annually mail to the last known mailing address of the individual an application. It is extremely important to advise the Fund Office of changes in your mailing address in order to assure you receive such an application.

The only exception to the application process is in terms of Vested Participants who are not engaged in Covered Employment and have attained their required distribution date, April 1 of the calendar year following the calendar year the individuals attained age 70 ½. Assuming the Fund Offices can locate such an individual, benefits will be commenced to the individual in accord with applicable Treasury Regulations.

Early Retirement Eligibility

  1. You are eligible for an Early Retirement Benefit at age 55 if you have accrued 10 years of Total Credited Service (15,000 Covered Hours), including at least two (2) years of Future Credited Service (3,000 Hours).
  2. For benefits first in pay status on or after April 1, 2017, you can retire at any age after you have accrued at least 37,500 Covered Hours.
  3. For benefits first in pay status prior to April 1, 2017 and if you entered the Plan on or before June 30, 1996:
    1. You can retire prior to age 55 after you have accrued at least:
      1. 42,500 Covered Hours (this requirement is reduced by 375 hours for each quarter of Past Service Credit you have earned); and
      2. 23 combined years of credit, based on the number of years of Credited Service accrued through June 30, 1996, plus the number of years of at least 300 hours for Plan years on and after July 1, 1996.
    2. You can retire prior to age 55 after you have accrued at least 37,500 Covered Hours. However, if you do not meet the 42,500-hour requirement, as described in (i) above, the portion of the benefit accrued in the Plan on or before June 30, 1996, would be payable immediately and the portion of the benefit accrued after June 30, 1996, would be deferred until age 55.

Work in Non-Covered Electrical Employment after working in covered employment will cause a suspension of the portion of your Early Retirement Benefit accrued on or after October 1, 1987. This portion of your benefit will be suspended until you attain age 65. Please refer to Question 14 on page 25 for a description of Non-Covered Electrical Employment and how it impacts your right to an Early Retirement Benefit.

Severing Employment

To begin pension benefits prior to Normal Retirement Age, you must truly retire. This requires you to end all employment with all contributing Employers. Once you reach Normal Retirement Age, you do not have to end employment with all contributing Employers to be eligible to retire. However, your benefits may be subject to suspension (see Question 15 on page 26 for more information).

Normal Retirement Eligibility

You are eligible for Normal Retirement after you have reached the later of:

  1. Age 65; or
  2. The 5th anniversary of the date you began covered employment.

Completing an Application

To begin benefits, you must complete an application. In some situations, retroactive benefits will be paid for up to one (1) year prior to the date of the application. Please refer to Article 3 of the Plan Document for further details on retirement dates.

If you have reached your Mandatory Commencement Date (April 1 of the Calendar Year following the year in which you reach age 70½), you may begin receiving retirement benefits, even if you are working for contributing Employers. However, you may elect to defer receipt of those benefits if you are still working for contributing employers to the Pension Plan.

The following are common examples which illustrate whether you would be eligible to begin receiving pension benefits based on your employment status.

Example Eligible To Begin Benefits?
Bill works for a contributing Employer as an inside wireman. The same Employer offers Bill a non-bargaining unit job, which he accepts. No. Bill has not severed employment with all contributing Employers and cannot begin receiving benefits prior to Normal Retirement Age (age 65).
Bill worked for contributing Employer "A" and then accepts a job with contributing Employer "B." The job with Employer "B" does not result in contributions to the Plan. No. Bill has not severed employment with all contributing Employers and cannot begin receiving benefits prior to Normal Retirement Age (age 65).
Bill terminates his employment with contributing Employer "A" and files an application for benefits. Prior to receipt of his first pension check, Bill accepts a job with contributing Employer "B." No. Bill has not severed employment with all contributing Employers and cannot begin receiving benefits prior to Normal Retirement Age (age 65).
Bill terminates employment with a contributing Employer and files a pension application. Bill receives and cashes his first pension check and then accepts a job offer and returns to work. Yes. Bill has properly severed his employment. However, his return to work may result in a suspension of his benefits (see Question 15 on page 26 for more information on suspension of benefits).
Bill terminates employment with a contributing Employer and takes a job as a Real Estate Agent. When he attains the age at which he can commence Early Retirement Benefits, he files a pension application. Yes. Bill is viewed as having severed employment with all contributing Employers under the Plan and can elect to commence receipt of his Early Retirement Benefit.