Defined Benefit Pension Summary Plan Description

11. What happens to my pension if I die before retirement?

Your surviving Spouse or designated Beneficiaries may qualify for a Pre-Retirement Death Benefit if, on the date of death, you are unretired and:

  • You have five (5) years of Vesting Service; or
  • You have 10 years of Total Credited Service, including at least two (2) years of Future Service Credit; or
  • You have already reached Normal Retirement Age.

Articles 8 of the Plan Document provides a full description of pre-retirement death benefits.

Pre-Retirement Death Benefits for Married Participants: Alternative Schedule

If you meet the eligibility requirements for a Pre-Retirement Death Benefit, your surviving Spouse will be eligible to receive 50% of your Normal Form benefit for life.

If your Spouse dies and you have children under age 21, payments will continue until the youngest child reaches age 21, 50% of your Normal Form benefit will be divided equally among your children who are under age 21. As each child reaches age 21, the same benefit amount will be divided among the remaining children who are under age 21. If fewer than 120 payments are made to your Spouse and your children, the balance of the 120 payments will be paid to your Spouse's designated Beneficiary (or preference Beneficiary under the Plan if no Beneficiary has been designated by your Spouse).

Your surviving Spouse can receive benefits under the Joint and 100% Survivor form if you meet either of the following requirements at the time of your death:

  1. You are eligible for an unreduced Early Retirement Benefit (see Question 5 on page 9); or
  2. You are an Active Participant within 31 days of your proposed annuity starting date and you and your Spouse completed a pension application electing a Joint and 100% Survivor pension.

Note: If eligible, the Joint and 100% Survivor benefit is payable for the lifetime of the surviving Spouse, but the number of payments is not guaranteed. A surviving Spouse eligible for the Joint & 100% Survivor benefit could elect to take the Joint and 50% Survivor benefit, which guarantees at least 120 monthly payments.

For example:

Ted Jones is eligible for an unreduced Early Retirement Benefit and is receiving a benefit calculated under an Alternative Schedule. His accrued benefit under the Normal Form pension is $3,000 per month. Based on his and his wife's ages when he died, her Joint & 100% Survivor benefit would be $2,502 per month, payable for his wife's lifetime.

Her other option would be to take a Joint and 50% Survivor benefit of $1,500 per month, payable for her lifetime with at least 120 payments. If she dies while any of her and Ted's children are still under 21, the children under age 21 will receive $1,500 per month (divided amongst all children under 21) even if Ted's wife had already received more than 120 monthly payments.

Pre-Retirement Death Benefits for Married Participants: Default Schedule

For benefits under the Default Schedule, the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit available is a Joint and 50% Survivor form calculated as though you had lived and retired under the Joint and 50% Survivor form on your next earliest retirement date and died the day after.

Under this benefit, payments will end when your Spouse dies. There is no 120-payment guarantee and no payments continue to your surviving children. Benefits paid under the Default Schedule are not eligible for the Joint & 100% Survivor benefit.

For example:

Ted Jones has $2,500 accrued under the Default Schedule and dies at age 60. Ted's Spouse is age 57. Ted's $2,500 accrued benefit would be actuarially reduced to age 60 under the Default Schedule to the amount of $1,433.25. This amount would then be adjusted to $627.05 per the applicable 50% Joint and Survivor factor for a Participant Age 60 with Spouse age 57 (50% of $1,433.25 x 0.875). The $627.05 benefit would be payable for the rest of the surviving Spouse's life.

Pre-Retirement Death Benefits for Unmarried Participants: Alternative Schedule

For benefits under the Alternative Schedule, if you are an unmarried Active Participant with children under 21, 50% of your Normal Form benefit will be divided equally among your children. As each child reaches age 21, the same benefit amount will be divided among the remaining children under age 21. A total of 120 payments (10 years) are guaranteed.

If you do not have children under age 21, or if your children all reach 21 before 120 payments are made, the balance of the 120 payments will be paid to your designated Beneficiary.

Pre-Retirement Death Benefits for Unmarried Participants: Default Schedule

For benefits earned under the Default Schedule, no Pre-Retirement Death Benefits are payable for unmarried Participants.