Pre-Retirement Planning Corner
Periodically, we will feature new articles or articles previously printed in the Mid-America Gazette. These articles will focus on information you will need in planning for your retirement. If you would like to have an issue addressed, please contact Joseph J. Burke, Administrator at the Fund office.
APPLYING FOR A PENSION
By Sherry L. Jackson, Pension Processor
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Applying for your pension from the Iron Workers Mid-America Pension Fund is a milestone in your life.Because of its importance, we ask that you take the following steps in applying for a pension benefit.Call or write the Fund office for a pension application. The application will ask for information, including the following:
- Personal information including your and your spouse’s Social Security numbers, birth dates, marriage date(s), and if applicable, divorce information.
- Your last work hours, and the contractor you last worked for; and the date you plan to retire (the first of the month in which you have no work hours or the first of the month following the mailing of your application).
- The date when you joined the Iron Workers Union and information if you worked out of the Iron Workers Mid-America Pension Fund jurisdiction (dates and local unions).
- You will need to provide copies of your and your spouse’s birth certificates, marriage certificate and divorce decree, marital settlement agreement, and Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
- If you wish to come into the Fund office to discuss your pension benefits, please call to make an appointment. This way, we will have your information ready when you arrive.
After we receive your pension application and your benefits have been received from the contractor that you last worked for, we will prepare your options for you. This information includes the types of pension which you are eligible for and the monthly benefit amount that you will receive. If you are married, we will provide husband and wife options for you and your spouse to consider.
TIPS WHEN APPLYING FOR A PENSION
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Certain non-work periods may earn pension credits. You may earn pension credits if you:
1.) Received workers compensation benefits as the result of a disability related to an injury on-the-job while working as an ironworker. The Fund office needs information regarding workers compensation injuries (include specific dates of injury and proof of payment during these times, such as the first and last pay stubs of your workers compensation checks or your settlement agreement). We cannot award workers compensation pension credit without this information. You may be credited with 25 hours per week to a maximum of ½ pension credit per year for up to five years, to a maximum of 2½ pension credits during your employment.
2.) Received accident and sickness benefits from the Tri-State Welfare Fund or other welfare funds of unions that participate in this Pension Fund. You may be credited with 25 hours per week, up to a maximum of ½ pension credit during the period you are receiving disability benefits up to a maximum of ½ pension credit during your employment. We cannot award disability credit without specific dates of injury and proof of payment during these times, such as the first and last pay stub of your disability checks.
3.) Served in the United States Armed Forces: Military service credit may be added. You may earn pension credits for up to five years. In order to be eligible for pension credits, you must enter Qualified Military Service before incurring a One-Year-Break-in-Service. To be considered “qualified military service”, you must have worked as an iron worker at least one hour in the ninety (90) days before you entered into military service and return to iron work within ninety (90) days of discharge and comply with all of the applicable requirements of the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). We are unable to award military credit without a copy of the DD-214.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Pension Department at the Fund office. We are here to help you.
PERCENT OF CONTRIBUTION BENEFIT
How it Can Work for You
By: Laurel L. Gillund, Senior Pension Processor
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In 1999, the Trustees of the Iron Workers' Mid-America Pension Fund authorized the offering of a "Percent of Contribution Benefit." The benefit began with many Local Unions electing to contribute from $.25 to $1.00 per hour. Since the introduction of this benefit, some of the Local Unions are now contributing up to $4.50 per hour to the Percent of Contribution (POC) Benefit.
The Pension Department often receives telephone calls asking how the POC benefit works. Let's assume that your Local Union contributes $2.50 per hour to the Percent of Contribution Benefit, and that you work 1,800 hours times the contribution rate of $2.50 times 2.75%, which equals $123.75. The $123.75 benefit is a monthly benefit in addition to your other Iron Workers Mid-America pension benefit(s) that you may qualify for under the Earned When Paid (EWP) Benefit (up to $37 per month per EWP pension credit) and the base pension benefit accrual (up to $49 per month per pension credit). Your pension would be calculated as follows:
+$49.00 (base pension)
$209.75 Per Month
Let's then assume that you work 15 years at the estimated 1,800 hours. Your pension benefit would be calculated at $209.75 x 15 = $3,146.25 per month. You would receive $3,146.50 (rounded up) per month for your lifetime at your regular retirement age of 62. If you retire earlier, your pension would be reduced by the appropriate percentage for your age at retirement. If you are married, you will also be given the option to receive a reduced monthly benefit in order to provide your surviving spouse a monthly benefit after your death. The 50%, 75%, and 100% Husband-and-Wife benefit provides a benefit (50%, 75%, or 100% of your monthly benefit) to your surviving spouse for their lifetime after your death.
The Percent of Contribution Benefit gives you credit for every hour that you work. By working additional hours, your monthly pension benefit increases based on your hours worked and your contributions.
For information concerning the Percent of Contribution Benefit, or your monthly pension benefit, feel free to call our Pension Department at the Fund Office.