Applying for Your Pension
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  • All applications for benefits must be in writing.
  • You should contact the Fund Office for the proper forms to apply for your pension benefit 90 days before you would like to retire.
  • If married, you may reject or change the form of payment you elect at any time within the 90-day period prior to your retirement, subject to spousal consent, if applicable.
  • Once you retire, you generally cannot change your form of payment.

In order to begin collecting benefits under the Plan, you must submit a written application to the Board of Trustees. This application will be available for completion electronically through the Fund’s online portal.

You should file an application for benefits no more than 90, and no less than 30, days before the date you want payments to begin. The Fund Office will act on your application and notify you of any Plan benefits you may be entitled, as soon as possible and typically within 30 days of the date your application is received. If, however, special circumstances require an extension of time for processing your application, you will be notified in writing within 90 days of the Fund receiving your application as to the nature of the special circumstances and the date the Fund Office expects to render its decision. (See the “Claims and Appeals” section of this SPD for more information.)

If you are married and want to elect an optional form of payment described in the Forms of Payment section of this SPD, you must return the appropriate waiver and election forms, along with the notarized spousal consent form (if applicable) 90 days prior to your benefits starting date.

Married Participants

If you are married when you apply for your Pension Plan benefit, you and your spouse have a 90-day period to reject the Joint & Survivor Pension and elect the Lifetime Pension with 60 Months Guaranteed or Qualified Optional Alternative Pension (QOSA) form of payment as described in the Forms of Payment section of this SPD. In order to reject the Joint & Survivor Pension form, you must return the waiver and election forms, along with the notarized spousal consent form (if applicable) prior to your benefits starting date. During this period, you may also revoke a rejection of the Joint & Survivor Pension Form at any time up to the date your benefits are scheduled to commence. Note that once a Joint & Survivor Pension becomes payable, it cannot be revoked, even if you later get divorced.

When Your Payments Begin

Generally, your pension payment will begin on the first day of the first month after you have met all the requirements of the Plan for being entitled to and receiving benefits. These requirements include filing a pension application in advance of the date you want your pension payments to begin. Except in certain very limited circumstances (see “Required Minimum Distribution” section below), your pension payments cannot begin before you stop working. Also, except for the Disability Pension and the Plan’s death benefits, no benefits will be payable for any period before the first day of the month after you file your application with the Fund Office, unless you have attained your required minimum distribution date.

If you retire and do not file your application for benefits within 60 days after the later
of your normal retirement age or the date on which you stop working, your benefits
will be actuarially increased for each month from the date which is 60 days after the later of:

  •  your normal retirement age, or
  • the date on which you stop working.

Required Minimum Distribution

Effective January 1, 2021, your benefits must begin no later than April 1 of the calendar year following the calendar year that you attain age 72, or, if later, the year in which you retire. 

However, if you have not yet retired when you reach age 70 1/2 and you would like to commence your pension benefit while you are still working, you may make an Age
70 1/2 Election, on a form provided by the Fund office. If you make this Election, your pension will begin April 1 of the calendar year following the year in which you attained 70 ½, even though you have not yet retired.

Preparing for Retirement

If retirement is in your near future, it is important to allow enough time to make informed decisions about your benefits. The basic checklist below will assist you in making a smooth transition to retirement. Remember, it is your responsibility to apply for Plan benefits.

Twelve Months or More Prior to RetirementSix Months Prior to Retirement90 days Prior to
■ Contact the Social Security Administration to determine what your options are for benefits. Ask them what documents you will need when applying for Social Security benefits.
■ Contact the Fund office for an estimate of your retirement benefit.
■ Prepare a preliminary retirement budget, comparing your expenses against the total of your Local No. 26 Pension Fund retirement benefit, monthly Social Security benefit, and any other retirement income that may be available to you.*
■ Discuss your estimated benefit and payment options with your family and financial advisor.
■ Re-evaluate the preliminary budget you created six months earlier.
■ Complete the appropriate pension application and supporting documentation in the Fund office.
■ Turn in your application. Your pension application must be dated and received by the Fund office no more than 90 days but at least 30 days prior to your pension start date, otherwise, payments will be delayed.
■ Plan your retirement party!

* this may include additional IBEW funds.


If the Fund pays benefits to which you, your spouse, alternate payee, or beneficiary are not entitled (called “Overpayments”), the Fund has the right to recover such benefits. The Fund may recover these benefits by offsetting future benefits otherwise payable by the Fund to you, your spouse, your alternate payee, or your beneficiary, including uninsured death benefits. For example, if you received the Overpayment as the Fund participant, the Fund may offset the future benefits payable by the Fund to you and to your spouse or beneficiary after your death. If the Fund made the Overpayment to your ex-spouse under a QDRO, the Fund may recover the Overpayment from you and/or your ex-spouse.

If the Fund offsets benefits, the Fund may offset 100% of the first benefit payment, and 25% of all benefit payments thereafter, until the Overpayment has been recovered in full. If you die before the Fund recoups the full amount of the Overpayment, then the Fund will deduct the remaining amount of the overpayment from any uninsured Death Benefit or Joint & Survivor Benefit otherwise payable to your spouse or beneficiary.

For death benefits payable as a lump sum, the Fund may deduct up to 100% of the benefit. For death benefits paid other than in a lump sum, such as a joint and survivor annuity, the Fund may deduct 25% of the benefit payment. You (or the person whose benefits are offset) have the right to appeal the offset of benefits, as described in the Claims and Appeals Section of this SPD. 

The Fund has a constructive trust, lien and/or an equitable lien by agreement in favor of the Fund on any Overpayment, including amounts held by a third party, such as an attorney. Any such amount will be deemed to be held in trust by you, your spouse, alternate payee, beneficiary, or third party for the benefit of the Fund until paid to the Fund. By accepting benefits from the Fund, you, your spouse, alternate payee, and beneficiary agree that a constructive trust, lien, and/or equitable lien by agreement in favor of the Fund exists with regard to any Overpayment. You, your spouse, alternate payee, and beneficiary agree to cooperate with the Fund by reimbursing all amounts due and agree to be liable to the Fund for all of its costs and expenses, including attorneys’ fees and costs, related to the collection of any Overpayment and agree to pay interest at the rate determined by the Trustees from time to time from the date of the Overpayment through the date that the Fund is paid the full amount owed. 

Any refusal by you, your spouse, the alternate payee, or beneficiary to reimburse the Fund for an overpaid amount will be considered a breach of the agreement. The Fund will provide the benefits available under the Plan and those persons will comply with the rules of the Fund. By accepting benefits from the Fund, you, your spouse, alternate payee, or beneficiary agree to waive any defenses available regarding the Fund’s ability to recover overpaid amounts or amounts due under any other rule of the Plan, including but not limited to a statute of limitations defense or a preemption defense, to the extent permissible under applicable law. The Fund has the right to file suit to collect an Overpayment in any state or federal court that has jurisdiction over the Fund’s claim.