- If you retire with a Joint & Survivor Pension, the Plan will pay your spouse a Survivor(s) benefit beginning upon your death.
- The Plan provides a pre-retirement surviving spouse benefit if you die before beginning your pension.
- The Plan provides a Death Benefit for your designated beneficiary in the event of your death before or after retirement.
The primary purpose of the Pension Plan is to provide you with income during retirement. However, the Plan also may provide some financial security to your spouse or beneficiary after you die.
Your age and vesting status at the time of your death determine which type of benefit your spouse or other beneficiary (if you are not married) will receive.
Only one type of survivor(s) benefit will be paid. Benefits of $5,000 or less will be paid in a lump sum.
Prior to Vesting—Lump Sum Death Benefit
If you die as an active employee and have less than five Years of Vesting Service, your beneficiary will receive a Lump Sum Death Benefit. This benefit will be equal to $500 times the number of Benefit Units you earned, up to a maximum of $5,000.
Survivor(s) Benefits Before Retirement
If you are vested and die before retirement, whether or not you are married, your surviving spouse or beneficiary can choose to receive either the Lump Sum Death Benefit described above or the Five-Year Survivor Pension described below. Further, if you are married as of your death, your surviving spouse also may choose to receive a survivor(s) benefit in the form of the spouse’s share under the Joint & Survivor Pension.
Five Year Survivor Pension. This benefit is equal to your accrued pension as of your death, unreduced because of your age, and payable for five years (60 months). Alternatively, this benefit can be paid as a lump sum payment equal to the present value of the 60 monthly payments, and will be calculated by multiplying the amount of your monthly pension by 60 payments times a factor to account for the fact that your survivor(s) will be receiving the payments immediately, rather than over time.
Joint & Survivor Pension. This benefit is equal to the amount that your surviving spouse would have received under the Joint & Survivor Pension if you had retired immediately prior to your death and elected to receive the Joint & Survivor Pension form, as described herein. Your age at death will determine the amount of the reduction for early commencement and also when the monthly payments begin to your surviving spouse.
The following chart illustrates the date on which your spouse may begin receiving a Joint & Survivor Pension benefit if you die before retirement, and what factors will be used to calculate the amount of your spouse’s benefit:
|Participant’s Age at Date|
|Age Factor from Early|
|Spouse May Begin
|At least 55||Based on age at death||First day of the month after the date of death|
|At least 45, but less than 55||Factor at age 55||First day of the month after the date of death|
|Less than 45||Factor at age 55||First day of the month after
participant would have reached age 45
To summarize, if you are vested and not married, your beneficiary may choose to receive the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit either as the Lump Sum Death Benefit or as the Five Year Survivor Pension. If you are vested and married, your surviving spouse may choose to receive the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit either as the Lump Sum Death Benefit, the Five Year Survivor Pension, or the spouse’s share under the Joint & Survivor Pension.
EXAMPLES OF PRE-RETIREMENT DEATH BENEFIT
Jim earned 20 years of Vesting Service and 20 Benefit Units. In 2022, Jim passed away at age 48. Based on a rate of $95.00, his unreduced accrued pension at his death is $1,900.00 per month.
If Jim is married, his surviving spouse can also choose the spouse’s share under the Joint & Survivor Pension. If Jim’s surviving spouse is also age 48, then his spouse is eligible to choose:
Survivor(s) Benefits After Retirement
If you die after you begin receiving your pension benefits, your eligible spouse may receive a monthly pension, depending on the form of payment you elected. If you are receiving the Joint & Survivor Pension, and retired after 1997, your spouse will receive 80% of your monthly pension after your death for the rest of his or her life. If you are receiving a QOSA form as of your death, your spouse will receive either 50% or 75% of your monthly pension for the rest of his or her life, depending on which QOSA option you selected. If you are receiving the 50% QOSA form as of your death, your spouse will receive 50% of your monthly pension for the rest of his or her life. If you and your spouse voluntarily chose the 60 Month Guaranteed Pension, your spouse will receive payments for the balance of the 60-month period if you die before receiving 60 monthly payments. The different forms of payment are more fully described in the Forms of Payment section of this SPD.
If you are not married and you die before you have received 60 monthly payments, the remainder of those 60 payments will be paid to your properly designated beneficiary. These benefits may be paid as a single lump sum.
If you are married, your spouse automatically is your beneficiary unless you and your spouse both agree to name a different beneficiary. In order for you to be able to designate a beneficiary other than your spouse to receive any available death benefit, your spouse must voluntarily agree to such designation and must complete the necessary waiver forms in the presence of a Notary Public. In the event of your spouse’s death, you should contact the Fund Office to update your beneficiary information.
You may designate anyone you choose as your beneficiary, using the Fund’s beneficiary election form. The Fund will pay any available death benefits to the beneficiary on file with the Fund office at the time of your death.
A beneficiary also may be designated in an order that has been entered by a court, provided that such order contains a clear designation of rights and is presented to the Fund before any payment is made to another person whom you designated as your beneficiary. A beneficiary designation made pursuant to a court order meeting the above requirements will supersede any prior or subsequent conflicting beneficiary designation that is filed with the Fund.
A beneficiary may waive his or her rights as a beneficiary under the Plan in an order that has been entered by a court, provided that such order contains a clear and unequivocal waiver of the beneficiary’s rights and is presented to the Fund before payment is made to the beneficiary. A waiver in a court order meeting the above requirements will supersede any prior conflicting beneficiary designation that has been filed with the Fund. If a court order meeting the above requirements contains a waiver of rights by the beneficiary on file with the Fund Office, and you subsequently die without naming a new beneficiary, any benefits payable on your behalf will be paid pursuant to the Plan as though you died without designating a beneficiary.
The Trustees will be the sole judges of the effectiveness of the designation, change, or waiver of a beneficiary under the Plan.
If No Beneficiary Was Designated
If you do not designate a beneficiary or your designated beneficiary predeceases you, the following people will be deemed to be your beneficiary(ies) in the order named:
- Your surviving spouse, if any;
- Your designated beneficiary for your Individual Account Plan, if any;
- Your designated beneficiary for the Electrical Welfare Trust Fund, if any;
- Your surviving child(ren), in equal shares;
- Your surviving natural parent(s), in equal shares;
- Your estate, care of the personal representative of such estate.
NOTE: If you designate a minor (under legal age) person as your beneficiary, you should also designate a custodian to receive payment on behalf of the minor. If you do not designate a custodian, it could delay processing of a benefit distribution.
Effect of Divorce on Beneficiary Designation
If you previously designated your spouse as your beneficiary and you are subsequently divorced, the Fund will treat your beneficiary designation as void unless you specifically notify the Trustees that you want the beneficiary designation to remain in place.
Rollover of Distribution to Survivors
If your beneficiary receives a benefit distribution following your death, he or she may roll over any part of the distribution in a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer to another qualified pension plan or an individual retirement plan (IRA) that accepts rollovers. If the transfer is not direct, there may be significant tax penalties to the recipient.
If your beneficiary is your spouse, such rollovers are also permitted to Roth IRAs under certain conditions. Your spouse is responsible for any tax consequences resulting from this rollover.