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Protecting Your Future / While you Build ours
Protecting Your Future / While you Build ours
Protecting Your Future / While you Build ours
Protecting Your Future / While you Build ourse
Protecting Your Future / While you Build ours
Protecting Your Future / While you Build ours

Pension Fund Homepage

Entitlement to Benefits

Who Is Entitled to Benefits?

You are entitled to a full Regular Pension if you are vested and at least 60 years old.

If you are vested with 10 years of service, you can elect to receive a reduced Early Pension payable after attaining age 55. The amount of your Early Pension will be your Regular Pension reduced by 1/2 of 1% for each month you are younger than the age of 60.

If you stop working in Covered Employment after you are vested, but before you reach age 55, you will still be entitled to receive a Regular Pension benefit under the Plan at age 60 or an Early Pension at age 55, as previously discussed.

If you are vested with 5 to 9 years of credited service, you are not eligible for an Early Pension benefit.

In addition, even if you have not become vested under the Plan, when you reach your Normal Retirement Date, you may become entitled to a benefit under the Plan, based on the Years of Service then credited to you, if you have not incurred a Permanent Break in Service and you are still actively engaged in Covered Employment on your Normal Retirement Date.

Your "Normal Retirement Date" is your 65th birthday or, if later, your age on the 5th anniversary of your Plan entry date, if you have not incurred a Break in Service on such date.

What Happens If I Become Disabled?

If you become disabled before you reach age 60, but after becoming vested and completing 5 Years of Service, you will qualify for a Disability Pension if you have been awarded Social Security disability benefits. You are entitled to a Disability Pension only while you continue to receive Social Security disability benefits, so you must notify the Fund Office if such benefits stop. During any time you are receiving a Disability Pension, the Trustees may require evidence of your continued disability.

Your basic Disability Pension will be calculated as though you are age 60, effective with the date of your Social Security award.  

The effective date of your Disability Pension will generally be the effective date of your Social Security disability award, but it cannot be more than 1 year before your application date unless you apply for your Disability Pension within 90 days of the date the Social Security Administration makes a final determination with respect to your claim for disability benefits. If you do not make timely application, you must prove to the Trustees’ satisfaction that you could not apply because your disability prevented you from doing so.

What Happens If I Am Denied SSA Disability Benefits? What Is A Partial Disability?

While Social Security Administration may acknowledge your disability, you may not qualify for SSA disability benefits under their rules.

If you are denied Social Security Disability benefits, you may still be eligible for a Disability pension from the Pension Fund due to a partial disability provided that you are vested in the Pension Plan and you are under the age of 60. To apply for such benefits, you must provide the Pension Fund with a copy of the SSA Notice of Decision denying disability benefits which will be reviewed on an individual basis. To be eligible, you must not have any earned income for any period for which you claim disability benefits. You will be required to submit annual federal tax returns and related W-2’s to the Pension Fund. In addition, you may be asked to be examined by a physician appointed by the Plan.

The effective date of your disability pension benefit will be the first of the month following the date your disability has been established. You may be eligible for a partial disability pension retroactively if the Social Security certificate establishing your partial disability is dated January 1, 1998 or after.

Please note that the Single Sum payment option is not available if you apply for a disability pension based on partial disability.

Economic Expedient

In some cases, the Social Security Administration takes a long time to make a final determination on a claim for disability benefits. If you are between the ages of 55 and 59 when you become disabled and are vested with at least 10 years of service, you may apply for an Early Pension during the delay period as an "economic expedient". The Fund Office will adjust your Early Pension to the full disability amount if and when the Social Security Administration approves your disability claim. If your disability claim is not approved by Social Security Administration, your pension benefit will remain at the amount of the Early Pension and you will be considered retired for all Plan purposes.

Conversion to Regular Pension

When a Disability Pensioner reaches age 65, he will be converted to a Regular Pension. At that time, the participant will be entitled to elect any of the forms of payment available under the Plan, provided that, Years of Service for which the Disability Pensioner received a single sum payment will be disregarded.

If you are no longer entitled to SSA Disability benefits, your disability pension with the Steamfitters’ Pension Fund will also cease. Your disability pension is considered an ancillary benefit and if you recover from your disability, disability pension payments stop and you will be able to apply for a new pension benefit as though you never retired when you actually reach your normal or early retirement age.

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