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 Ž 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
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
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
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. However, if you elect the single sum
payment option, the amount of your benefit will reflect an
actuarial reduction for your actual age, rather than for age
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
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.