Application for Pension Benefits:
A completed application for pension benefits should be
submitted to the Fund Office at least 30 days, but no more
than 90 days, before the date you wish your benefits to
begin. It is your obligation to contact the Fund Office and
apply for your benefit well in advance of the date you want
your payments to begin. No benefit will be paid until the
Fund Office receives a duly executed, complete application
for it. We urge you to come into the Fund Office for general
information and an estimate of your benefits as early as
possible before your planned retirement date.
All claims for benefits under the Plan must be made in
writing and directed to the Plan Administrator. You will
receive a response to your claim within 90 days of the
Planís receipt of it. If your claim for benefits is denied,
the Plan Administrator will write you, stating the reasons
for such denial, identifying the Plan provisions upon which
the denial is based, and including a statement of any
requirements which you must meet in order to have your claim
approved. You may request a review of such a denial by
writing to the Trustees no later than 60 days after you
receive notice of the denial of your claim. As part of the
review process, you may submit to the Trustees any
information you feel is relevant, and you or your
representative will be given reasonable opportunity to
review relevant documents and submit written comments. The
Trustees will make their decision at the first meeting which
is at least 30 days after the Plan receives your request for
review. Under special circumstances, the Trustees may have
to defer their decision for one additional meeting, but you
will be informed promptly if this is necessary in your case.
You are not allowed to sign over or alienate your Plan
benefits to any other person in any way. However, if the
Plan receives a domestic relations court order which meets
certain technical requirements prescribed by Federal law, it
will be required to pay the person designated in the order
the amount of your benefit specified by the court. If you
know of a court order that may affect your Plan benefit, you
should contact the Fund Office immediately so that all legal
requirements can be met. Also, if the Plan receives a
Federal tax levy on your account, it may be required to pay
all or part of your benefit to the Internal Revenue Service
pursuant to the levy.
Contributions to the Plan:
The total costs and expenses associated with the Plan are
paid from the Steamfittersí Industry Pension Fund. The
contributions to the Steamfittersí Industry Pension Fund are
made in accordance with collective bargaining agreements
between the Union and the Employers or other agreements with
the Plan. Plan benefits are based on an actuarial evaluation
of the benefits which can be provided by the agreed-upon
Plan assets are held in trust and invested by a corporate
trustee and investment managers which are selected by the
State Street is the Planís corporate trustee.
The Planís investment managers are Shields-Alliance, a
Division of Alliance Capital Management L.P., StoneRidge
Investment Partners LLC, The Union Labor Life Insurance,
Company, Robert E. Torray & Co. Inc., Enhanced Investment
Technologies, LLC (INTECH), Trevor Stewart Burton & Jacobsen
Inc. and J. & W. Seligman & Co.
At present, the Plan buys the monthly benefits which
become payable to each Employee Participant, except
Disability Pensioners, under a group annuity contract with
the Travelers Insurance Company.
Plan Termination Insurance:
Certain benefits to which you are entitled under the Plan
are insured by the U.S. Governmentís Pension Benefit
Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
Generally, PBGC guarantees most vested normal retirement
age benefits, early retirement benefits, and certain
disability and survivor pensions. However, the PBGC does not
guaranty all types of benefits under covered plans, and the
amount of benefit protection is subject to significant
limitations. (The amount of your pension that is guaranteed
depends on your Years of Service and your monthly benefit
under the Plan.) Also, a benefit increase may be fully
guaranteed only after it has been in effect for 5 years. For
more information on the PBGC insurance protection and its
limitations, contact the Fund Office or the PBGC. Inquiries
to the PBGC should be addressed to the Public Affairs
Director, PBGC, 2020 K Street, N. W. Washington, D.C. 20006.
The PBGCís Office of Communications may also be reached by
Termination of Plan:
The Trustees intend to continue the Plan indefinitely but
reserve the right to terminate it if necessary. If the Plan
should be terminated, it will not affect your right to any
Regular or Early Pension benefit already in pay status (i.e.
If the Plan is terminated, you will be entitled to any
benefit you have accrued to the extent then funded.
- Plan assets will be allocated to benefit categories in a
particular order. Beginning with the benefit category that
has the first claim on Plan assets, payments will be made
for: benefits for retirees or beneficiaries (for whom
annuities have not been purchased from Travelers) that
are or could be on the pension rolls at the beginning of
the 3-year period ending with the Planís termination
date at the lowest benefit level in effect during the 5
year period ending with the Planís termination date:
- benefits generally guaranteed by the Pension Benefit
Guaranty Corporation (PBGC);
- benefits that are non-forfeitable (vested) under the
Plan, but not guaranteed by the PBGC;
- all other benefits under the Plan.
Assets will be allocated to the categories in the order
indicated until assets run out.
Any remaining balance, after providing payments for the
benefit categories listed above, will be applied in
accordance with the Plan Provisions.
Certain benefits under the Plan are insured by the PBGC.
You should review the section above for their coverage.
Under the law, the Plan cannot pay an annual life annuity
benefit in excess of $135,000 (as adjusted each year for the
cost of living) beginning when the Employee would be
entitled to full Social Security benefits. If benefits are
paid earlier, say in the case of an Early Pension, the
$135,000 amount is actuarially adjusted. This limit refers
to the total of monthly benefits paid; single sum benefit
cannot exceed the actuarial equivalent of the maximum
permissible life annuity. These limitations are very
unlikely to affect any Plan participant, but if for any
reason you would be affected, the Fund Office will contact
Also, if 60% of the Planís accumulated benefits were to
be earned by a group of "key" employees (generally officers,
shareholders and highly compensated employees of an
Employer), the Plan would become subject to certain
accelerated vesting and minimum benefit rules. It is highly
unlikely that these rules could ever affect the Plan, but
should this ever change, affected participants will be
notified by the Fund Office.
The Plan is operated and controlled by a Joint Board of
Trustees, consisting of representatives of the Union and the
Employers. The Trustees are responsible for interpreting the
Plan, amending its provisions when they consider amendments
appropriate, and establishing whatever rules regarding the
Planís operation they may think are needed. They have full
discretion in performing these and all their administrative
and trustee functions.
The Trustees have appointed an Executive Administrator to
be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Plan. It
is the Executive Administrator who maintains Plan records,
arranges for benefit payments to commence and assists each
Plan participant in understanding the Plan. If you have any
questions about the Plan, the Executive Administrator and
the Fund Office staff will be glad to assist you.
This is your Pension Plan. You are encouraged to contact
the Executive Administrator, or the Fund Office, with any
questions you may have regarding benefits available to you
and/or your beneficiaries.