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Pension Plan / FAQs

What happens if I am divorced? Can my ex-spouse claim a portion of my pension?

The Retirement Equity Act of 1984 allows a participant’s pension to be viewed as marital property. Under this federal law, an Alternate Payee (former spouse) can be awarded a stated portion of the Participant’s Pension by a court order that meets the requirements of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). If you are divorced and your Pension is determined to be marital property, a QDRO can be issued by the court. A QDRO Checklist and sample QDROs are available from the Pension Office (at no charge) and are also available on the carpdc website.

QDRO Checklist and Samples.

What happens if I die without having a designated pension beneficiary?

If you are married for at least one year at the time of your death, your death benefit, if any, is payable to your spouse. If you’re married and die less than one year after the date of marriage, your death benefit is payable to your spouse unless you designated a different beneficiary after your marriage. If you are not married, then the beneficiary designation you made under this Plan (or, if there is no such designation, the most recent beneficiary designation in effect under the Carpenters’ Health and Welfare Trust Fund) will determine who gets your death benefit from the Pension Plan. If no beneficiary has been named at all, then the beneficiary shall be your surviving spouse, or if none, your living descendants (on a “per stirpes” basis), or if there are none, your estate.

A special rule applies if your most recently designated beneficiary at the time of your death is a former spouse, where the divorce occurred after the beneficiary designation was made. Your former spouse will not be treated as your designated beneficiary; your beneficiary will be determined as if your former spouse died before you did.

More information can be found online in the Pension Summary Plan Description.

How do I designate a pension beneficiary?

If you are married, your beneficiary is your spouse, unless you are married for less than one year at the time of your death and you designated a different beneficiary after your marriage.

If you are not married or have been married for less than one year, you will need to complete a Pension Beneficiary Designation/Change Form. There are two forms to select from based on your Pension status:

What is Normal Retirement Age and can I start receiving my pension benefits before that?

The Normal Retirement Date for active participants is the first of the month coinciding with or following your 62nd birthday. If you have earned at least 10 years of Credited Service, you are eligible to draw an Early Pension effective the first of the month coinciding with or following your 55th birthday. You may retire early by completing the necessary paperwork and submitting the required documentation. Your benefits may be reduced since they start before your Normal Retirement Date. The reduction, if any, depends on your age, the amount of Credited Service you have and your active status at retirement.

Am I required to stop working if I start my pension?

Not necessarily. Effective July 1, 2013, when you start an Early Retirement Benefit, you need to stop working in order to receive full benefit immediately if you earned pension credit after this date. This rule does not apply at all to the accrued benefit you earned through June 30, 2013. Therefore, if you plan to retire and continue working, you must declare your intentions at retirement. See below for details.

The Early Retirement Benefit you can receive without restriction (based on your accrued benefit through June 30, 2013) is referred to as your grandfathered early benefit. You can begin your grandfathered early benefit even if you continue to work.

The remainder of your Early Retirement Benefit is your non-grandfathered early benefit. In order to start your non-grandfathered early benefit, you must declare that you are retiring with no present intention to return to Covered Employment before age 62. If you continue working in Covered Employment after commencement of your grandfathered early benefit, your non-grandfathered early benefit will be deferred and you will receive a payment of interest for the period that it is delayed.

It is important to note that if you stop working and begin receiving full payment for all Early Retirement Benefits, benefits earned after July 1, 2013 up to your Early Retirement Date would subsequently be suspended if you later return to work in Covered Employment prior to age 62.

When should I request a pension benefit estimate?

You should contact the Pension Office two (2) to three (3) months prior to your desired retirement date.

How do I apply for my pension benefits?

Contact the Pension Office for an application packet or to make an appointment to apply: 314.644.4802 or Toll-Free at 877.232.3863, press 2 for assistance.

When are pension benefits issued?

Pension benefits are issued by direct deposit on the first business day of each month.

Once I begin receiving my pension, will I receive a tax statement?

Pension 1099Rs are mailed  no later than January 31st each year to all participants who received a pension benefit during the prior calendar year.