The following is a list of questions that are often raised by Local 812 Retirement Fund Plan Participants.  We have provided general answers to these questions.  However, these answers may not always apply to your individual situation. If you should have any additional questions that have not been answered below, please write to the Fund Office.

The Soft Drink & Brewery Workers Union, Local 812 Retirement Fund is a Defined Benefit Plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).

  • What is a Defined Benefit Plan?

A Defined Benefit Plan is a plan that provides a benefit that is definitely determinable.  This means that the benefit can be calculated based on a stated formula.  One of the advantages of a Defined Benefit Plan is that your accrued benefit cannot go down if Plan investments decline in value.

  • Do I submit contributions to the Retirement Fund on my behalf?

No. Pension contributions are made entirely by your Employer.

  • Do I have an account balance?

No. Participants only have account balances in Defined Contribution Plans.  When you have an account balance, your benefit at retirement depends on the assets in your account.  Your Plan is a Defined Benefit Plan.

  • Can I borrow money from the Retirement Fund?

No. Loans are not permitted.

  • Can I get a lump sum?

No. Lump sum annuity payments are not available from the Plan.

  • What is the earliest age that I can retire?  

If you last worked in covered employment on or after July 1, 1999, the earliest you can retire is:

♦ Age 55 with at least 10 Pension or Vesting Credits or

♦ Age 60 with at least 5 Vesting Credits.

  • Can I start collecting my pension prior to age 55 if I am on total disability?

No. The Plan does not provide a disability pension. However, you can apply to receive your pension once you satisfy the requirements for an early or normal pension.

  • Do I earn pension credit if I am out on Workers’ Compensation or disability?

No.  You will not accumulate pension credit during periods you are out on Workers’ Compensation or disability. However, the time during which you are out on disability or Workers’ Compensation, to a limited extent, will not be counted towards a determination of a possible permanent break in service.  This is explained more fully in Section IV of the Summary Plan Description Booklet.

  • When are pension checks mailed out?

Pension checks are mailed out on the last business day of each month prior to the month for which they are due.  

  • Can I instruct the Fund Office to deposit my pension benefit payments directly into my bank account instead of sending me a check?

Yes. Your benefit payment may be deposited in a checking or savings account with a financial institution in the United States or Puerto Rico.  Funds will be available on the 1st business day of the month for which they are due.

  • Is my benefit subject to tax?

Yes.  You must complete a withholding election at the time of retirement.  You may also change your withholding election at anytime by completing a new withholding form.

  • Can I give you my change of address over the phone?

No.  For your protection your security, this information must be provided to the Fund Office in writing, with your signature.

  • Can you tell me how much money I will be entitled to at time of retirement?

For your protection, the Fund cannot disclose your benefit information via the telephone or email.  You may send a written request for one estimate per year, free of charge.  The benefit statement will show retirement benefit based on the pension credit that you have accumulated up to the date of your request.  Please note that this estimate will not project any service credit that you may earn during any year in the future.

  • If I die before my retirement, is my spouse entitled to a Pension?

If you are Vested and die prior to beginning your pension, your surviving spouse may be entitled to a benefit at the earliest date at which you would have been eligible if you are married at least 1-year prior to your death. Please see Section VII of the Summary Plan Description Booklet.  

  • If I die after I retire, is my spouse entitled to a Pension?

If you die after you begin to receive your pension from the Fund, your spouse may be entitled to additional benefits from the Fund, depending upon the payment option that you select at the time of your retirement.  For example, if you elect a 75% Husband and Wife Pension, your spouse would be paid 75% of the amount that you received prior to your death.  Your spouse would be paid for the rest of her life.

  • If I am unmarried at the time of my death, is anyone entitled to a benefit?

If you are not married at the time of your death and you have not started to receive your pension payments, no one will be entitled to your pension benefit.

If you are unmarried and your pension has commenced at the time of your death, depending upon the option that you choose at the time of your retirement, your designated beneficiary may be entitled to a benefit upon your death.  For example, if you choose to receive your pension in the form of a ten-year guaranteed pension and you were to die after receiving only six years of pension benefits, your designated beneficiary would receive the remaining four years of pension benefits.  Of course, your benefit would continue for the rest of your life, even after the ten-year guaranteed period, but your designated beneficiary would no longer be entitled to receive any benefits after your death.

  • Why do I need to fill out a Signature Verification Form every year?

For your protection, as well as that of the Fund, it is necessary to confirm that all pensioners and beneficiaries who collect a pension from the Fund are rightfully entitled to such payments.  One way this is monitored is to require signature verification information.

  • If benefits are denied, may the Participant or beneficiary appeal the denial?

Yes.  Any Participant or beneficiary who is denied a benefit has the right to appeal the denial.  For a complete explanation of the appeals procedure, please see "Article XII, CLAIM REVIEW PROCEDURES" of the Summary Plan Description Booklet.

  • How are Fund Assets Protected?

The Fund Assets are protected in a number of ways.  First, the assets are held in a separate Trust that is not part of the assets of either the Union or the employers.  Plan assets are invested by registered Investment Managers.  The Plan is audited every year by a firm of Independent Certified Public Accountants.  In addition, the government requires an annual filing, the Form 5500 that is a public document detailing the financial condition of the Fund.  Within this filing, certain actuarial calculations are required to ensure the soundness of the Fund with respect to the ability to pay pension benefits that have been promised to Vested Participants and Pensioners.  Finally, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation insures certain benefits provided under the Plan, thus guaranteeing that if the Plan, for some reason, does not have enough money to pay benefits, the PBGC will pay these benefits to a certain degree.



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