A. Will my beneficiary automatically change if I divorce?
A divorce does not automatically cancel a prior designation of your now ex-spouse as your beneficiary. Even if your former spouse waived his/her right to any portion of your pension in the property settlement at the time of the divorce but is still your designated beneficiary on record with the Fund, the Fund will be required to pay the former spouse any benefit to which your beneficiary is entitled after your death. It is important, then, after a divorce or after other changes in your family occur, to review your beneficiary designation to determine if it should be changed.
B. How do I change my beneficiary designation under the Plan?
You must complete the National Pension Fund's Beneficiary Designation Form in order to change your beneficiary under the Plan. The completion of a local plan form will have no effect on your beneficiary designation with the National Pension Fund. You can download the Beneficiary Designation Form here. You must mail the completed and signed form to the Fund Office.
C. Who can I name as a beneficiary?
You may designate any person, your Estate, or a Trust as a beneficiary.
D. Can I take the money out that was paid in on my behalf?
A Plan Participant can receive payment from the Fund only if he meets the eligibility requirements to qualify for a benefit under the Plan rules. The Plan is a defined benefit plan paid for by employer contributions only. Employees do not have individual accounts with the Fund. Participants accrue pension credit toward benefit eligibility based upon the hours they worked in Covered Employment.
E. How do I apply for a benefit?
You can call the Fund at 1-800-638-7442 and ask for an application to be sent to you, or you can download the application package here.
F. How long does it take to process my application?
If you have included all of the necessary documentation with your application, the Fund Office will normally complete the processing of your application within 90 days of receipt. If all of the necessary documentation is not received with your application, the time to process the application may be extended to 180 days. If, after 160 days, all of the necessary information needed to finalize your application is still not received by the Fund Office, application processing will be completed based upon the information available. When the additional information is received, the application will be reviewed again and any necessary adjustments will be made. Please refer to the Pension Benefit Application Guide for more information regarding the application process.
G. When will I receive my first check?
Once the Fund receives from you the necessary election of payment option form and any other required documents as indicated in your Award Letter, it will take approximately 15 - 20 days before your first benefit check is issued.
H. How long do I have to return my payment forms?
The Award Letter you receive from the Fund will state when you need to return the required documents to begin payment. If the Award Letter is sent after the effective date of your retirement, you will have 90 days to return the required documents. If the Award Letter is sent prior to the effective date of your retirement, you will have up to your effective date, but not less than 30 days, to return the required documents.
I. Can I change the form of payment I elected after I returned the documents to the Fund?
After you submit your election forms you can change the form of payment prior to your effective date, or if later, before payments actually begin. Once the first payment has been made, your benefit election cannot be changed. This is true even if you elected a Husband and Wife Pension and are later divorced. Your spouse at the time of your retirement will be entitled the survivor portion of your benefit and that election cannot be changed.
J. Why does the National Pension Fund need certain documents?
Eligibility for certain benefits and the amount of the benefit payment may be dependent upon certain facts about the pensioner and if married, the spouse. This includes age, marital status, disability status, military status, and the pensioner's employment before his Contribution Date. These events must be verified to provide the proper benefit type and amount.
K. How is my benefit calculated?
There are many factors that are considered in calculating the benefit amount. Please refer to the Calculating Benefits page for information on how the benefit is calculated.
L. What happens to all of the money that is sent to the Fund by employers?
Contributions made by employers are deposited into a Trust Fund to provide benefits to all Participants who qualify under the rules of the Plan. The money is not allocated to each employee covered by the Plan and there are no individual accounts. All of the Fund's assets from whatever sources are combined and used to administer the Plan and to pay benefits to eligible Participants.
M. Why can't I get credit for all of my U.A. employment?
While all local unions can participate in the Fund, not all choose to do so. Pension Credit with the National Pension Fund may only be granted for Covered Employment in the jurisdiction of a local union that participates with the Fund or for contributions received from funds in non-participating locals in accordance with reciprocal agreements between the Local Pension Fund and the National Pension Fund.
N. Can I pay into the Fund?
No, the Plan cannot accept contributions from the employees participating in the Plan. The National Pension Fund is qualified by the Internal Revenue Service as a noncontributory Plan. The Fund can only accept contributions from employers.
O. Why does another member receive more money than I do?
The calculation of pension benefits is based on several factors such as age, years of Pension Credit, Contribution Rate, and Benefit Schedules. Since each member's employment history is unique, benefit calculations will vary from person to person.
P. Another member told me I could qualify for benefits, is this true?
If you have any questions about your pension status, the procedures of the National Pension Fund, or how the Plan affects you, you should contact the Fund Office directly. No other person or office is authorized to make statements about the Plan and its effect on your situation or circumstances. The Fund Office is not bound by the representations of any person, other than the Trustees, regarding participation in and eligibility for benefits under this Plan, status of Employees or Employers, or any other matter relating to the Pension Plan or Fund.
Q. If I pay union dues for 35 years will I qualify for a benefit?
The payment of union dues has no bearing on your eligibility for benefits from the Fund. Although the Fund is sponsored by the United Association and its local unions, the Fund is a legally separate organization. Pension Credit is based upon work in employment covered by the Plan.
R. Can I still receive my pension if I go back to work after I retire?
It is important that you are aware of the Plan rules regarding a return to work since there can be severe penalties applied if you return to work after retirement.
Before you consider returning to work, you should read the Summary of Plan Provisions on Suspension of Benefits Due to a Return to Work and Disability Pensioners should read the Summary of the Plan Provisions On Recovery From Disability, Termination of Benefits and Re-Employment.
S. I need to limit my income to be eligible for Medicaid. Can I have my pension paid into an Income Trust to meet this requirement?
You can authorize in writing the payment of your entire monthly pension to a trust fund. Such authorization must be strictly voluntary and may be revoked by you at any time. Such authorization will not be an assignment of benefits to the trust fund and the trust fund will have no right enforceable against the Plan to any part of your benefit. You will need to complete specific forms to establish direct deposit to a trust fund. Call the Fund Office at 1-800-638-7442 and ask to speak to the Accounting Department to obtain the necessary forms.
T. What is the EIN (Employer Identification Number) for the Plumbers and Pipefitters National Pension Fund?
The EIN is 52-6152779.