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APPLYING FOR A PENSION

Application Procedures

To apply for your pension, you must get an application form from the Pension Department of the Fund Office. You may want to consider visiting the Fund Office and applying for your pension in person. If you apply in person, a meeting with a Fund representative may take from one to two hours, so plan accordingly. While you are not required to make an appointment, an appointment is recommended, especially if you need special assistance, such as a Spanish-speaking representative. 

You should submit your completed application form to the Pension Department of the Fund Office at least two months before you wish to retire. This is to allow time to process your application. 

When you apply, you will need to supply proof of your identity, your age, and of termination from Disqualifying Employment. If you are married, you also will need to supply proof of your spouse’s identity, age and of your legal marriage. If you or your spouse were previously married, you will need to supply proof that all prior marriages were legally ended. You will also need to supply information about your beneficiaries, including names, Social Security Numbers and addresses. The Trustees may rely on the information you provide in determining your eligibility and the amount of your pension benefits. 

If you receive benefits to which you are not entitled, the Fund can recover such benefits through offset of your, your spouse’s or your beneficiaries’ future payments. 

At the time of application, the Fund Office will provide you with a calculation of your benefits under all available payment options explained in this section. However, you can request this Good Faith Estimate when you reach retirement age to compare the options and prepare to make your elections on the application.

 

You may elect to delay receiving pension benefits past your Normal Retirement Age. However, benefit payments must begin by April 1 of the year that follows the calendar year in which you reach age 70 ½.
When Benefits Begin

Your benefits may begin on the first day of the month following the month in which you file an application for benefits if you meet all of the requirements for a pension. Your first payment will be retroactive to your effective date if completed applications are not submitted and approved at least two months before the date you want to retire.

 

Assignment of Benefits Not Allowed

You may not transfer or promise your pension benefits to anyone or use it as collateral for a mortgage or other loan until you receive payment of your benefits or you are entitled to receive your benefits under the terms of the Plan. However, as explained below, the Plan will honor the terms of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Contributions made to the Fund cannot be withdrawn or transferred out of the Fund. In addition, no loans are available from the Fund.

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Qualified Domestic Relations Order

If you are divorced, the court may issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO is an official order of the court that instructs the Trustees to pay all or part of your benefit to an alternate payee, either currently or at some time in the future. Alternate payees may include your spouse, former spouse, child, or dependent. 

The order also affects your former spouse’s right to a survivor benefit. The Trustees are required by law to recognize and comply with QDROs. You may obtain a copy, at no cost, of the Fund’s QDRO procedures and guidelines for drafting a QDRO from the Pension Department of the Fund Office.

 

If Benefits Are Denied

If your application for pension benefits is denied, in whole or in part, the Board of Trustees will furnish you with a notice denying your benefits within 90 days from the time they receive your claim. There may be special circumstances that will make additional time necessary. In that case, the Board of Trustees may take up to an additional 90 days. However, the Board of Trustees must notify you of the delay and the reason for it before the end of the initial 90-day period.

Follow Plan Appeal Procedures

If your benefits are denied, you may appeal the decision by a written appeal. You must follow the Plan’s appeal procedures before bringing any legal action for benefits. 

Disability claims will be decided within 45 days. However, the Board of Trustees may request up to two 30-day extensions if an extension is needed for reasons beyond the control of the Plan. You will be notified of any extension before the end of the initial 45-day period if a first extension is needed. If a second extension is needed, you will be notified before the end of the first 30-day extended period. You will be notified of the reason for any extension when you are notified that an extension is needed. The denial notice will be plainly wordedand will contain: 

The Trustees will consult a medical professional who is not the same individual who consulted on the initial review of the claim or a subordinate of that individual.

Appeals should be sent to: 

Pension Department Chicago Laborers’ Pension Fund
11465 West Cermak Road
Westchester, IL 60154 

If you disagree with the decision, you or your authorized representative must file a written appeal with the Fund Office no later than 60 days (180 days for a Disability Pension) after you receive notice that your application for benefits has been denied. If you do not file your request for review within these time limits, the decision of the Board of Trustees will be final. Your request for review must state the reasons you are disputing the decision. You must attach copies of any substantiating evidence you may have. 

You have a right to review pertinent documents and submit comments in writing to the Appeals Committee of the Board of Trustees. In addition, when filing an appeal on a Disability Pension, you have the right to:

The Appeals Committee will provide you with written notice on the determination of your appeal within five days after a decision is made. The written notice will contain all required information. Generally, a decision will be made on your appeal within 60 days (45 days for a Disability Pension). If an extension is necessary, up to 60 additional days (45 additional days for a Disability Pension), the Appeals Committee will notify you of the delay and the reason for it before the end of the 60-day period (or 45-day period for a Disability Pension).

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Benefit Payment to an Incapacitated Person

If the Trustees determine that a person is unable to care for his or her affairs due to a mental or physical incapacity, the Trustees may make payment directly for the person’s support, maintenance, and welfare. In addition, the Trustees may make payment to your legal guardian, committee, or legal representative or, in their absence, to any blood relative or connection by marriage the Trustees consider entitled to receive them on your behalf. 

The Trustees have no obligation to ensure the funds are used or applied for any purpose. In no event does this mean, however, that you can assign any claim you may have against the Pension Plan or the Board of Trustees to another person, party, or entity, unless, before payment, a claim has been made by a legally appointed guardian, committee, or other legal representative appropriate to receive the payments on your or your beneficiary’s behalf.