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IN THE EVENT OF DEATH

If You Die Before Pension Payments Begin
Qualified Spouse

A Qualified Spouse is your legally married wife or husband if you have been married for one year (12 consecutive months) before you retire or die. 

If you die before you begin receiving a pension and have earned the right to a pension, benefits may be paid to your spouse or dependents in one of these ways:

You do not need to be actively at work at the time of your death for your spouse, minor children, or beneficiary to be eligible for these benefits. Upon your death, your surviving spouse or beneficiary must apply for benefits.

If you were credited with Years of Vesting Service due to work for which no contributions were made to this Plan, to be eligible for the Surviving Spouse Pension, Minor Child Benefit, or 60-Month Pre-Retirement Survivor Pension, you must have at least 10 Years of Vesting Service and five or more Pension Credits (see How you earn a pension). 

Surviving Spouse Pension

Your Qualified Spouse, upon application, will receive a Surviving Spouse Pension payable beginning approximately a month after your death if you have earned at least 10 Years of Vesting Service or 10 Pension Credits and die before you begin receiving pension benefits. 

The amount of your spouse’s benefit will depend on:

The benefit will be payable as a 100% Husband-and-Wife Pension and will be reduced for early payment of benefits, if applicable.

Your spouse may receive the Surviving Spouse Pension as soon as the first of the month after your death, provided your spouse applies for the benefit. Your spouse will continue to receive the Surviving Spouse Pension for the balance of her or his lifetime. However, if your spouse dies before receiving 60 monthly payments, your minor children, or if none, your named beneficiary will receive the remainder of the 60 monthly payments. Your spouse may defer payment of the benefit, but no later than the date you would have reached Normal Retirement Age. If your surviving spouse defers payment, the benefit amount will be calculated based on the age you would have been at that time.

If you are eligible for a Normal Retirement Age Pension at the time of your death, your spouse will be entitled to receive a Surviving Spouse Pension on the date when you would have reached Normal Retirement Age. The amount of this benefit will be determined using the Plan provisions in effect when you left Covered Employment.

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A Minor Child Benefit may be paid to your minor children (your natural born or legally adopted children under the age of 21) if you are a single parent or if you and your spouse die before your children reach age 21.  Benefits are payable if you:

The Minor Child Benefit will be calculated as if you had retired the day before your death. If you were younger than age 55 when you died, the benefit payable will be reduced, like an Early Pension. If you die before reaching age 50, the survivor benefit amount will be equal to the Early Pension amount you would have been eligible to receive at age 50 (70% of your Regular Pension).

Benefits are divided equally among your surviving unmarried children under the age of 21. These benefits will be paid until the youngest child reaches 21. If your youngest minor child reaches age 21 and benefits are still payable under the 60-payment guarantee, then the remainder of the 60 monthly payments will be made to your designated beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Surviving children must apply for this benefit in writing to the Board of Trustees within 24 months of your death. A Minor Child Benefit will not be paid if a Surviving Spouse Pension benefit is currently being paid. If you have met the eligibility requirements for both the Minor Child Benefit and the 60-Month Pre-Retirement Survivor Pension, the Minor Child Benefit will be paid (the 60-Month Pre-Retirement Survivor Pension will not be paid).

These rules apply for deaths that occur on or after June 1, 2001. If the death occurred before that date, contact the Pension Department of the Fund Office for the rules governing the Minor Child Benefit.

60-Month Pre-Retirement Survivor Pension

If you do not have a Qualified Spouse or minor children, your designated beneficiary may be entitled to the 60-Month Pre-Retirement Survivor Pension. Benefits are payable if you die before you begin receiving a pension, and either earned:

The amount of this benefit, payable in 60 monthly payments, will equal the amount you would have been eligible to receive as a Single Life Pension as if you had retired the day before you died. If you die before reaching age 50, the survivor benefit amount will be equal to the Early Pension amount you would have been eligible to receive at age 50 (70% of your Regular Pension).

These rules apply for deaths that occur on or after June 1, 2001. If the death occurred before that date, contact the Pension Department of the Fund Office for the rules governing the 60-Month Pre-Retirement Survivor Pension. 

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If You Die After Pension Payments Begin

If you were receiving a 50% Husband-and-Wife Pension and died before 60 monthly payments had been made, your spouse would receive the remainder of the 60 monthly payments at the same level you had been receiving. Then, after the balance of 60 monthly payments had been made, your spouse would receive 50% of the monthly pension benefit for the remainder of her or his lifetime.

If you were receiving a 100% Husband-and-Wife Pension at your death, the amount of payments will not change for your surviving spouse.

Example:
Kyle retired and elected to receive the 50% Husband-and-Wife Pension. Kyle’s monthly pension benefit was $2,000. Kyle died after 48 monthly pension benefit payments had been made. His wife will receive 12 monthly payments of $2,000 (the remainder of the 60 guaranteed monthly payments). Then, Kyle’s wife will receive $1,000 ($2,000 x 50% = $1,000) per month for the remainder of her lifetime.

If you are receiving a Level Income Option and you die before 60 monthly payments have been made, your spouse or beneficiary will receive the greater of the following for the balance of the 60-payment guarantee:

After 60 monthly payments, your spouse will receive the amount payable under the standard form of the Husband-and-Wife Pension without regard to the Level Income Option. If you are receiving a Level Income Option in the 60-Month Post-Retirement Pension, your beneficiary will be paid 60 additional monthly payments under the standard form without regard to the Level Income Option.

If you are receiving the Partial Lump Sum Payment Option and you die before you receive the lump sum payment, your beneficiary will receive the lump sum along with the balance of the 60 monthly payments you would have received under this option. If you die after you receive the lump sum payment, each of the remaining 60 monthly payments to your beneficiary will be in the amount that you were receiving under this option.

 

If Your Spouse or Beneficiary Dies

If your spouse or beneficiary dies before or after your pension begins, you should contact the Pension Department of the Fund Office to update your beneficiary information. If you have already started receiving your pension benefits in one of the Husband-and-Wife Pension forms and your spouse dies, your benefit will be increased to the amount of the Single Life Pension you had earned at the time you retired.

 

Social Security Death Benefits

Your family may also be entitled to Social Security benefits after your death. If you die leaving dependent children, family benefits may be payable until your children reach age 18. After your children grow up, your spouse may be entitled to start receiving Social Security benefits again when he or she reaches age 60.

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