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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long do I have to work for the Company to become fully vested in my benefit?

    You will become fully vested in your accrued benefit under the Plan after you have been credited with 5 years of service in eligible bargaining unit employment. Service with the Company or members of its "Controlled Group" that is not eligible bargaining unit employment can count toward the 5 years of service requirement for vesting purposes, but will not count in determining what the amount of your benefit under the Retirement Plan will be.

  • How much can I expect to receive from the retirement plan?

    There is no single answer about your potential benefit because the amount varies depending on your pay, years of service, the time period in which you earned your service, age at retirement, the type of annuity you choose to receive, and the collectively-bargained level of benefits that may apply from time to time.

    To view a summary of the Basic Benefit formula, go to the Normal Retirement Summary Tab.

  • What benefit do I receive if I leave the Company before retirement?

    The amount varies for each individual who takes a "deferred retirement" depending on their years of service (minimum of five years), pay and when benefits start. A deferred retirement uses the same calculation as a normal retirement, based on the formula in effect when you leave the Company.

    Normally, a deferred retirement benefit begins at your normal retirement date. If you have been credited with 10 or more years of service in eligible bargaining unit employment and decide to begin benefits earlier, the monthly benefit will be reduced under the rules for early retirement as described below.

  • If I retire early, how much will it reduce my benefit?

    The reduction depends on your age at early retirement and your years of service. If you are at least age 60 with a minimum of 20 years of service in eligible bargaining unit employment*, there's no reduction from the formula amount.

    If you are at least 50 with 20 years of service in eligible bargaining unit employment*, your benefit is reduced 5% a year for each year prior to age 60.

    * To take advantage of these 20 years of service subsidies, you must have attained age 50 at termination of bargaining unit employment (or terminate bargaining unit employment as part of the 2001 Involuntary Separation Program) and have one Hour of Service on or after January 1, 1998.

    You may qualify for a rule of 85 retirement payment if you earned at least one Hour of Service on or after December 1, 1999, and your age plus Years of Past and Future Service at the time of your termination adds up to 85 or more. There's no reduction in benefits for the rule of 85 retirement benefit.

    If you are age 50 with at least 10 years of service in eligible bargaining unit employment but do not qualify for any of the above subsidies, then the reduction is as shown in the chart below:

    If You Are Age... You Will Receive This Percentage
    Of A Normal Retirement Benefit...
    65 100%
    64 96%
    63 92%
    62 88%
    61 74.4%
    60 67.7%
    59 61.7%
    58 56.4%
    57 51.6%
    56 47.3%
    55 43.5%
    54 40.0%
    53 36.9%
    52 34.0%
    51 31.4%
    50 29.1%
  • Will I receive a larger pension the more years I work? Or, if my pay falls, would I be better off to retire before my Final Average Pay drops too much?

    Remember that Final Average Pay is the average pay from your 20 highest quarters of your last 40 quarters of covered employment. For most people, that is their last 20. But if your pay drops significantly, you could still work 20 more quarters without affecting your Final Average Pay - by not using the final 20 quarters. Continuing work would also add another five years of credited service which would increase your benefit. But there is no general rule; it would depend on the specifics of your situation as well as the collectively-bargained level of benefits in effect under the Retirement Plan from time to time. To help you decide what action to take, estimate your pension both ways.

  • Where did the benefit formula come from?

    From the inception of the Plan in 1963 until September 18, 2003, the benefit formula was determined by the Trustees. However, effective September 18, 2003, the Company and the Union agreed in collective bargaining that the benefit formula would be determined by the bargaining parties, and not by the Trustees.

  • What is the Trust Fund?

    The Trust Fund is a legal entity created as the result of a trust agreement signed by the Company and the Union. Contributions to the Plan, as negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement, as well as the investment earnings thereon, are held by this independent Trust Fund.

  • How does the Trust Fund grow?

    Trust Fund assets, except for assets held under the supplementary portion of the Plan, are invested by professional investment managers hired by the Trustees, with the assistance of other financial experts. Interest, dividends and other earnings from these investments flow to the Trust. Money comes out of the Trust Fund to pay benefits and to administer the Plan.

    Trust Fund assets derived from voluntary participant contributions to the supplementary portion of the Plan are invested pursuant to participant direction.

  • What expenses relating to the Plan may be paid out of the Trust Fund?

    Generally, Plan assets are held exclusively to provide benefits to participants and beneficiaries and to defray reasonable administration and investment expenses. Assets may be used to pay any expenses reasonably related to administration and investment and authorized by the Plan. Each year you receive a Summary Annual Report which specifies these expenses.

  • Are my retirement benefits guaranteed?

    Generally, yes. If the Plan terminates, benefits are guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Generally, the PBGC guarantees most vested retirement benefits and certain survivor's benefits. However, the PBGC does not guarantee all types of benefits and there is a ceiling, adjusted periodically, on the amount of monthly benefit the PBGC guarantees. For a pension plan terminating in 2019, the maximum monthly guaranteed pension benefit is $5,607.95 for a single-life annuity beginning at age 65.

    The PBGC is a government corporation established under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The PBGC established an insurance program designed to provide participants with benefits promised under their employer's defined benefit plan if that plan terminated without sufficient assets. The ABC-NABET Retirement Trust pays insurance premiums for PBGC insurance that protects your benefits.

    For more information, go to the PBGC website (www.pbgc.gov) or contact the PBGC at:

    The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
    Technical Assistance Division
    1200 K Street, N.W., Suite 930
    Washington, D.C. 20005-4026
    202-326-4000 (not a toll-free number)

  • Can the Plan be terminated?

    Yes, as long as it meets all the requirements set forth under Title IV of ERISA and the PBGC regulations. If the Plan terminates, participants would become 100% vested in their accrued benefits, to the extent funded, as of the date of termination. (Your accrued benefit is your Plan benefit earned to date expressed as an annual annuity beginning at normal retirement age.) Based on the actuarial funding assumptions used by the Plan, the Plan has sufficient assets at this time to cover all accrued benefits.

  • Can the Company ever take back money it has contributed to the Trust Fund?

    Only in certain circumstances with respect to mistaken contributions by the Company. By law, Plan assets must be segregated from the employer's assets and held in trust.

  • Does anyone besides the Trustees oversee the Plan?

    Yes. Effective September 18, 2003, the Company and the Union, through collective bargaining, and not the Trustees, have the authority to amend the Plan in any material way.

    In addition, ERISA established federal reporting requirements for plan administrators. Every plan is required to have an annual audit by an independent qualified public accountant. The Plan's current auditor is Novak Francella, LLC. The audit expresses an opinion as to the fairness of presentation of the financial statements. The audit report is filed with the Department of Labor (DOL) as part of the Plan's annual report (known as a Form 5500).

    The Plan is also required to file statements with the PBGC and, upon request, copies of Summary Plan Descriptions and summaries of materials modifications with the DOL.

    ERISA also requires the Plan to communicate with participants and beneficiaries on a regular basis. Certain types of information must be provided automatically and other types of information provided upon request. Among the numerous communications required to participants are Summary Plan Descriptions, summaries of plan changes (material modifications), summary annual reports, and notices involving optional types of annuities and the right to elect or reject them.

  • What type of payout is best?

    There is no single best option because, essentially, you don't know how long you will live or how long your spouse (or beneficiary) will live. In some circumstances, receiving a reduced early retirement benefit may be very costly, while in other circumstances, it may be a good choice.

    A joint and survivor annuity reduces your benefit but provides continuing benefits for your survivor's lifetime. If your chosen survivor lives a long time after you, the J&S may turn out to be a good choice. But if your survivor dies soon after you, total benefits paid out may end up being lower than under a single-life annuity.

    The 120 guaranteed payments annuity assures that at least 120 payments will be made - to either you, your beneficiary or your contingent beneficiary - no matter how soon you and your beneficiary die.

    Contact the Fund Office before you are ready to retire to request a calculation showing how much you would receive under each payout option when you plan on retiring.

  • How long in advance of retirement do I have to file paperwork?

    You start the process by contacting the Fund Office to request a retirement application. Since ABC, Inc., and the Trust Fund are completely separate, notifying the Company of your intent to retire is not enough. Your retirement benefit application must be on file at the Fund Office at least two months before the first of the month you want to start receiving benefits. If you don't provide advance notice, benefits won't be able to begin when you want them to.

  • What documentation do I need to retire?

    You need to provide evidence of your age, your marital status and your spouse's (or beneficiary's) age. The Fund Office needs a certified (or notarized) photocopy of your birth certificate and photocopies of your marriage certificate if applicable and the birth certificate of your spouse (or beneficiary). Your birth certificate needs to be submitted with your pension application.

    If you are unable to locate a birth certificate, there are certain other documents that are also accepted as proof of age. Please contact the Fund Office to inquire as to what kind of documents are accepted as proof of your age.