There are several key points that are important to understanding how the Pension Plan works.
- The first is participation. You do not begin to earn retirement benefits under the Pension Plan until you begin to participate.
- The second is vesting. Vesting refers to the legal (i.e., non-forfeitable) right to receive a benefit under the Pension Plan. Until you are vested, you will have no right to receive any benefit under the Pension Plan.
- The third is benefit calculation. Since the beginning of the Pension Plan in 1966, there have been several different formulas to calculate Plan benefits. Improvements in the formulas took place in 1997, 1999 and again in 2001. Reductions to the accrual rate occurred in 2003 and 2006. Therefore, depending on when you work in Covered Employment, your benefit may be made up of several different parts, which are calculated in different ways.
- The fourth is when you can retire and begin to receive a benefit. The Normal Retirement Age under the Plan is the later of age 65 or your fifth anniversary of pension plan participation. However, under various circumstances earlier retirement is allowed.
- The last important point is the form of the benefit you choose. A retiring Participant is allowed to choose from several different forms of retirement benefits. Some options require spousal consent, if married. The amount of the monthly payment to you and/or your Spouse or Beneficiary will be different under the various forms of benefit payment.
These points, as well as others, are explained below.
Please note that whenever terms are capitalized in this SPD, the terms are defined in the Definitions section.