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Grief Counseling

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Grief Counseling

Information for 32BJ Members (including Current Retirees) - What You Should Know

As a 32BJ member or current retiree, it is important for you to know that when you pass away, the Fund office will help your spouse or beneficiary understand the benefits they may be entitled to receive. There may be benefits payable to them from the Pension Plan, and the Supplemental Retirement Savings Plan (SRSP), including life insurance or death benefits. Please take the time now to inform them of our services and ask them to reach out to us immediately when you pass away. Our staff of Benefit Counselors will answer any questions your spouse or beneficiary may have and help them apply for benefits. The Benefit Counselors will help them through that difficult time.

Also, if you are a retiree under Program A, B or C of the 32BJ Pension Plan or the North or Connecticut Pension Plans (Connecticut Cleaning Contractors only), please take the time now to verify that you have designated your beneficiary for the Death Benefit. If you have not designated a beneficiary for this benefit, it will be paid out based on the rules of the Plan. Please refer to the Plan’s SPD for those rules. You can find a copy of your Plan’s beneficiary designation form on the Forms tab of this website or obtain one by calling Member Services at 800-551-3225.

If you are a Program A, B or C retiree eligible for life insurance benefits, your beneficiary is not eligible for the Death Benefit. You can obtain a beneficiary designation form for your life insurance benefits through Met Life by calling 800-638-6420.

You should also consider reviewing your SRSP beneficiary designation at this time. If you have an SRSP balance and would like to add or change your beneficiaries, log on to Vanguard’s website or call 800-523-1188 to request a designation form.

 

Information for Spouses and Beneficiaries - We are Here for You

As the spouse or beneficiary of a 32BJ member, you have access to a staff of Benefit Counselors who will help you through the difficult time when your husband, wife or other loved one passes away by helping you understand the benefits that may be payable to you. You may be entitled to receive benefits whether the member had already retired or died while working in covered employment. The Benefit Counselors will also be available to answer any questions you may have and help you expedite the payment of your benefits.

Notify Us When It Happens

When the member or retiree passes away, you should contact Member Services as soon as possible at 800-551-3225. Once we are aware of the member’s passing, a Benefit Counselor will review the member’s file and determine if any benefits are payable from the Pension Plan, the Health Fund or the SRSP. They will also determine if any life insurance or death benefits are payable. They will contact you within 3-5 days to inform you of the benefits available to you.

Spouses and beneficiaries are welcome to visit the 32BJ Fund office and meet with their designated Benefit Counselor one-on-one to better understand the benefits that may be payable to them. We acknowledge that this can be a difficult time, and the 32BJ Fund office is here to help you through the transition as best we can.

Retiree pension payments end immediately upon the retiree’s death. If the Fund office is not notified of the retiree’s death on a timely basis, the retiree’s estate or anyone who may have benefited from the payments made after the retiree’s death will be required to repay the Fund. Any survivor benefits that are payable to the spouse or beneficiary may be adjusted to recoup any overpayments that have not been returned to the Fund.

Pension Plan Benefits for Spouses and Beneficiaries of a Retired Member

 

Throughout the member’s retirement, the member received a monthly pension payment based on the payment option he or she chose. That payment option specified how much would be payable in survivor benefits and who should receive those benefits.

Your 32BJ Benefit Counselor will verify for you the payment option that is applicable to you as the spouse or beneficiary of the deceased retiree. Your benefits will be based on the payment option they chose at retirement.

Pension Plan Benefits for Spouses and Beneficiaries of a Non-retired Member

 

If a member dies after satisfying the eligibility requirements to start their pension benefits but before actually starting their pension, his or her surviving spouse will immediately be eligible to receive a benefit equal to what the spouse would have received under the 50% Joint & Survivor payment option. If the member dies before satisfying those requirements, his or her spouse is eligible to receive the 50% Joint & Survivor benefit on the date the member would have first been eligible to receive those payments.

The 50% Joint & Survivor Pension provides the member a monthly payment for as long as they live. When the member dies, the spouse the member was married to when they started their pension will receive half the amount they were receiving for as long as they live. After the spouse dies, no further benefits will be paid. The member and spouse must have been married for at least one year for the spouse to be eligible for survivor benefits. If the spouse dies before the member, the member will continue to receive his or her monthly benefit for the rest of their life, and all Plan benefits will end upon the member’s death.

Special rule for Broadway League members:

If an unmarried member dies after reaching eligibility for either an Early Retirement or a Regular Pension, then the benefit the member would have received if they had retired and started collecting their pension on the day of their death will instead be paid to his or her named Beneficiary for 36 months, or, if they do not have a designated Beneficiary, to their estate. Please refer to the Plan’s SPD for more information.

Death Benefit for Beneficiaries of a Retired Member

 

If the member was a retiree under Programs A, B or C of the 32BJ Pension Plan or the North or Connecticut Pension Plans (Connecticut Cleaning Contractors only), his or her beneficiary may be entitled to receive a Death Benefit upon the retiree’s death. The following benefits may be payable to the designated beneficiary:

  • Programs A, B or C: $1,000
  • North Pension: $1,000 or $2,000 (refer to the SPD for more information)
  • Connecticut Pension Plan (Connecticut Cleaning Contractors only): $1,000

Please note that if the beneficiary of a Program A, B or C retiree is eligible to receive life insurance benefits from the Building Service 32BJ Health Fund, the beneficiary is not eligible to receive the Death Benefit.

Benefits from the SRSP

As the beneficiary of a deceased retiree, you may be entitled to funds from the Supplemental Retirement Savings Plan (SRSP). Your Benefit Counselor can help you determine if you are the named beneficiary of the account (if any) and can put you in touch with Vanguard, the organization that administers the SRSP. It’s important to know that spouses have special rights to benefits payable from the SRSP, unless waived by the spouse prior to the retiree’s death.

You may also reach out directly to Vanguard at 800-523-1188 (Spanish-speaking; 800-828-4487). You will need to provide the SRSP’s plan number, 094163, when you contact them.

Still Have Questions?

You can visit the Grief Counseling FAQs or call Member Service to obtain more information regarding your eligibility for benefits as the spouse or beneficiary of a deceased retiree at 800-551-3225.

For more information visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

 

WAMB

Use The What Are My Benefits* tool to find the most up-to-date information about your 32BJ benefits. Once you have answered the questions in What Are My Benefits a Benefits Summary Page will display a listing of your current benefits.

*Answer all of the questions as accurately as possible for best results. For additional information or questions about your benefits, call Member Services at 800-551-3225.

Learn About Your Benefits