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General Retirement FAQs

What retirement benefits will I get from the 32BJ Funds?


Depending on your contract, you may have a pension benefit, retirement savings through the Supplemental Retirement Savings Plan (SRSP), retiree legal benefits and a death benefit. If you’re not sure, check the What Are My Benefits feature on this website. Some early retirees qualify for retiree health until age 65. These benefits are designed to supplement your Social Security and Medicare benefits provided by the Federal government.

I am not ready to retire but would like to find out what my pension benefit amount will be when I do retire. How do I find out?


You may write to the Fund office at the address below and ask for a “Benefit Statement”. Based on information available from your employer, your benefit statement will provide an estimated annual benefit payable at age 65.

Retirement Services Department
25 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
Attention: Benefit Statement Request

What is the difference between a pension and the SRSP?


A pension is a “defined benefit” plan which provides a monthly benefit for your life based on your years of service. This is a guaranteed benefit until you die. If you are married and you elect the Joint and Survivor pension payment option at retirement and your spouse outlives you, then your spouse will have a guaranteed benefit until he or she dies as well. The SRSP is a “defined contribution” plan which contains employer contributions and your pre-tax contributions (401(k)). These contributions are invested in funds of your choosing. Your savings plus any investment earnings are yours to take at retirement, but the risk is yours as well. If the investment loses value, the amount you save may decline.

Do all 32BJ members get the same pension?


Your pension benefits, if any, depend on the contract between 32BJ and your employer which covered your work in a union position. The Building Service 32BJ Benefits Funds administers several of these:

It’s important that you know your plan. Use the What Are My Benefits tool located on this page, or call Member Services at 800-551-3225 to find out.

What happens if I worked under more than one of these pensions at different times during my career?


For most of these pensions, your work under each will count toward vesting service. Vesting service determines whether you are entitled to a non-forfeitable right to a pension. Generally you are required to earn 5 years of vesting service in order to “vest.” If you are vested in both pension plans (typically 5 years of work in both plans combined), you will receive two separate pensions. Some exceptions apply. Please contact Member Services at 800-551-3225 for more information.

How do I get more information about these benefits?


This website includes detailed FAQ’s about each pension and the SRSP. Check What Are My Benefits and find out more.

When can I retire?


Most plans provide that you can retire at 65 with an unreduced pension benefit. However, depending on your number of years of pension service, you may be able to retire as early as 55.

And you may qualify for a disability pension at an earlier age if you are determined to be disabled by the Social Security administration. Remember that you want to consider Social Security and Medicare eligibility before retiring. Consider attending a 32BJ Retirement Seminar for more information when you’re thinking about retirement.

What do I do when I'm ready to retire?


When you're ready to retire, call Member Services at 800-551-3225 at least 4 months before your last day of work to request an appointment with a Retirement Counselor. Your Retirement Counselor will send you a pension estimate and an application for pension benefits, and will review all the paperwork with you during your counseling appointment. Your pension benefit will be paid monthly, effective the first day of the month following your retirement, provided all the paperwork is submitted properly and on time.

What happens if I become divorced before I retire?


If you are thinking about getting a divorce, you should get legal advice from a lawyer on your rights to benefits under the Plan(s). Pursuant to your divorce, your ex-spouse may be entitled to a portion of your pension. The Plan can only pay a portion of your pension to your ex-spouse if a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is on file with the Fund. Prior to entering a QDRO in court, you or your attorney should contact the Fund office for procedures which will assist you in making sure the Fund can enforce the terms of the order.

Pension QDRO Forms and Procedures
SRSP QDRO Form and Procedures

Will my pension benefit reduce the amount of my Social Security check?


No. Your pension benefit does not affect your Social Security benefit payment. Also, any disability pension benefits you may receive are not affected by Social Security. In either case, your pension benefit is totally separate and will not be affected by your Social Security benefit.

Can I roll over benefits from my 32BJ pension into another pension plan or into my 32BJ pension from another pension plan or 401(k) plan?


In most cases, you may not roll over your benefits from your pension plan into another pension plan. Also, the pension plan cannot accept rollovers from other pension plans or from a 401(k) plan. You can roll over your SRSP account into another plan after you retire. The SRSP can also accept rollovers from an earlier employment plan.

Since I am a member of 32BJ and have paid my dues on a regular basis, am I entitled to a pension?


No. Benefits are not based on the payment of dues. Participation in the pension depends on the terms of the union contract under which you were covered. If the contract required contributions to the pension plan for your category of employment you may be a participant in the plan. Eligibility for a pension is subject to satisfaction of the Plan’s vesting requirements.

Can I contribute to the Pension Plan?


No. The pension plan does not accept contributions from its participants. The Plan only accepts contributions from employers who are signatory to a contract with the Union or a participation agreement with the Plan. The contributions made by your employer ensure that vested participants will receive a defined benefit pension when they retire. Upon retirement, vested participants are guaranteed to receive a specific, monthly pension benefit for the rest of their lives. If you participate in the SRSP, you may be able to contribute pre-tax to that plan.

What happens if I go back to work after my retirement?


Your pension may be suspended. Payments begin when you retire under the rules of the Plan and will generally continue for the rest of your life. However, if you work in Disqualifying Employment after retirement and have not reached your Required Beginning Date (April 1 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which you reach age 70½), your pension may be suspended. Generally Disqualifying Employment is employment similar to the work you did before retirement. The Fund office will work with you to determine if you can continue to receive your pension benefits based on the number of hours you work in Disqualifying Employment. Please refer to your Plan’s Summary Plan Description for additional detail.

Will I still be eligible for a pension if I leave the Plan before I retire?


Yes, if you are vested (typically 5 years of work), you will be eligible for a pension when you retire. The benefit is payable at your normal retirement date (generally, the first day of the month after you turn 65). Stay in touch with the Fund office to make sure you get the benefits you are entitled to.

Is my pension guaranteed?


Yes. The pension plan is a defined benefit plan that provides guaranteed lifetime benefits to vested participants when they retire. Benefits under the Plan are also insured to a limited degree by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federal insurance agency. For further information about the PBGC and the benefits it guarantees, visit its Web site at or call them at (202) 326-4000.

What happens to my pension benefit if I die before I retire?


Federal law requires that if you are married, vested in your pension benefits, and die before you retire, your spouse is eligible to receive a pre-retirement survivor benefit in the form of a 50% Joint and Survivor Pension for the rest of his or her life. Your spouse can start receiving the benefit when you would have first been eligible to start your pension. There are no survivor benefits payable from the Plan if you die before retiring and are not married at that time.

Should I keep in touch with the Pension Plan office before I retire?


Yes! Contact Member Services at 800-551-3225 whenever you:

  • Change your name, address, or phone number. 
  • Get married, divorced, separated, or become widowed. Your marital status determines your benefit payment options at retirement. It also affects what happens to your pension benefit if you're vested and die before you retire, so be sure to notify the Plan of any changes. It's best to send original and/or court stamped documents to the Plan office whenever your circumstances change.


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