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English (United States)

Ready to Retire


What You Should Know

Pre-Retirement Planning Seminars - Come Learn about the Retirement Process!


The Fund office hosts pre-retirement planning seminars to introduce you to the retirement process and to provide you with information about your pension benefits. The information provided in these seminars will help you feel more comfortable about the decisions you will need to make as part of the retirement process. The seminars are both informative and interactive - you will have the opportunity to ask questions about any concerns you may have and also hear questions from your fellow 32BJ members who are also planning to retire. You will receive information about:

  • How to apply for retirement.
  • The assistance you will receive from the Retirement Counseling staff at the Fund office.
  • How do determine when it’s the right time to retire.
  • How your employment service affects your pension benefits and how to estimate your pension benefits at retirement.
  • Other retirement benefits you may be eligible for such as health care benefits, legal benefits and 401(k) plan (Supplemental Retirement Savings Plan) benefits.
  • Government benefits such as Social Security and Medicare.

When you are eligible to retire, you will receive an invitation to an upcoming seminar. Watch your mailbox! The Retirement Counselors look forward to meeting you.

Retirement Counseling - Why it’s Important...

As you plan for your retirement, it’s important for you to know that the Retirement Services Department will assist you every step of the way. You will be assigned a dedicated Retirement Counselor to assist you with the application process and to answer any questions you may have along the way. Your Counselor’s goal is to assure your application is completed accurately, processed quickly and that you have all the information you need to make the important decisions that come with retiring.

How the pension application process works

  • We encourage you to contact Member Services at 800-551-3225 approximately 4 months before you want your pension payments to begin. Once your inquiry is received, the Retirement Services department will reach out to you for a phone introduction and to discuss your retirement intention.
  • Your assigned Counselor will begin to review your records, including a review of your work history. A retirement package and preliminary pension estimate are sent to you prior to your first counseling session for review. Any questions you may have about the package are addressed during the counseling session.
  • Your Counselor will help you understand the various pension payment options available to you and will help you complete the pension application during your counseling session.
  • Your Counselor will also explain the Supplemental Retirement Savings Plan (SRSP) distribution options and health and legal benefits (if applicable).
  • Your counseling session will last approximately one hour; your spouse is encouraged to attend.

How to apply for Social Security Benefits

When you are ready to retire, visit the to apply for your benefits. The on-line application is quick and easy to use. You may also visit a Social Security office in your area. The website provides useful information including:

  • How to apply for Social Security benefits.
  • On-line application tools.
  • How to apply for Medicare benefits.
  • What to do if you work after you retire or are already a Medicare beneficiary.
  • How certain types of earnings and pensions can affect your Social Security benefits.
  • Information about how members of your family may qualify for benefits.

You can also contact Social Security by phone. Their Toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

How to apply for Medicare Benefits

Applying for Medicare benefits - visit

If you are retiring at age 65 or older, it’s a good idea to visit the Medicare website to learn about the healthcare benefits available to you and the important information you’ll need to know before you retire. Through the website, you can:

  • Sign up for Medicare.
  • Learn about your coverage choices:
    • Original Medicare - Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), and Part D (prescription drugs).
    • Medicare Advantage Plans - Medicare Part C (available through private insurance companies).
    • Medigap policies - Supplemental coverage to pay for deductibles and other health expenses not covered by Medicare.
    • Other Medicare information
      1. Learn about Medicare costs.
      2. Find doctors, hospital and facilities.
      3. Learn how to get help with costs of Medicare.

Applying for Medicare benefits is quick and easy and can be done on-line. You may also visit a Social Security office in your area to apply for Medicare benefits. You are encouraged to apply when you are within three months of age 65 or when you are within three months of retiring from covered employment with a 32BJ employer, if later. You can apply for Medicare benefits at 65 even if you have not yet started to receive Social Security or pension benefits. You do not need to apply for Medicare if you work past 65 and continue to be covered by the 32BJ Health Fund. But be sure to apply 3 months before you stop working.

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



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