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North Pension Fund FAQs

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 are my payment options when I retire?


When completing your pension application, you have several payment options to choose from:

  • Single Life Pension - for unmarried and married participants (with spousal consent).
  • 50% Joint and Survivor Pension - for married participants only.
  • 75% Joint and Survivor Pension - for married participants only.

If the actuarial equivalent lump-sum value of the benefits payable to you is $5,000 or less, the benefits will be paid in the form of a single lump sum rather than a small monthly pension check (e.g., under $30 per month).

What is a Joint and Survivor Pension?


A Joint and Survivor Pension is available for married participants only. Both the 50% Joint and Survivor Pension and the 75% Joint and Survivor Pension provide a monthly retirement benefit to you for your lifetime and to your spouse should your spouse survive you. If you are married, you are required to elect one of these two options unless your spouse consents to the election of the Single Life Pension Option. If you elect a Joint and Survivor Pension and should die before your spouse, your spouse receives either 50% or 75% (as you elect at the time of your retirement) of the amount you had been receiving after your death for the rest of his or her life.

What is the Single Life Pension option?


The Single Life Pension option provides a benefit for your lifetime. Your benefit will terminate upon your death and no further benefits will be payable to your beneficiary or spouse. If you are married and want to choose the Single Life Pension option, your spouse must sign a Spousal Waiver to indicate that he/she has agreed to give up his/her right to the Joint and Survivor Pension.

Can I elect a beneficiary other than my spouse for the Joint and Survivor Pension?


No, you may not name anyone other than your spouse for survivor benefits under a Joint and Survivor Pension.

Can I elect a beneficiary for the Single Life Pension?


No, the Plan does not pay benefits to anyone after your death. It is payable for your lifetime only.

Can I make changes to the payment option I have chosen after I start my pension?


No, you may not change the payment option you have chosen once your pension has started.

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.

At what age can I retire and receive my pension benefits?


You can retire as early as age 55 if you have at least 10 years of Vesting Service. Your pension will be reduced based on the number of months you retire before age 65. Your monthly benefit is reduced for each year you retire early; this reduction is because you will receive a pension benefit for a longer period of time than if you retire at age 65, your Normal Retirement Age. Alternatively, you may retire at your Normal Retirement Age. You may receive a Disability Pension as early as age 60 if you have met the Plan's Pension Service requirements (10 years) and are determined to have become permanently and totally disabled while working in covered employment (as evidenced by a Social Security Disability Notice of Award). Refer to the Plan's Summary Plan Description for more information.

When do I get my monthly pension; when is it mailed or posted to my account?


Benefit payments are made on or about the first of the month for that month. The best way to guarantee that your pension benefit is available to you about the same day every month is to have it deposited directly into your bank account through our Direct Deposit program. Direct deposit offers you the convenience of having your money available on the first of every month without having to go to the bank, and peace of mind in knowing that your benefit is safely deposited in your account - not delayed in the mail, or sitting in your mailbox while you're away.

Is my pension benefit taxable?


Your pension benefit is taxable because it is considered income for federal tax purposes. If requested, the Plan will deduct federal taxes from your pension check. Special rules apply for retirees who are U.S. citizens and live out of the country.

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


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 get my pension paid out as a Lump Sum?


If the actuarial equivalent lump sum value of the benefits payable to you or your beneficiary is $5,000 or less, the benefits will be paid in the form of a single lump sum rather than a small monthly pension check (e.g., under $30 per month). Such distribution will not require your consent or the consent of your beneficiary and no further benefits will be paid to you or your beneficiary. If the lump sum value of the benefits payable to you or your beneficiary is greater than $5,000, the lump sum payment does not apply and the benefits will be paid as a monthly annuity.

Can I roll over benefits from this Plan into another pension plan or into this Plan from another pension plan or 401(k) plan?


In most instances, no. However, if your pension is payable as a lump sum because the value is less than $5,000, yes.

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


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. 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.

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. If you are receiving a pension from the Plan, your monthly pension benefit will be permanently suspended in any month in which you work in Disqualifying Employment. Disqualifying Employment means employment of 40 hours or more per month for a Contributing Employer in the same trade or craft in which you worked while covered under the Plan. In general, as long as you work in Disqualifying Employment, the Fund cannot pay your pension benefit until the April 1st of the calendar year following the calendar year in which you attained age 70½. However, as long as you continue to work in Covered Employment, you will continue to accrue additional pension credit to the extent required under the Plan. However, if you continue to work in Disqualifying Employment after the April 1st following the year in which you attain age 70½, any additional benefit service earned will be reduced by the value of benefits received. 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 the Plan's Summary Plan Description for additional detail.

Can I change my Joint and Survivor beneficiary after I retire?


No. You cannot change your beneficiary if you are receiving a Joint & Survivor Pension option even if your spouse dies or if you get divorced.

Will I still be eligible for a pension if I'm vested and leave the Plan before I retire?


Yes, you will be eligible for a vested benefit when you retire. The benefit is payable at your normal retirement date (the first day of the month after you turn 65) or at an earlier retirement date if you meet the Plan's early retirement eligibility requirements. Please refer to the SPD for more information.

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.

Building Service 32BJ North Pension Plan
Retirement Services Department
25 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
Attention: Benefit Statement Request

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 benefit, 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.

What happens to my pension benefit if I die before I retire and I am not married?


There are no survivor benefits payable from the Plan if you are not married when you pass away.

Should I keep in touch with the Pension Plan office after I retire or if I leave covered employment before I retire?


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

  • Change your address, or phone number.
  • Change your name. Participants must send any change of name to the Plan office in writing at:

Building Service 32BJ North Pension Plan
Retirement Services Department
25 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

  • Get married, divorced, separated, or become widowed before you retire. Your marital status at the time you retire 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 certified or notarized documents to the Plan office whenever your circumstances change.