If you retire on or after April 1, 1996 and have not yet reached your unreduced Social Security Retirement Age, you may elect the Level Income Option in conjunction with the 60-Month Guarantee or 50% Husband-and-Wife Option.
The Level Income Option provides nearly equal monthly retirement payments to you before and after you become eligible for Social Security benefits. Under this option, the Plan pays a higher benefit before your Social Security Retirement benefits begin to account for Social Security benefits you have not yet begun to receive. After you start receiving your Social Security Retirement benefits, pension payments from the Plan will be lower to account for Social Security benefits you are receiving.
Once payment under the Level Income Option is approved by the Trustees, there will be no changes in the amount of the monthly benefits paid by the Plan, regardless of the amount actually paid by Social Security.
If you retire under the Level Income Option, you must request an estimate of your reduced Social Security benefit payable at age 62 or your unreduced Social Security Retirement Age (which varies, depending on your date of birth and can be age 65 up to age 67, see Social Security) from the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration will need to know your Social Security number and your current earnings. You must file a copy of this report with the Fund Office. The Plan will use the information to determine the amount of your monthly pension benefit.
Payment of the Level Income Option is subject to the following conditions:
- The Level Income Option can be elected only prior to the approval of your pension application by the Trustees. Thereafter, you may not elect a Level Income Option, even following subsequent reemployment. Once the Level Income Option is approved by the Board of Trustees, it cannot be revoked.
- If the benefit adjustment would reduce the monthly amount payable after age 62 or your unreduced Social Security Retirement age to less than $25 a month, you cannot elect this option.
- The Level Income Option may not be elected in connection with the Partial Lump Sum Option or the 75% or 100% Husband-and-Wife Options.
- The Level Income Option may not be elected or received in connection with a Disability Pension under this Plan.
Calculating the Level Income Option
Pensions payable in the Level Income Option form will be adjusted based on factors determined by the Fund’s actuary. These factors change each year on July 1 based on interest rates and mortality table defined by federal law.
Your estimated Social Security benefit will be multiplied by an actuarial factor corresponding to your age on the date pension benefits begin. The resulting amount will be added to the monthly pension amount you would otherwise receive from the Plan. If you had not reached age 62 or the unreduced Social Security Age by November 1, 2007, payment of this higher monthly amount will be made until the first of the month following the month in which you reach age 62 or your unreduced Social Security Retirement Age. At that time, the monthly amount you are receiving from this Plan will be reduced by the estimated Social Security benefit used in the original pension calculation.
If you elect a 50% Husband-and-Wife Option with the Level Income Option, benefits are determined as follows:
Step 1: Determine the monthly amount of the pension without adjustment for the 50% Husband-and-Wife Option or the Level Income Option form of payment.
Step 2: Adjust the amount for the 50% Husband-and-Wife Option
Step 3: Adjust the amount for the Level Income Option amounts to be paid according to this section.
If you die before your spouse, he or she will receive 50% of the amount payable prior to adjustment for the Level Income Option.
Jim, an unmarried participant, is retiring at age 60 as of October 1, 2010 and is entitled to a pension of $1,500.00 a month for life from the Fund. At age 62, Jim will be entitled to a Social Security benefit of $1,100.00 per month.
Under the Level Income Option, Jim will be paid a benefit of $2,442.81, rounded to $2,443.00 per month from the Fund until the first of the month following the month in which he reaches age 62, and then a benefit of $1,343.00 per month for life after age 62 (instead of the $1,500 per month that he would have received as a single life benefit beginning at age 60 and payable for life). When the lower pension amount becomes payable at age 62, Jim will continue to receive $2,443.00 per month ($1,343.00 from the Fund and $1,100.00 from Social Security).
Please note that, if you are married, you can elect this option in conjunction with the 50% Husband-and-Wife Option. In the prior example, if Jim were married, had chosen the 50% Husband-and-Wife Option, and he and his wife were both age 60, his monthly benefit before age 62 would be $2,292.81, rounded to $2,293.00 and his monthly benefit beginning at age 62 would be $1,193.00. Upon his death, his spouse will receive one‐half of the $1,350 (90% reduction for the 50% Husband‐and‐Wife Option x $1,500 = $1,350) Jim would have received as a regular 50% Husband-and-Wife Option, or $675.00, for the remainder of her lifetime.