Death Benefits

Overview

If you are Retired, were married throughout the one-year period ending on your death and elected a Joint and Survivor Pension payment form, upon your death, your Pension will be converted to a Survivor Pension of 50%, 75% or 100% of the payment while you and your Spouse were both alive. The percentage of the Survivor Pension was determined at the point of Retirement.

If you are Retired and were not married at Retirement, or were not married throughout the one-year period ending on your death the Pension Plan offers a “Guarantee Period” on Single Life Pensions. A Single Life Disability Guarantees a minimum of 36 payments and all other Pensions guarantee a minimum of 60 payments. If you become deceased before the minimum number of months are paid, your Beneficiary will receive monthly benefits until the Guarantee Period is complete.

For purposes of the Guarantee Period, a Beneficiary is the surviving Spouse if you are married or if not married, the Beneficiary is anyone of your choosing.

Pre-Retirement Death Benefit

If you meet the eligibility requirements and die before your Pension Effective Date, the Plan provides the following pre-retirement death benefits:

  • Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension which is a lifetime pension for your surviving Spouse; or
  • Pre-Retirement Death Benefit payable to your surviving Spouse, or if no surviving Spouse, your designated Beneficiary.


Please note that if you should die after you retire, but prior to your Pension Effective Date, any payment form election you previously made will become invalid.

Death benefits will be paid as either a Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension or a Pre-Retirement Death Benefit.

The Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension is payable to your qualified Spouse if, at the time of your death, you:

  • Were married throughout the one-year period ending on the date of your death; and
  • Had satisfied the service requirements necessary to become a Vested Participant prior to your death.


Exception: A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) may provide that, in the case of your death, your former Spouse will receive all or a portion of any death benefits.

Pre-Retirement Death Benefits are not payable if the Participant’s surviving Spouse is entitled to a Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension, unless the Spouse elects to waive the Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension in favor of the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit.

Payment of the Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension to your qualified spouse will ordinarily begin the month following the date of your death, however, if you die prior to the earliest date on which you would have qualified to receive a pension under the Plan, payment of the Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension will not begin until the earliest date on which you could receive a pension benefit had you survived, qualified for a pension and terminated Covered Employment.

Your qualified surviving Spouse may elect to delay the beginning of her Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension to some specified future date, but no later than December 1 of the year you would have turned age 70½. In that case, the benefit amount will be determined as if you had survived to the date your qualified surviving Spouse elects to begin receiving that benefit, retired at that age with an immediate Joint and Survivor Pension and died the next day.  If your surviving Spouse dies before the date she elects to begin receiving the Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension, the benefit is forfeited and there will be no payments to any other Beneficiary.

The Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension payable to your qualified surviving Spouse is equal to one-half the monthly pension that you would have received had you Retired the day prior to your death and elected to receive your pension under the 50% Joint and Survivor Pension. However, if you died prior to reaching your earliest retirement date or your surviving Spouse elects to delay payment of the benefit, it will be calculated as if you Retired and elected to receive your pension under the 50% Joint and Survivor Pension and died prior to the date when the benefit becomes payable to your Spouse.

Pre-Retirement Death Benefit is payable if you had at least 10 full Eligibility Credits or Related Pension Credits earned with an affiliated Northern California plan (excluding any Eligibility Credits or Related Pension Credits lost due to a Permanent Break in Service) and died before your Pension Effective Date.

However, the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit is not payable if you had any work in Non-Covered Employment with an employer who did not contribute to this Plan and have not repaired the period of Non-Covered Employment.

If you are married on your date of death, the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit will be paid to your lawful surviving Spouse. If your surviving Spouse also qualified for the Surviving Spouse 50% Joint and Survivor Pension, he or she may elect one or the other benefit, but cannot receive both. If you are not married on your date of death, this benefit is payable to any Beneficiary you have designated.

The amount of the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit is determined in the same manner as a Regular Pension and is paid monthly beginning with the month following your death until a total of 36 monthly payments have been made to the Spouse or Beneficiary.

Post-Retirement Death Benefit

Any death benefits payable after retirement will depend on how you choose to have your benefits paid. For example, if you elected the 50% Joint and Survivor Pension, your benefit will be payable according to those provisions.  If you retire on a Regular, Early, Service or Reciprocal Pension, but you do not elect the 50% , 75% or the 100% Joint and Survivor Pension and you die before you had received 60 monthly payments, (36 monthly payments in the case of a Disability or Reciprocal Disability Pension) the balance of the 60 payments (36 for a Disability or Reciprocal Disability Pension) will be paid to your lawful surviving Spouse if you were married at the time of death, or to your designated Beneficiary if you were not married.

For Example: You retired on a Regular, Early or Service Pension and are receiving $900 per month and you waived the 50% Joint and Survivor Pension form of benefit in favor of the Single-Life Pension with a 60-month guarantee. If you die after receiving 23 pension payments, your lawful surviving Spouse or Beneficiary would continue to receive $900.00 per month for the months, so that a total of 60 monthly payments would be made.

If you were receiving a Disability or Reciprocal Disability Pension, your lawful surviving Spouse or Beneficiary would continue to receive $900.00 per month after your death for only 13 more months, so a total of 36 monthly payments would be made.

Exception: A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) may provide that, in the case of your death, your former Spouse will receive all or a portion of any death benefits.

You may designate a Beneficiary only on a form provided by the Trustees, which is available under “Forms & Documents” on this website.

Summary Plan Description

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