You earn a permanent right to a retirement benefit as soon as you become Vested. On the other hand, no benefits are payable under this Plan unless you become Vested.
Your retirement benefits are not guaranteed until you become Vested in this Plan. Vested benefits are not available until you retire. Other Plan benefits such as death benefits are not available until you become Vested in this Plan and satisfy certain other requirements.
As of September of 1999, you “Vest” by accumulating five full years of Vesting Credit or Eligibility Credit, excluding any Vesting Credit or Eligibility Credit lost due to a Permanent Break in Service. Prior to 1999, ten years or more were required to become Vested.
Vesting Credit determines whether you have a right to any benefits at all. A Participant earns a Vesting Credit for at least 870 Hours of Work in Covered Employment in a calendar year.
Eligibility Credit determines the type of retirement benefit you may receive. A Participant earns an Eligibility Credit for 1,200 Hours in Covered Employment in a calendar year.
Credit is generally earned through Covered Employment, however Credit may be granted for periods of Disability, Qualified Military Service, Apprenticeship, employment under a Memorandum of Understanding, or Continuous Non-Covered Employment.
Benefit Credit determines the amount of your retirement benefits.
Permanent Breaks in Service
A Permanent Break in Service cancels all prior credit earned, but may be repaired.