New York State Teamsters Conference
Pension & Retirement Fund
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No. Under MPRA, if you are receiving a disability pension from the Fund you are protected from benefit reductions.
I was receiving a disability pension from the Fund, but I converted my disability pension to a non-disability pension. Will my pension be reduced?
No. If you were previously receiving a disability pension from the Fund, but subsequently converted to a non-disability pension upon reaching normal retirement age, your benefit will not be reduced.
I am receiving a normal pension, but could now qualify for a disability pension. Can I convert my normal pension to a disability pension?
The Fund’s rules do not permit you to switch from a normal pension to a disability pension.
I am disabled and receiving Social Security disability benefits, but am not receiving a disability pension from the Fund. Will my pension be reduced?
Yes. MPRA does not apply the disability-based protection to Social Security disability benefits. If you are receiving a disability benefit from the Social Security Administration, you will be subject to benefit reductions unless you are also receiving a disability pension from Fund.
Do the benefit reductions called for in the PPP apply to participants whose benefits are subject to a QDRO?
Yes, the benefit reductions called for under the PPP will apply to participants and the ex-spouses (or “Alternate Payees”) under a QDRO subject to MPRA’s limitations and the terms of the QDRO in place.
The application of benefit reductions between the participant and the alternate payee depends on the type of QDRO and how it is split. There are QDROs where the alternate payee receives what is known as a “separate interest,” which separates the benefit into two pieces and allows the alternate payee to select a retirement date different from the participant. In these situations, the participant’s benefit is determined using the participant’s age as of July 31, 2017, and uses his or her retirement date and form of benefit (for example, Joint and Survivor 75% option) to determine the amount of the reduction. The alternate payee’s benefit is determined using his or her age as of July 31, 2017, and uses their retirement date and form of benefit to determine the amount of the reduction. Another type of QDRO is the “shared payment.” In these situations, the retirement date is controlled by the participant.
QDROs can use either a “percentage” or the “fixed amount” method of determining the payment to the alternate payee. If the QDRO specifies a percentage, then the reduction applies according to the percentage in the QDRO. If the QDRO specifies that the alternate payee is to receive a fixed amount, then Fund is required to comply with the existing court order and pay the fixed amount to the alternate payee—if the amount of the overall benefit is sufficient. If more than the fixed amount remains after the PPP benefit reductions, then the participant receives the remainder. If less than the fixed amount remains, then the alternate payee’s benefit is reduced to that amount—and the participant receives nothing. The result flows from the way that the court order is drafted.
Will there be any adjustments to the Fund’s post-retirement employment rules in light of the PPP? And if so, how will the rules be modified?
Yes. Recognizing the hardship that these benefit reductions will likely have on Retirees, the Trustees have modified the post-retirement employment rules to make it easier to return to work without the penalty of a pension suspension. This change is effective September 1, 2016.
Effective September 1, 2016, a participant who has not attained Normal Retirement Age will be allowed to return to (bargaining or non-bargaining unit) work in any trade, craft or industry covered by the Fund and in the Fund’s geographic location as long as he or she works less than 1,000 hours in a year.
However, a participant who has not attained Normal Retirement Age is still not entitled to a benefit, to the extent such benefit accrues on or after January 1, 2000, for any month in which he is employed (in bargaining or non-bargaining work) by an employer that competes with a contributing employer to the Fund.
Effective September 1, 2016, a participant who has attained Normal Retirement Age will be allowed to return to work in any trade, craft or industry covered by the Fund, work in a trade or craft where he or she worked as an Active Participant in the Fund, or work in the Fund’s geographic location as long as he or she works less than 1,000 hours in a year.
The Fund’s other post-retirement employment rules not modified above remain effective. This change in the Post-Retirement Employment Rules will be automatically repealed in the event the PPP does not go into effect.