-Is a benefit payable to a beneficiary if I die before reaching age 65?
Yes. If you are vested and die before reaching age 65, your spouse, if you are married, or your designated beneficiary, if you are unmarried, may choose either a one-time lump sum benefit or a life-time monthly pension.
-Can I leave a benefit to my spouse?
Yes. If you are married, your spouse must be your beneficiary unless he or she agrees to waive the benefit. If your spouse agrees or if you are single, you may name any individual as your beneficiary. The amount of your pension will then be reduced depending on the difference in age between you and your beneficiary, as well as the percentage amount which you choose to leave (either 50%, 75% or 100% of your benefit). Upon your death, your beneficiary would then continue to receive a monthly benefit for the rest of his or her life. Note that as of June 26, 2013, if you are legally married (based on the law of the state of celebration of the marriage) to an individual of the same sex, you and your spouse will be treated the same as spouses of the opposite sex, regardless of your state of residence.
-When can I begin receiving my pension?
Normal retirement age is 65, although an early retirement option is available at 62, assuming you have met all of the eligibility requirements. You must file a written application with the Board of Directors on a form that you can request from the Funds Office. Your application must be filed at least three months prior to the effective date of your pension.
-What is vested status?
Once you are vested your right to a pension from the Plan is assured. You are vested if you have worked under SDC contracts subject to employer contributions in each of five years with no permanent break in service. (see Eligibility). If all of your SDC employment occurred prior to September 1, 1999, seven-year vesting is required.