Can I take out my money?
You are not allowed to withdraw your pension benefit unless your membership in the Plan has terminated, as mentioned below, or if you become disabled, or if you are 55 or older. If you do qualify for transfer options, note that pension benefits are locked-in, which means that even once they are transferred to a bank or elsewhere, laws limit the amount you may withdraw each month. Please read more about “locking-in” below.
What does “terminated” mean? Am I going to lose my pension?
No, if you become a terminated member of the Plan, this just means you have a different membership status in the Plan. If you work less than a total of 350 hours in a 2-year period, your status in the Plan changes from active to terminated, which simply means you have the option to transfer you pension benefit from the Plan. The specific rules for this and other pension topics depend on where you last worked, because each province has different pension laws. For details of your specific benefit, please contact the Plan administrator, D.A. Townley, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-663-1356.
How can I get a larger pension?
Your pension is directly related to the number of hours you work under this plan in each year and the age you retire. In general, your pension will be larger if you work more hours and if you retire later.
How much is my pension?
Your pension benefit, the total of employer contributions with interest, is shown on your annual pension statement that is sent out at around the end of May of each year.
What is meant by “locked-in”?
Essentially, it means you cannot withdraw your pension benefit in one lump sum, unless you meet certain requirements. Contributions in pension plans like this one must be locked-in, meaning withdrawals are restricted, to meet provincial pension laws. “Locked-in” means the funds must be used for providing a monthly retirement income, and cannot be withdrawn in one lump sum.
Can I retire then work again and earn more pension?
Yes. Once you reach 55 you may withdraw your pension from the Plan. When you return to work, as long as you are under 72, if you work for an employer that contributes to this Plan, you will be treated as if you were a new Member of the Plan. Members may only “retire” from the Plan once a year.
What happens if I die before retirement?
Your spouse or beneficiary will be entitled to the contributions your employers have contributed on your behalf, with interest. If you have a spouse and she or he has not filed a spousal waiver, your spouse may elect to transfer the death benefit to a locked-in retirement account or, under certain conditions, to another pension plan or use it to purchase a deferred life annuity or life income fund. He or she can also use it to buy an annuity to provide lifetime retirement income.
If you do not have a spouse, or if your spouse has filed a spousal waiver, your beneficiary (or your estate) will receive the death benefit. Death benefit payments to beneficiaries are taxable, so tax must be withheld if the death benefit does not go to your spouse.
When you name someone as your beneficiary please advise him or her and give them the information on how to contact the Plan Administrator. When you change your beneficiary, please advise the Plan Administrator. If you have not completed and filed a beneficiary card recently, please complete the necessary enrolment card and send it to the Plan Administrator.
Does my ex have a right to part of my pension?
You and your former spouse may reach an agreement on how to divide your pension benefit, if at all. If you do not reach an agreement and there is no applicable court order, family law will dictate how the Plan Administrator must proceed, because pension benefits are considered family assets.
If your former spouse files a claim with the plan administrator for a portion of your pension, she (or he) may be entitled to a portion of your pension benefits.