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.
I received a “termination statement”. What does “terminated” mean? Am I going to lose my pension?
No, 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.
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 “Locked-in” means the funds must be used for monthly retirement income, and cannot be withdrawn in one lump sum.
Beware of scams!
Some companies advertise ways to get around locking-in rules, often on a “tax free” basis. They may say that if you invest in a particular company you will be able to withdraw most of the funds invested, less a fee, or they may loan you funds from your own locked-in account and charge interest on that loan. While they may claim the money is still “invested”, you can be taxed on any amounts withdrawn from your locked-in account, even if you never receive any cash from the deal.
Be wary of offers that sound too good to be true. Many are scams that charge high fees and, in some cases, cause investors to lose all of their savings. If you have questions, call the Plan administrator, or the bank or financial institution where your retirement savings are held.
How do I “re-join” the plan?
Each month, participating employers report any hours you have worked to the administrator and also send in the corresponding required employer contributions for those hours worked. These hours’ reports and contributions automatically triggers your entrance into the plan as a new member (or re-entrance, if you were a member before). You must also complete and enrolment form so we have your correct beneficiary and contact details. If you have not received and completed an enrolment form please contact D.A. Townley.
I am not paying union dues anymore. Will I lose my pension benefits?
No, pension benefits are not affected by union dues.
Why did I receive an “enrolment card” when I stopped work years ago?
We use the same form for both enrolments and beneficiary updates. You may receive an enrolment card from D.A. Townley, so that the Plan administrator can have up-to-date beneficiary information. Please complete and return the form if you have received an “enrolment” form, so that we can continue to reach you or your beneficiary with important pension information.