If I retire now, when will I get my first check?

Current processing time depends in our receipt of all completed documents. We recommend that you apply six months in advance if possible. If you have submitted a Pension Credit Request in the past, your retirement application will require less time.

I am too young to retire now. At what age can I retire?

Once you are vested for a pension benefit, you are eligible to receive your unreduced benefit upon the attainment of age 65. You may be eligible for a reduced Early Pension benefit as early as age 55 if you accumulated at least 10 Years of Vesting Service, or at least 5 Years of Vesting Service and accumulated at least 435 Hours of Service in the Plan Year (July 1 to June 30) immediately preceding your retirement date.

I am not yet vested. Will I lose my service?

If you separate from Covered Employment, you must accumulate 435 Hours of Service with a participating Employer within five (5) Plan Years (July 1 to June 30) in order to prevent a Permanent Break in Service. If you do not accumulate this required number of Hours of Service within the designated number of Plan Years, then all your service will be cancelled.

Can I pay into my own pension fund?

No. The National Pension Fund is a multi-employer defined benefit Plan funded exclusively by Employer Contributions pursuant to Collective Bargaining Agreements. Under the terms of the Plan, a Participant’s only entitlement to assets is the right to receive a pension upon satisfying the age and service requirement for a pension. There are no separate accounts set up for individual Participants; therefore a Participant can make no withdrawal of Employer Contributions.

What if I work for another union store that is part of the UFCW but is not a participating Employer of the National Pension Fund?

The National Pension Fund has entered into reciprocal agreements with more than 45 other UFCW pension funds. Your service with another Fund can be combined with your service under the National Pension Fund to vest you (make you eligible) for a benefit with the National Pension Fund. Please feel free to contact the National Pension Fund Office to see if a reciprocal agreement exists between your other pension fund and the National Pension Fund.

How does Level Income Option work for National Pension Fund benefits?

This form of payment provides a higher monthly benefit amount to you before Social Security benefits begin and a lower monthly amount after Social Security benefits begin. Eligibility and calculation of this benefit is dependent upon your National Pension Fund calculated single-life benefit, your estimated Social Security benefits, your current age and the age in which you anticipate receiving your Social Security benefits. This form of payment does not provide for survivor benefits.

How do the early retirement factors affect me?

The earliest age you can retire, except under a Disability, is 55. Please be advised that your Early Pension benefit may be reduced differently depending on a number of factors including when you became a Participant of the National Pension Fund and when you separate from Covered Employment. For further clarification, please click on the following document: Summary Plan Description.

What types of documents do I need to gather to send in with my application?

Once you have notified the Fund Office either over the phone or in writing that you intend to retire, you will receive a complete Retirement Application packet which will detail the additional documents you will need to submit along with the completed forms. These additional documents include, but may not be limited to, copies of your proof of age, your spouse’s proof of age, marriage certificate(s), complete divorce decree(s), death certificate if applicable, and proof of all name changes. Please note that you may submit your application online by accessing the apply online tab in the left hand column.

Can my monthly benefit be directly deposited into my bank account?

Yes. The Trustees of the National Pension Fund have implemented a plan that provides distribution of pension benefit payments by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), similar to the way Social Security payments are made. You will have the option of completing an authorization form, in its entirety, to utilize this feature. Your monthly EFT benefit payment will be in your account at the beginning of the first business day of each month. Please allow up to three (3) months for an electronic deposit request to take effect.

What if I have additional questions?

Please feel free to talk to one of our Participant Services Representatives between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm Central Time at (800) 531-2385 and ask for a Summary Plan Description . Or write the National Pension Fund Office at PO Box 6000, Frankfort, IL 60423-6000.