On Sunday, November 20th, members age 59-65 were invited to attend a meeting to learn more about the Worker Retention Program (WRP), which was approved by Pension Fund Trustees earlier this month in an effort to meet the current need for skilled workers.
The program will provide an incentive for members who choose to work past their normal retirement age in order to address the immediate labor needs as well as offset any costs of the incentive to both the Pension Fund and the Retiree Welfare Plan.
Under the program, members who work at least one year past their normal retirement age and work at least 800 hours in that year would be eligible for a WRP benefit. For each month an eligible member worked past their normal retirement age, he or she would accumulate a WRP benefit equal to his or her accrued benefit at Normal Retirement Age. That is, the pension benefit that a member would receive had he or she retired would be set aside and paid out upon retirement as a WRP benefit in addition to pension benefits at that time.
In accordance with federal guidelines and restrictions, that benefit would be paid out in monthly installments that cannot exceed that member’s Social Security Benefit at Normal Retirement Age.
The total accumulated benefit would be paid out in monthly installments until:
- member reaches Social Security Normal Retirement Age, or
- accumulated benefits are paid out in full.
Each member’s circumstances are different, and the Retirement Services Group will be available to assist members as they near retirement on the potential benefits of the WRP to them.
All members are allowed to “un-retire” once, so members who are currently retired may want to consider the program as well.
This is not a vested benefit. It is structured as a temporary benefit within the confines of federal law, and at the discretion of the Trustees, the program can modify or end the WRP if labor conditions warrant.
Members will receive a letter shortly with more information about their eligibility for the WRP, so unless you are planning to retire in the next month or two, there is no need to do anything else at this time.
If you are under 65 and have already retired, and have questions about the WRP, please call MOE Retirement Services at (708) 579-6630.