Annuity Fund

The Iron Workers' Locals No. 15 and 424 Annuity Plan was created on July 1, 1981 to supplement the retirement benefits that you receive from the Iron Workers' Locals No. 15 and 424 Pension Plan. Through the Annuity Plan, individual accounts are created for participants. Employer contributions are made to these accounts for each employee working as an iron worker in the jurisdiction of Local No. 15 or Local No. 424.

The Annuity Fund description in these pages is only a brief general description of some important provisions of the Plan. Please refer to the Summary Plan Description, SMMs and the Plan Document for more detailed descriptions of the Annuity Fund. We want to stress here that it is possible that different Annuity Plan rules could apply to you, because the rules in effect when you last worked in Covered Employment are generally the rules that apply to you.

When do I become eligible to participate in the Plan?

You will become a Participant in the Annuity Plan on the day you first work at least one hour in Covered Employment for a Contributing Employer.

How much will be contributed for me?

The hourly contribution amount is set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Contributing Employers and your Local Union. The Collective Bargaining Agreement currently in effect (as of June 27, 2016) requires contributions of $5.21 for each paid hour of work in Covered Employment.  Other amounts may apply for a Participant who is covered under the Annuity Plan by a Participation Agreement.

How does my Account get set up?

The Fund, with assistance from the administrator of the Self-Directed Investment Program, currently the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company or "MassMutual," will establish an Account on your behalf once you become a Participant.

What is the Self-Directed Investment Program?

The Self-Directed Program gives you (or your Beneficiary) the ability, and the responsibility, to control how your contributions and Plan Account are invested. You (or your Beneficiary) can determine how to invest your contributions and Plan Account by choosing from among a broad range of investment alternatives.

What are my options for investing my Account?

The Trustees, with assistance from an independent investment consultant, have selected several investment funds from which you may choose when investing your contributions and Plan Account. There are currently around 20 investment alternatives that have different investment concentrations, levels of risk and associated fees. The number of available funds may change from time to time. You can review the current lineup of investment options on the MassMutual website.

How do I change my investments?

The Self-Directed Investment Program allows you to change either the way your new contributions (future contributions) are invested, or the way your current Plan Account is invested, or both, on a daily basis. Go to the Contacts page for more information about how to contact MassMutual. While you can provide these investment instructions any day, remember that it may take MassMutual a short time to implement the instructions (for example, if you provide the instructions on a weekend or holiday).

How will I know the value of my Account?

Your Plan Account is valued on a daily basis (on days that the stock market is open), and MassMutual has set up a toll-free number and website for you to use to find out the applicable value. Written reports detailing the activity in your Account will be sent to you at least quarterly. You can also elect to receive electronic reports instead.

How will I know what the value of my Account will be when I retire?

MassMutual will mail you written reports detailing the activity in your Account at least quarterly. The investment choices that you make under the Self-Directed Investment Program will determine to a large extent how much you have available from your Account when you retire or otherwise take a distribution. There are also other variables, including the Plan’s administrative expenses and whether you receive one or more In-Service Distribution(s) from your Account. The values of your investment choices are subject to fluctuation, so it is impossible to know for sure how much will be in your Account at a future date.

How will my contributions and Account be invested if I don’t make an investment election?

It is your responsibility to register your investment choices for all of your contributions and your Account. If you do not make an investment election regarding how your contributions and Account should be invested, those monies will be placed in a "default" investment option for you. Based on final regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Trustees, acting on the advice of their investment professional, have selected the Plan's current "default" investment option. Go to the MassMutual website to learn about the current default investment option. Please be aware that if you have been a Participant for many years and have never registered your investment choices, your Account may be in two or three different options due to the fact that the "default" investment option has changed over time.

When will I be vested in my Account?

You are always 100% vested in the value of the contributions properly made and properly allocated to your Account. However, it is important to remember that being "vested" does not provide protection against investment losses. If the investment option(s) chosen for your Account should lose value because of poor investment results, that loss of value will be reflected in your Account balance. A portion of the administrative expenses of operating the Plan are also subtracted from your Account at regular intervals.

When may I receive payments?

You may be eligible to receive payments from the Plan as of the last day of the month after:

In order to qualify for Normal Retirement, you must:

  • reach age 65, and
  • no longer engage in Covered or Non-Covered Employment.

In order to qualify for Early Retirement you must:

  • be eligible for early retirement from the Iron Workers' Locals No. 15 and 424 Pension Fund (currently, you must be age 55 and have 10 Pension Credits under Pension Fund rules), and
  • no longer engage in Covered or Non-Covered Employment.

In order to qualify for Disability Retirement, you must meet the Annuity Plan's definition of a Disabled Participant. This means that:

  1. You are unable to work as an iron worker, or in any comparable employment, by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or to be of long continued and indefinite duration, and
  2. Your disability has been continuous for a period of six months and began while you were in Covered Employment or within 30 days after you left Covered Employment, and
  3. Your disability is not, directly or indirectly, a result of: (1) military service, (2) engaging in a felonious criminal act, (3) injuries sustained while legally intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, ( 4) an intentionally self-inflicted injury, (5) declared or undeclared war or any enemy action, or (6) injuries suffered in Non-Covered Employment, and
  4. You worked in Covered Employment and contributions were received for you for at least 100 hours in one of the two Plan Years (July 1 - June 30) before the Plan Year in which you became disabled.

In reviewing your claim of disability, the Trustees may make any necessary investigations and may require additional physical examinations or diagnostic tests, performed by a doctor selected and paid for by the Trustees. The Trustees will decide if you meet the Annuity Plan's rules based on the information submitted and are entitled to rely on the information you provide. No payments will be made on a Disability Retirement basis if the Trustees determine that you are no longer disabled (for example, you are able to return to work as an iron worker). Also, for purposes of the rule in B, above, the Plan will not consider you to have "left" Covered Employment if you are continuously registered with either Local Union 15 or Local Union 424 as available for work and you have been accepting work in Covered Employment when offered.

In order to qualify for Service Retirement, you must:

  • be eligible for a service pension from the Iron Workers' Locals No. 15 and 424 Pension Fund (currently, you must have 30 Pension Credits in the Pension Fund's jurisdiction, and have earned one-tenth of a Pension Credit in the Pension Fund's jurisdiction between July 1, 1973 and June 30, 1974 if you were a Pension Fund participant prior to July 1, 1974), and
  • no longer engage in Covered or Non-Covered Employment.

You will become a Terminated Participant on the first day of the month after you have gone 24 consecutive months without working in Covered or Non-Covered Employment.

You may qualify for a Service Separation distribution if you have gone 12 consecutive months without working in Covered or Non-Covered Employment and your Account balance is $5,000 or less. The Plan also provides for Service Separations in other very specific situations where you have not worked in Covered or Non-Covered Employment for set periods and time, including when: (i) you have moved out of Connecticut and joined another Ironworkers local union in your new state, (ii) you have accepted a position with a non-profit organization outside of the United States, (iii) you have a medically-documented serious medical condition or terminal illness, or (iv) you are unable to work due to legal restraint (incarceration). If you believe you might qualify for a Service Separation due to one of the four reasons listed above, please contact the Executive Director for more information.

The Plan's rules regarding an In-Service Distribution are discussed a bit later.

You also may receive a portion of your Account if you qualify for an In-Service Distribution.

Please note that in order to be eligible for benefits you must submit a properly completed Application for Benefits.

Do I have to pay federal income tax on amounts I receive from the Annuity Fund?

Since the tax laws are constantly changing, it is suggested that you check with your own tax advisor to help you understand the tax consequences of any Annuity Plan distribution. Here are the basic rules taking into account current (as of April 2016) tax laws.

Amounts distributed from the Annuity Fund, including In-Service distributions, are taxed as ordinary income for federal and Connecticut income tax purposes. Generally, distributions payable under the Plan in excess of minimum levels set by the IRS are subject to Federal income tax withholding, in most cases at a mandatory 20% rate. Connecticut does not require income tax withholding on distributions from the Fund, but you may elect to have amounts withheld from your distribution to be credited toward your Connecticut income taxes. Contact the Fund Office to obtain the appropriate Connecticut withholding form. Under certain circumstances, you may defer payment of taxes and/or avoid the mandatory 20% Federal income tax withholding by "rolling over" a lump sum payment or other eligible rollover distribution to another qualified retirement plan or individual retirement account through a Direct Rollover. The mandatory 20% withholding described above does not apply to benefits paid under the Plan in the form of a Life Annuity or a Joint and Survivor Annuity. When these benefits are paid, federal income tax withholding at a 10% rate is required unless you elect not to have such taxes withheld. Assuming the mandatory 20% rate does not apply to you, you or your Spouse or Beneficiary may make a withholding election by filing an IRS Form W4-P and/or Connecticut Form CT W4-P with the Fund Office. You may revoke the election at any time by simply filing a new Form W4-P and/or CT W4-P with the Fund Office.

Sometimes, as a result of changes to the federal income tax rates and withholding tables, a smaller amount is required to be withheld from monthly payments than before the change, resulting in a larger monthly payment from the Fund to you (this usually happens when the amount of withholding is tied to your marital status and the number of exemptions you claim). In such a situation, unless you file a new withholding Form W4-P and/or CT W4-P election with the Fund Office, the Fund will consider the additional amount of withholding resulting from the new tables as your election to have additional withholding taken out of your larger monthly payment. This same principle will apply to future changes in the federal income tax rates and/or withholding tables that affect any monthly payments to you. Any election or revocation will be effective no later than the January 1, April 1, July 1, or October 1 after the Fund Office receives it, provided the Fund Office receives it at least 30 days before the applicable date.

You must begin to withdraw from your Account by the April 1st following the calendar year in which you turn 70-1/2 or, if you are still actively working at that time, the date you retire. Under current tax laws, you will incur substantial penalties if you delay payment beyond that date.

If you are considering a retirement or other distribution, we strongly recommend that you consult with a qualified tax advisor. Please be aware that the Trustees, the Fund Office, and/or the administrator of the Plan's Self-Directed Investment Program cannot give tax or legal advice on particular situations.

What is a Direct Rollover?

If you receive a distribution from the Annuity Plan in a lump sum, you generally can roll over all or a portion of the distribution to an individual retirement account or annuity ("IRA"), to another qualified employer plan, to a Section 403(b) annuity, or to a Section 457(b) governmental plan. This is known as a "Direct Rollover" and will result in tax not being due until you begin withdrawing funds from the IRA, the qualified employer plan, the Section 403(b) annuity or the Section 457(b) governmental plan. The rollover of the distribution, however, must be made within strict timeframes (normally within 60 days after you receive your distribution). Also, if your distribution is eligible for rollover treatment and you do not elect to have a direct rollover of your distribution made to an IRA, to another qualified employer plan, to a Section 403(b) annuity or to a Section 457(b) governmental plan, mandatory 20% Federal income tax withholding will apply to the distribution. For example, if you have attained your Normal Retirement Age and want to receive a lump sum payment of the entire value of your Account (meaning you do not want a Direct Rollover), the Fund is required by law to withhold 20% of the balance for Federal income tax withholding and to forward that amount to the IRS. You may also elect to have Connecticut income tax withholding. The remainder is distributed directly to you.

Under certain circumstances, all or a portion of a distribution may not qualify for rollover treatment. For example, the Joint and Survivor Annuity and Life Annuity options do not qualify for Direct Rollover treatment.

Further information about Direct Rollovers and the procedures for accomplishing a Direct Rollover will be provided to you by the Fund Office or the Fund's Self-Directed Investment Program Provider before a distribution is made from the Plan that is eligible for Direct Rollover treatment. Again, we strongly encourage you to consult a qualified tax advisor regarding the advantages and disadvantages of a Direct Rollover in your specific situation.

Are there tax penalties if I withdraw from my Account prior to age 59-1/2? Are there tax penalties if I wait to take a withdrawal from my Account until I am older than age 70-1/2?

The basic answer is: Yes. A distribution to you from the Plan before you attain age 59-1/2 may result in an additional tax equal to 10% of the amount of the distribution. This additional tax is not imposed in limited situations allowed by the IRS, for example, if the distribution is made on account of your death or disability, or if made under a specialized court order known as a QDRO. Payments under the Joint and Survivor Annuity or Life Annuity will not incur the additional tax, but payments as a lump sum likely will. If the 10% additional tax applies to you, please be aware that it is your responsibility to report and pay the tax when you file your federal income tax return. The Fund is not otherwise responsible for notifying you of the 10% additional tax or for taking any other action. Again, this information is not intended to be tax or financial planning advice. As we have been stressing, the Fund encourages you to consult with your tax advisor because your situation may involve other rules or the tax laws may change.

You must also begin to withdraw monies from your Account by the April 1st following the calendar year in which you reach age 70-1/2 or, if you are still actively working at that time, the date you retire. Under current law, you may incur very substantial penalties if you delay payments beyond that date. In any situation described above, to be clear, we again recommend that you consult with your tax advisor.

How will payment be made to me?

If your Account value is $5,000 or less (and never exceeded that amount), you will receive payment in a lump sum. If your Account value exceeds $5,000, you will receive payment:

  • If you are married, as a Joint and Survivor Annuity unless you and your Spouse elect a lump sum, installments, or another available payment form, such as a lump sum; or
  • If you are not married, as a Life Annuity or, if you so elect, in a lump sum, installments, or another available payment form, such as a lump sum.

How will my benefits be paid if I am married?

If you are married, and your Account balance exceeds $5,000, your Account balance will be applied to the purchase of a Joint and Survivor Annuity unless you elect otherwise and your Spouse consents. A Joint and Survivor Annuity will be payable through a contract issued by an insurance company providing you with monthly payments for the rest of your life. Upon your death, the Joint and Survivor Annuity will continue payments to your surviving Spouse (this is the Spouse to whom you were married when your Annuity Plan payments initially commenced) for the rest of his or her life in an amount equal to one-half of the amount of the annuity you were receiving. Once payments have begun, the monthly amount of a Joint and Survivor Annuity cannot be changed even if you and your Spouse obtain a divorce or if your Spouse dies before you do. You may want to consult with your tax advisor or other financial professional regarding the tax treatment of distributions you may receive under the Annuity Fund. The Trustees and Fund Office cannot give tax advice. Keep in mind that it is smart to be prepared for your tax obligations and you may incur tax penalties if you do not have enough withheld from your distribution. In order to be eligible for a Joint and Survivor Annuity, you must be married to your Spouse on the day benefit payments begin.

Can I elect not to receive a Joint and Survivor Annuity?

Yes, with your Spouse's consent. The Plan does offer other forms of payment. Before payments begin, the Fund Office will provide you with an explanation of the Joint and Survivor Annuity, including an estimate of the monthly amount of payments you and your Spouse would receive. The explanation will also provide a description of the alternative methods distribution as described below. If you wish to receive payment in one of those other forms instead of a Joint and Survivor Annuity, you must elect one of those forms of payment within 180 days before your payments begin. Your Spouse must consent to your election in writing and the consent must be witnessed by a notary public. This consent must acknowledge the dollars and cents effect of the rejection of the Joint and Survivor Annuity. Your Spouse's consent is not necessary if you have been unable to locate your Spouse after diligent effort. You can revoke the rejection of the Joint and Survivor Annuity at any time during the 180-day election period without your Spouse's consent. You may want to consult with your tax advisor or other financial professional regarding the tax treatment of distributions you may receive under the Annuity Fund. The Trustees and Fund Office cannot give tax advice. Keep in mind that it is smart to be prepared for your tax obligations and you may incur tax penalties if you do not have enough withheld from your distribution.

What is a lump sum payment?

A lump sum payment means you may receive a one-time check for the full amount in your Account. A lump sum distribution is subject to applicable state and federal withholding tax. Again, you may want to consult with your tax advisor or other financial professional regarding the tax treatment of distributions you may receive under the Annuity Fund. The Trustees and Fund Office cannot give tax advice. Keep in mind that it is smart to be prepared for your tax obligations and you may incur tax penalties if you do not have enough withheld from your distribution.

What is a Life Annuity?

A Life Annuity will be a contract issued by an insurance company providing an unmarried participant with monthly payments for the rest of his or her life. Once the participant dies, no further benefits are payable to any person or entity.

May I choose more than one distribution form? May I change from one to another?

Generally, once you have selected a form of distribution, you may not change to another. For example, once you select the Joint and Survivor or Life Annuity payment form and your payments commence, you may not change your mind and select any other option.

What if I die before I retire?

If you die before receiving any payments from the Annuity Plan, the total value of your Account will be paid as a death benefit.

If you are not married, the death benefit will be paid in a lump sum to your beneficiary. If you are married, the death benefit will be paid to your Spouse unless you are at least age 35 and (s)he consents in writing to the naming of another beneficiary. Your Spouse will receive death benefits in one of the following forms:

  • if your Account balance is $5,000 or less (and has never exceeded that amount), a lump sum payment will be made, or
  • if your Account balance exceeds $5,000, payment will be made as a Joint and Survivor Annuity.

You and your Spouse may reject the Joint and Survivor Annuity in favor of a lump sum death benefit for your Spouse by filing an election form that you can obtain from the Fund Office. Also, after your death, your Spouse may elect lump sum payment of death benefits to which (s)he is entitled. If your Account value exceeds $5,000, your Spouse may also elect to receive death benefits in installments.

What if I die after I retire?

If you die while receiving payments under a Joint and Survivor Annuity, one-half of the amount of your monthly payment will be continued to your Spouse for his or her lifetime. If you were receiving installment, Partial Lump Sum or Flexible Lump Sum withdrawals, the balance in your Account will be paid to your beneficiary. No death benefits will be paid if you die after receiving a lump sum payment or Life Annuity payments from the Annuity Plan.

How do I name a beneficiary?

If you are married (and Vested), your Spouse is automatically your beneficiary unless you elect someone else in writing and your Spouse consents to that election.

If you are not married, you may name anyone as your beneficiary.

Note:    If you are unmarried, properly name a beneficiary under this Plan (for example, a parent or child) and then get married, the laws states that your new Spouse will automatically be your beneficiary and any prior beneficiary designation(s) will no longer be valid. You and your new Spouse would need to properly complete a new Plan beneficiary designation card to change this result.

To name a beneficiary, you should request a Card from the Fund Office, fill it in completely, and return it to the Fund Office prior to your death. Please know that the Fund will not accept as designation of beneficiary card filed after your death.

If you have not named a beneficiary or if your Card is incomplete or inaccurate, your beneficiary will be your Spouse at the time of your death or, if you have no Spouse, your estate.

How do I apply for benefits?

An Application for Benefits must be filed before any benefits can be paid from the Plan. Payments from the Plan will begin as soon as possible after an Application for Benefits has been filed and approved by the Trustees.

The first step in obtaining benefits is to request, in writing or by phone, an Application for Benefits from the Fund Office. You should complete all questions on the Application, sign it, have your Spouse (if any) sign all applicable consents, and return it to the Fund Office at least 30 days before, but not more than 180 days before, you wish to receive (or commence) payment(s). You must send proof of your date of birth with your Application and, if you are married and wish to receive a Joint and Survivor Annuity, proof of your Spouse's date of birth and evidence of your marriage.

In order to receive death benefits, your beneficiary will normally be required to file an Application for Benefits on a form that the Fund Office will provide on request. Your beneficiary must also submit a copy of the death certificate. To assure that payments begin as soon as possible, your beneficiary should promptly obtain an Application from the Fund Office. If your estate is your beneficiary, additional documentation may be required before any death benefits can be paid.

Once my Application is filed, what happens next?

The Fund Office will notify you of the action taken regarding your completed application within 90 days of the date that you filed your application unless there are special circumstances that require more time for processing your application. You'll be notified within that original 90-day period if more time (an extension of up to 90 additional days (i.e., 180 total days after your Application is filed)) is needed. If you do not receive a notice from the Fund Office within the initial 90-day period or a decision by the end of any extension, you can assume that your application for a benefit has been denied.

What if my Application for benefits is denied?

If your Application for Benefits is denied by the Trustees, in whole or in part, you will be informed, in writing, of the reasons why you are not eligible and what, if anything, you can do to become eligible. If you believe you are eligible for payment, or you question the determination of the amount of your payment, you may ask the Trustees for a review of your claim, and you may review pertinent documents at the Fund Office. See your SPD for more information about the Plan’s Claims and Appeals procedures.

May I take an "In-Service Distribution" from my Account while I am actively working in Covered Employment before retirement?

Yes, subject to various eligibility rules and restrictions. The Plan permits you to take up to 50% of contributions (excluding earnings, and factoring any amounts which may have been assigned from your Account to an alternate payee under a valid QDRO and/or distributed to you in any prior distributions from the Plan) allocated to your Account after July 1, 1990 as an "In-Service Distribution." The Plan normally refers to these contributions as your "Contribution Base," when determining the 50% figure.

Here are the basic eligibility criteria for an In-Service Distribution. You must be an Active Participant in the Plan and:

  1. you have been a Participant in the Plan for at least five consecutive years on or after July 1, 1990; or
  2. if you have been a Participant for less than five consecutive years under the rule in A, above, the amount you seek as an In-Service Distribution relates to contributions that have been accumulating in your Account for at least two years; or
  3. you present suitable proof to the Plan that you have been called to active duty in the Military Service.

Are there any other restrictions on my ability to be eligible to receive an In-Service Distribution?

Yes. The Plan contains significant restrictions on In-Service Distributions if you have engaged in Non-Covered Employment, if you have an outstanding loan balance, or if a QDRO exists and the assignment under such QDRO applies to contributions made to the Fund on your behalf after July 1, 1990. If you have questions regarding any of these restrictions, please contact the Fund Office.

How often may I receive an In-Service Distribution?

If you have been a Participant in the Plan for at least five consecutive years or you have served in the military, you may be eligible to receive an In-Service Distribution as long as you have not received an In-Service Distribution from the Plan at any time during the previous 12 consecutive months.

If you have been a Participant for less than five consecutive years, you can receive an In-Service Distribution in any Plan Year (July 1 - June 30), provided that you did not receive an In-Service Distribution in the immediately preceding Plan Year.

How will my In-Service Distribution be paid?

All In-Service Distributions are paid in the form of a lump sum. Moreover, the lump sum payment will be made proportionately from each of your elected investment options.

May I take a loan or hardship withdrawal from my Account?

No. You may not take a loan from your Account, and the Plan does not permit hardship withdrawals either. The reason for this is that the Plan is already structured so that an active Participant can take an In-Service Distribution at regular intervals. The Plan strongly encourages you not to take an In-Service Distribution whenever you are otherwise eligible for one, but rather to utilize that distribution option only in times of true financial hardship or need.