Frequently Asked Questions

Pension Plan

You become a participant in the Pension Plan after 1,000 hours of employer Pension contributions are received on your behalf within a twelve (12) month period.

Depending on your specific work history you could retire as early as age fifty-five.

Listed directly below is a chart that lists the ages that a participant can retire, and the minimum criteria needed to be met for each of those ages. Keep in mind that the Pension Plan is specifically designed to provide a greater benefit to those participants who work longer.

55 Twenty (20) Pension credits and have attained the age of fifty-five (55) or greater.
62 Ten (10) Years of Vesting Service but less than Twenty (20) Pension credits
ANY(Disability Only)
  • Ten (10) Years of Vesting Service
  • Have earned one (1) full Pension Credit during the three (3) consecutive years immediately prior to your retirement.
  • Are totally disabled and have been awarded a Social Security Disability Award.

The exact provisions that a person can retire under are explained in detail within the Plan’s Summary Plan Description Book under the titles of Early Retirement, Vested Pension, Regular Pension, Normal Pension and Disability Pension.

A Pension credit is a term used to describe a year in which the hours worked were calculated utilizing the Pension credit schedule. Participants that do not have 20 Pension credits do not receive Pension credits in calendar years in which they were credited with less than 1000 hours but more than 200 hours.

Vesting service is a year in which a participant has been credited with a minimum of 1,000 hours.

The difference between the two will affect the amount a participant is able to receive and when they are able to retire.

Yes. Quite a few. First, the Pension Plan is specifically designed to provide a greater benefit to those participants who work longer. As a matter of fact, the rollover and Pension credit schedule of the Plan only comes into effect after you have amassed twenty Pension credits. Additionally, the factors that are utilized to determine a participant’s monthly pension benefit favor those participants who are older.

Secondly, by working longer you will be able to earn more Plan P credits. You will also have the opportunity to maximize both your SUB fund balance and Health Reimbursement Account balances. This can assist you in lessening the cost of Healthcare in your retirement.

Further, working longer also means you will have more years to contribute to your Annuity Fund. This means that your Annuity monies will have more time to compound.

So, to summarize, the later you wait to retire, the greater your Local 697 monthly Pension benefit; the greater your NEBF and I.O. Pension benefit; the more you can amass within your Annuity Fund; the greater your Plan P benefit and if elected, the larger your S.U.B. Fund benefit can be.

Simply put, your Annuity Fund monies and whatever other savings you have will have to last for more years. For example, if you retire at age fifty-five and live to eighty-five, your Annuity Fund and other savings would have to cover you for thirty (30) years. However, if you delayed your retirement to age 60, your savings would have to last for twenty-five (25) years.

Also, if you wish to retire at 55, you need to plan for that in advance. Remember, early retirement is a long-term process that involves creating a series of financial and physical strategies. Meaning: you should maintain really good physical and financial habits.

Realistically, the earlier you begin, the better your chances of retiring early. Your decision to be a member of Local 697 is a step in the right direction. Your various benefit programs can provide you with a solid base in which to build your financial future.

You become vested in your pension benefit after you have earned five (5) years of credited service.

Becoming vested means that you will not lose your right to receive a pension benefit if you stop working for a contributing employer.

Only one Pension credit can be earned per calendar year.

$76.25 for 1,600 credited hours per calendar year.

If you are vested, you can simply go to the retirement calculator button on the website, click it and follow the instructions.

Provided you registered on the Electronic Reciprocal Transfer System (ERTS) and subsequently provided instruction to have the Pension contributions reciprocated back to the Local 697 Pension Plan, those hours will remain with the Pension Plan of the I.B.E.W. Local in which you worked.

Provided you and your spouse were married to each other one year prior to the start date of your Pension, upon your untimely demise your spouse will be eligible to inherit your monthly Pension benefit. The amount your spouse would be entitled to receive is the exact monthly benefit that you were receiving prior to your passing.

No. Your surviving spouse will still need to complete a spousal Pension application and return that to the Fund Office. An application will be sent to your surviving spouse upon the Fund office receiving notification of your demise.

The Plan provides credit on a sliding scale which can be found within the Plans Summary Plan Description Book. Additionally, please keep in mind that excess hours can “heal” a year in which you may have worked 400 hours but not 1,600 hours.

Provided you had attained the age of 65 and were covered under the Lake County Indiana NECA – I.B.E.W. Health and Benefit Plan at the time of your passing, the Pension Plans $5,000.00 death benefit will be payable to the beneficiary or split equally amongst the beneficiaries you have on file at the Fund Office.