Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
What if I change my address?
- Update your address and other contact information with the Fund Office, and be sure to update your information with your employer, as well.
- If you are receiving your pension benefit from the Fund, you may change your address by sending written notification (Change of Address Form for Benefit Recipients available here, PDF) to the Fund Office or by calling. If you are a benefit recipient and you call, additional information (including written confirmation with your signature) may be required to make such a change.
- All other participants may call, write, or update their address online.
What if I get married?
- If you get married after your plan entry date, you may need to update your plan beneficiary information.
- When you apply for your pension benefits, you will need to send the Fund Office official copies of your marriage certificate and your spouse's birth certificate if electing 50%, 75% or 100% Joint and Survivor Benefit.
What if I get divorced or legally separated?
- If you get divorced or legally separated after your plan entry date, you may need to update your plan beneficiary information.
- Make sure that any Qualified Domestic Relation Orders are forwarded to the Fund Office for approval.
- When you apply for your pension benefits, send the Fund Office a copy of your divorce certificate with related agreements or legal separation if you have not previously submitted a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
What if I am planning to retire?
First, you will need to decide on your retirement effective date. In general, your Pension Effective Date (view explainer video) will be the first of the month following this date. Then, follow these steps:
- Complete your application online (login required) or request a pension application from the Fund Office up to 180 days before your retirement effective date.
- Select your pension payment options when completing your application.
- Sign where required and have signature notarized if required.
- Provide official copies of all documents requested including acceptable proof of age, marriage certificate, divorce decree and related agreements, as well as all name change documents, if applicable.
- Sign up for direct deposit for your pension benefit payments. You can sign up for direct deposit online or by returning an Authorization for Automatic Deposits form (PDF) to the Fund Office.
What if I become disabled?
If you become disabled, you may be eligible to receive a disability pension. The requirements are outlined in the plan's Summary Plan Description on page 17.
You may need to take these steps to apply for a disability pension:
- Apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
- Submit an application for disability pension; you may complete an application on-line (log-in required) or request a hard copy application from the Fund Office at 800-424-9608.
- Provide a copy of your disability notification letter from the Social Security Administration. (Note: If a determination is still pending from the Social Security Administration do not hold your application; submit it as soon as possible.
What if I stop working under covered employment?
- Keep the Fund notified of any change in your address on file with the Fund Office, as necessary.
- Apply for your pension when you are ready to retire if you are vested and meet the eligibility requirements.
What if I return to work after retirement?
If you return to work after you have retired and while you are receiving a pension from the National Pension Plan, your pension benefit payments may be suspended, depending upon your age and the type of work you are doing. View our Working Pensioner explainer video here.
If you are thinking about accepting any employment after you retire, you should take these steps:
- Review the “Rules for Employment After Retirement.” (PDF) This summarizes the conditions you need to meet in order to return to employment and continue receiving your pension benefit payments.
- Contact the Fund Office at 800-424-9608 to discuss the impact your employment may have on your pension benefit.
- Review the “Ruling on Employment” (PDF) guidelines and form and complete and return the form to the Fund Office.
- Report all employment to the Fund Office within 30 days of your start date.
What if I enter or return from active military duty?
A person who is serving a period of qualified military service will be treated as if working in covered employment, to the extent required by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
You may need to take these actions while entering or returning from active military duty:
- Check your reemployment rights and plan eligibility criteria under USERRA.
- Submit a copy of your military induction/separation orders (Form DD-214) to the Fund Office when you return to covered employment after your discharge from military service.
What if I die before retirement?
If you die as a vested participant before going into pay status, a range of death benefits may be available to your beneficiary(ies) or surviving spouse. Refer to the National Pension Plan Summary Plan Description for more information about preretirement benefits.
Your beneficiary(ies) will need to take these steps to apply for death benefits if you die prior to going into pay status under the plan:
- Contact the Fund to report a death and request a preretirement death application.
- Provide a copy of your death certificate to the Fund Office.
- Provide other documentation (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree or birth certificates), as requested by the Fund Office.
Is the IAM National Pension Fund a part of the IAMAW Union?
The IAM National Pension Fund is a separate entity from the IAMAW Union. While the National Pension Plan is funded by contributing employers, it was created for the sole benefit of IAM members who have negotiated the plan into their collective bargaining agreements.
Is participation in the plan limited to IAM members?
No. Companies with participating IAM members can include other collectively bargained and certain non-union or special-class employees in the plan.
Does any portion of union dues go toward this plan?
No. Negotiated employer contributions fund the plan.
How is the plan funded?
The plan is funded through employer contributions and earnings on investments.
Why is there a joint Board of Trustees?
The National Pension Plan is a joint labor-management multiemployer pension plan. It is legally required to have representation by both IAM leaders and contributing employers.
What do you mean when you say that benefits are "portable"?
If you are a participant of the National Pension Plan, and you go to work for another employer who also contributes to the National Pension Plan, you continue to accrue benefits under the plan.
How many participants are in the National Pension Plan?
The plan currently covers more than 100,000 active participants.
Can a company of any size join the National Pension Plan?
Yes. The plan covers members from companies of any size, from one member to thousands of members.
How can I get more information about the National Pension Plan?
You can contact the IAM National Pension Fund Office directly to get more information about the plan.
What do I need to do to get the plan included in my collective bargaining agreement?
Contact your IAM representative or the IAM National Pension Fund for help in getting the National Pension Plan by negotiating it into your collective bargaining agreement.
How can I find the current table of contribution rates and benefit values?
What is the current range of employer contribution rates?
Contribution rates range from $0.10 to $28.50 per hour.
What is the average employer contribution rate?
The current average contribution rate is $1.95 per hour.
How do I negotiate a future contribution increase under my collective bargaining agreement?
For help in determining how best to negotiate contribution rate increases, contact your IAM representative.
Are there death and disability benefits under the plan?
Yes. If you pass away, your spouse or your beneficiary(ies) may be eligible for death benefits under the terms of the plan. Also, If you become totally and permanently disabled before normal retirement age, you may be entitled to a Disability Pension.
What payment options are available under the plan?
The plan offers a 50%, 75% or 100% spouse pension, lifetime pensions with 60 or 120 certain payments, Social Security option and a partial lump sum option with 60 or 120 certain payments. Benefits are payable for the participant's lifetime. The plan also provides a mandatory cash out payment if the actuarial equivalent benefit is less than $5,000, or a voluntary cash out payment if the actuarial equivalent benefit is less than $10,000.
Can I make contributions to the plan on my own behalf?
The IAM National Pension Fund is a multi-employer non-contributory Trust Fund. Only employer contributions made in accordance with the IAM Collective Bargaining Agreement or Special Class Participation Agreement with the Trustees may be accepted by the Fund. All employer contributions and Fund assets, from whatever source, are pooled and used to pay pension benefits.
Can I withdraw all of my benefits from the Plan and roll them over to another plan?
No money is credited to an individual account, as the National Pension Plan of the IAM National Pension Fund is a defined benefit plan. It is designed to provide a monthly income at retirement. There is no benefit paid until a Covered Employee retires and applies for pension.
Can I name my estate as my beneficiary?
You may only designate people as beneficiaries. If none of your beneficiaries are alive at your death, any benefit payable may be made to your estate.
What are some of the advantages of the National Pension Plan compared to a 401(k) plan?
Some advantages of the National Pension Plan are that benefits are guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) and are payable for your lifetime. Contributions are made by your employer, not you, and the Fund assumes the full risk for providing benefits. In addition, given the same assumptions in terms of contributions and earnings, the National Pension Plan may provide higher benefits.
If the National Pension Plan is better, why are 401(k) plans so popular?
401(k) plans are popular with employers because they shift the expense and investment risk to employees. They are popular with employees because 1) payroll deductions are made on a before-tax basis (which allows employees to defer paying taxes on the portion they contribute to the plan); 2) they often offer a choice of investment options and 3) account balances are generally accessible either through loans, hardship withdrawals or in-service withdrawals, or at the time an employee leaves the employer.
Can I be in both the National Pension Plan and a 401(k) plan?
Yes. The IAM National Pension Fund also offers the IAM National 401(k) Plan to participants who have negotiated the National Pension Plan into their collective bargaining agreement. Also, if your employer offers a defined benefit plan to collectively bargained employees, you can participate in the IAM National 401(k) Plan.
Can I be in the National Pension Plan and contribute to an IRA (Individual Retirement Account)?
Yes. However, you should consult with a tax advisor, as some tax benefits of an IRA are limited if you're also in a pension plan.
Why is the National Pension Plan so valuable?
For four good reasons: 1) contributions are made by the employer and not the employee; 2) since the benefits are guaranteed by the PBGC, there is limited risk to you when you participate in the plan; 3) the benefits are solely for retirement and cannot be used for any other purpose; and 4) benefit amounts are known and are paid for your lifetime.
When was the Fund started?
The Fund was established in 1960.
Who manages the Fund's assets?
The Fund's assets are managed by professional investment managers who follow the investment objectives set by the Fund's investment committee.
What does the Fund do with earnings on investments?
The Fund is a not-for-profit organization. All investment earnings are used to provide benefits to pensioners and beneficiaries, and to cover the cost of running the Fund.
Is the Fund financially sound?
Yes. Unlike many single-employer or company pension plans, the National Pension Plan is well funded and financially sound. View copies of the plan's Annual Funding Notice here.
Does the National Pension Plan have contributing employers in every state?
There are only a few states that do not have contributing employers.
How does portability of benefits between contributing employers work?
If you change jobs and go to work for an employer who also contributes to the National Pension Plan without incurring a permanent break-in-service, your years of vesting and credited service follow you to your new job and you can continue to accrue benefits.
When are pension checks mailed?
In general, pension checks are mailed weekly or on the last business day of the month for the 1st of the next month. You may also view your payment information to verify when your check was mailed (login required).
What should I do if I decide to go back to work after I retire?
To start, review the “Rules for Employment After Retirement” (PDF). This summarizes the conditions you need to meet in order to return to employment and continue receiving your pension benefit payments. Next, download and return the Request for Ruling on Employment Form (PDF) to the Fund Office. You can also request the form by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling the Fund Office at 800-424-9608 ext. 277. Once the Fund Office receives the completed form, a decision will be made, and you will be notified about that decision by mail.
What should I do if I don’t receive my check?
If you don't receive your check by the 10th of the month, you may send an email to email@example.com or call the Fund Office at 800-424-9608 ext. 277. Ask to speak with a representative from the Checks Department. Provided you are not changing your address, we will place a stop payment on the check and replace it as soon as possible.
How do I sign up for direct deposit?
To set up direct deposit, fill out the online request form (login required). (After logging in, select Direct Deposit from the Benefit Recipient menu. You will be required to create a user name and password if this is your first time logging in or you have not logged in since May 3, 2012.) Or, download and return the Authorization for Automated Deposit Form (PDF) to the Fund Office. You can also request the form by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling the Fund Office at 800-424-9608 ext. 277. Once you have completed the form, return it to the Fund Office with a voided check from the account to which you wish to have your payment deposited.
It may take at least two months after we receive your completed form to start your direct deposit. You will receive your benefit payment by mail during this time; you will be notified when your direct deposit will begin.
If I receive payment by direct deposit, when will the bank credit my account?
All deposits are credited to your account no later than the first business day of the month.
How do I change my address?
You may change your address by sending written notification (Change of Address Form for Benefit Recipients, PDF available here) to the Fund Office or by calling the Fund Office. If you call, certain additional information may be needed (including written confirmation with your signature) to make such a change.
How do I report the death of a pensioner and what information do you need?
You may report a death by sending an email to email@example.com, by letter or by calling the Fund Office at 800-424-9608 ext. 277. We need the deceased pensioner's name, Social Security number and death certificate, along with the name, address, and phone number of a contact person. Please also advise us if there is a surviving spouse.
How do I change my income tax withholding or have taxes taken out of my benefit payment check?
You may complete this form online (login required) to indicate the correct amount of federal income tax to withhold from your pension benefit payments (login to your personal information required).
As an alternative, you may download and return Form W-4P (PDF) to the Fund Office. You can also request the form by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling the Fund Office at 800-424-9608 ext. 277. The Fund Office can only withhold Federal income taxes. We do not withhold state and/or local income taxes.
How do I change my beneficiary designation?
If you are not yet receiving pension benefits, you may download and return the Beneficiary Designation Form (PDF) to the Fund Office. You can also request the form by email (email@example.com) or by calling the Fund Office at 800-424-9608 and asking to be connected to the Pension Department.
If you are receiving pension benefits and you want to change your beneficiaries, you must do so in writing. You can request the Beneficiary Designation Form for Benefit Recipients from the Fund Office by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by calling 800-424-9608 ext. 277.
I have applied for my pension and have not received my first check. How do I find out the status of my application?
To find out the status of your pension benefit application, call the Fund Office at 800-424-9608 and ask to be connected to the Pension Department. You may speak directly to the Fund Office employee assigned to handle your application. (You were provided with the name and extension of your contact person shortly after your application was received.) He or she can update you on the status. If your contact person is unavailable, feel free to speak with any available employee in the Pension Department.