Q&A

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Am I eligible for coverage under this Plan?

There are three (3) periods of eligibility for coverage under the Plan. You are eligible to participate in the period for which you meet all the criteria. If you meet the criteria for all periods, you are eligible for coverage in all periods.

  1. To be eligible to participate in the Plan under the Original Agreement ("1995-1999"), you must have met all of the following criteria:
    • You must have been employed on June 1, 1999 in a "covered title." A covered title is a title represented by the Union for which a contribution was required to be made to the Fund under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
    • You must have been in active pay status on June 1, 1999.
    • You must have been in active pay status either in a covered title or a "non-covered title" during all or part of the period June 1, 1996 through May 31, 1997. A non-covered title is a title covered by an agreement where the certified bargaining agent has waived the provisions of an Annuity Fund and elected instead to utilize the contributions to provide alternative benefits in lieu of the Annuity Fund.
  2. If you were not employed on June 1, 1999 in a covered title, you were not eligible to receive any benefits under the provisions of the 1995-1999 Agreement.

  3. To be eligible to participate in the Plan under the 2000-2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement, you must have been employed on or after June 30, 2002 in a "covered title" or be in active pay status in a "non-covered title."
  4. To be eligible to participate in the Plan under the 2005-2008 Agreement, you must be actively employed on or after March 2, 2008 in a "covered title."

Who makes contributions to this Plan?

The City of New York makes periodic contributions to the Plan in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, based upon the number of days worked.

How much is the contribution?

Under the 2005-2008 Agreement, the City of New York will make a recurring contribution, based on the number of days worked, to a maximum of $684 per year. Contributions will be paid at the rate of $2.63 for each day worked. New York City pays into the Plan on behalf of covered full-time per annum and full-time per diem employees, on a twenty-eight (28) day cycle basis, a pro-rata daily contribution for each paid working day which amount shall not exceed $684 per annum for each employee in full-time-pay status in the prescribed twelve (12) month period.

For covered employees who work a compressed work week, New York City pays into the Plan on a twenty-eight (28) day cycle basis, a pro-rata daily contribution for each set of paid working hours which equate to the daily number of hours that title is regularly scheduled to work, which amount shall not exceed $684 per annum for each employee in full-time-pay status in the prescribed twelve (12) month period.

For covered employees who work less than the number of hours for their fulltime equivalent title, New York City pays into the Plan on a twenty-eight (28) day cycle basis, a pro-rata daily contribution calculated against the number of hours associated with their full-time equivalent title, which amount shall not exceed $684 per annum for each employee in full pay status in the prescribed twelve (12) month period.

For those covered employees who are appointed on a seasonal basis, New York City pays into the Plan on a twenty-eight (28) day cycle basis, a pro-rata daily contribution for each paid working day, which amount shall not exceed $684 per annum for each employee in full-time pay status in the prescribed twelve (12) month period.

Excluded from paid working days are all scheduled days off, all days in nonpay status, and all paid overtime.

Can a Member make voluntary contributions to the Plan?

No. You are not required nor are you allowed to make contributions to the Plan.

How is each individual Member's Account maintained?

The City of New York's contribution under the Prior Agreement was credited to the account of each Member then eligible to participate. Under the terms of the Current Agreement, the City of New York will credit an annual contribution to the account of each Member eligible to participate. This recurring contribution will be credited to each new Member's account and added to the existing account established for Members under the Prior Agreement. The monies so contributed are invested and every three months a valuation is made of investment earnings. The investment earnings, or losses, and pro-rated administrative expenses are then allocated to each Member's account. Twice each year the Member will receive a summary statement showing the value of his or her account for the six-month periods ending June 30th and December 31st. The Plan's quarterly valuation dates are March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31.

Can a Member withdraw all or part of his/her account at any time while an active member?

No. The Member may withdraw from his/her account only after termination of employment in a covered title represented by Social Service Employees Union Local 371 as its bargaining agent.

What are a Member's benefit rights?

A Member is 100% vested in his/her account at all times.

When are payments made?

Benefits will be paid as soon as administratively feasible following your retirement, death, or termination of employment. However, you or your beneficiary must file an application to receive your benefits.

When will I be terminated from this Plan other than for the reason of my death?

You will be terminated from this Plan upon your retirement, resignation or dismissal.

How will benefits be paid?

All benefits will be paid in a lump sum.

How much will the benefit be when a Member terminates?

You will receive 100% of the total value of your account as of the most recent valuation date preceding the distribution of your benefits. The Member will have a fairly good idea as to what the amount will be by referring to the semiannual statements received by such Member. The other factors to be considered are investment earnings or losses, pro-rated administrative expenses, as well as contributions made to the Fund by the City of New York, if any, from the date of the last statement to the date of withdrawal.

What happens to my Individual Account if I should die?

As a member of the Annuity Fund Plan, you were provided with an official "Designation of Beneficiary for Pre-Retirement Lump Sum Death Benefit" form on which you designate the person who is to receive your account value in case of death. Upon your death, this designated beneficiary is notified automatically that he or she is the designated beneficiary and is furnished the necessary forms to apply for the deceased Member's Individual Account balance.

NOTE: It is recommended that you periodically check your beneficiary forms on file at the Fund Office. Always make certain that you have kept this beneficiary form up to date. Every Member should make certain at frequent intervals that he or she has the proper beneficiary designation on file at the Fund Office.

How do you apply for benefits?

You are required to file the prescribed withdrawal application when you wish to withdraw your account. The Plan Administrator will furnish you with the necessary forms, income tax withholding requirements and instructions.

Can the Plan be terminated?

The Plan is operated for the exclusive benefit of its Members. Should the Plan ever be amended or terminated, Members will be advised accordingly. The Trustees may amend the Plan at any time, subject to the terms of the Trust Document, Plan Rules and Regulations and Collective Bargaining Agreement.

What is the Plan's benefit claim procedure?

The Trustees will endeavor to administer the Plan fairly and consistently and to pay all benefits to which Members or Beneficiaries are properly entitled. However, failure to execute any required forms or to furnish information requested by the Trustees within a reasonable period of time may result in delayed benefit payments.

All claims for unpaid benefits should be made in writing to the Trustees. If a claim is wholly or partially denied, you will receive a written notice from the Trustees within 60 days indicating the reason for the denial, the Plan provisions pertinent to the denial, and a request for whatever additional information may be necessary to consider the claim further.

After receipt of a notice denying a claim for benefits, you or your authorized representative may review pertinent documents, submit comments on issues involved and request in writing that the Trustees review its action.

Your written request for review must be received by the Trustees no later than 180 days following your receipt of the denial of your claim for benefits. The Trustees will re-examine your claim and issue a final decision within 60 days after the receipt of your appeal, unless special circumstances require a reasonable extension of the 60-day period.

What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a judgment, decree or order that:

  1. sets a required level of child support, alimony payment or marital property rights to the dependent of a plan participant to be financed through the participant's benefit,
  2. is made pursuant to a state domestic relations law, including a community property law, and
  3. meets certain other legal and administrative requirements.

 The Plan Administrator will promptly notify you and any other alternate payee of the receipt of an order and the fact that the order is being examined to determine whether it qualifies as a QDRO. Then, within a reasonable period of time, the Plan Administrator will notify you and any alternate payee of the determination. All determinations are subject to claim review.

What are the tax effects of my benefit?

The following is only a general description of the income tax implications of benefit distributions under this Plan. The laws are complex and subject to frequent change.

Your contributions and all investment earnings on the accumulating funds in your Plan account are income tax deferred while held on your behalf in the Plan.

Income taxes will be payable when these funds are actually distributed to you in the future. Such taxes may be less if distribution is deferred until your retirement when your total taxable income may be reduced.

You will receive a Special Tax Notice regarding Plan payments which describes some of the tax implications of your Plan payment.

You should not rely on this information and should consult the Internal Revenue Service or your tax advisor when considering a distribution under the Plan to determine the most appropriate tax planning under your circumstances.

Required Minimum Payments

Beginning when you reach age 70½ or retire, whichever is later, you will be required to take a distribution of your account under the Plan. Rollovers

The Internal Revenue Code permits you to avoid current taxation on any portion of the taxable amount of an eligible distribution by rolling over that portion into an eligible retirement plan such as a qualified employer retirement plan that accepts rollover contributions or into a traditional individual retirement arrangement (IRA), a 403(b) plan, an eligible 457(b) plan, and, under certain conditions, to a ROTH IRA, but not to a SIMPLE IRA, or a Coverdell Education Savings Account.

If your account balance is $200 or more and you make a rollover election and provide the required information, the Trustees will directly roll over all or a portion of your account balance into an eligible retirement plan. Amounts rolled over directly to an eligible retirement plan will not be subject to federal income tax in the year of distribution nor to federal income tax withholding. If you choose to receive a portion of your account in cash while requesting the Trustees to directly roll over the remainder, the amount you elect to have rolled over must equal not less than $500.

However, please note that federal law requires that the Trustees withhold for federal income tax 20% of the amount of a distribution which is actually received by you. In addition, the amount which is not rolled over into an IRA or another qualified plan is subject to federal income tax in the year in which the distribution is received and, if you are subject to the 10% early distribution penalty (described below), it will apply to the amount of the distribution that you actually receive.

If you elect to have all or a portion of your account distributed to you in cash, you may, within 60 days of receiving that distribution, roll over into an eligible retirement plan that accepts such rollovers:

  1. all, or a portion of the amount received, and thus avoid federal income tax on the portion rolled over in the year in which the distribution was received and, if otherwise applicable, also avoid the 10% early distribution penalty on the amount rolled over; or
  2. all of the amount received plus an additional amount from your own funds, up to, but not exceeding, the 20% that was withheld for federal income tax and, thus, avoid federal income tax (but not the withholding requirement) on the amount rolled over in the year in which the distribution was received and, if otherwise applicable, also avoid the 10% early distribution penalty on the amount that was rolled over.

There are specific and technical qualifications and requirements set forth in the Internal Revenue Code that must be satisfied in order for your Plan distribution to be eligible to be rolled over. If interested, you may obtain additional information on the establishment and maintenance of an IRA from the nearest Internal Revenue Service District Director's office, or on the IRS website at IRS.gov.

Early Distribution Penalty

Distributions from the Plan prior to age 59½ are subject to a 10% penalty tax to the extent the distribution is includable income (amounts in excess of aftertax contributions which are not rolled over to an IRA or other qualified plan). Distributions are exempt from the penalty tax if paid on account of (a) death, (b) disability, or (c) termination of employment after age 55. Exemptions are also permitted for annuity distributions, payments to alternate payees under qualified domestic relations orders and amounts not in excess of certain deductible medical expenses.

The Plan must be operated for the exclusive benefit of its members. If the Plan and Trust are terminated, benefits will be payable under the terms of the Plan and will include a lump sum distribution option to all members. Should the Plan ever be amended or terminated, members will be advised accordingly.

Social Service Employees Union Local 371
AFSCME, AFL—CIO
817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
©SSEU Local371|PRIVACY POLICY