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Receiving Your Benefit

If you Experience a Financial Hardship
The Plan allows for two "partial types of withdrawals before you are eligible to take a retirement or break-in-service distribution of your Annuity Fund benefit:

1. Withdrawals from your rollover account (if you have established one)
2. Hardship Withdrawals

Both active and terminated participants may take withdrawals from their rollover accounts. Active participants and alternate payees under QDROs may take hardship withdrawals. Alternate Payees may also take immediate withdrawals.

If you have established a rollover account, you may withdraw all or any portion of your balance in that account for any reason.
 
If you do not have a rollover account or it is insufficient and you have an immediate and heavy financial need which meets certain conditions, you may be able to take up to 50 percent of the balance of your Regular Account and/or Deferral Contributions Account (which is limited to deferral contributions and any catch-up contributions only, no interest) as a hardship withdrawal. Here are the details:

Hardship Withdrawals - Conditions

A hardship withdrawal must meet the following conditions:
  • The withdrawal must be necessary to relieve one or more of the following immediate and heavy financial hardships:
  • Expenses for medical care which would be deductible under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code for you, your spouse, or an individual you claim as a dependent on your Federal tax return, including withdrawals needed to pay medical insurance premiums or obtain medical care
  • Post-secondary education expenses for up to 12 months at an accredited institution for you, your spouse, or an individual you claim as a dependent on your Federal tax return
  • Costs, other than mortgage payments, directly related to the purchase of your primary residence (excluding motor vehicles). This category includes situations where you purchase the interest of your former spouse in a residence which you certify is (or will be) your primary residence
  • Payments necessary to prevent your eviction from your principal residence or foreclosure on the mortgage of your principal residence. This category includes situations where statutory rights of redemption are being exercised in a timely manner
  • Payments necessary to avoid repossession of a motor vehicle owned by you that you use as your primary transportation to and from work. This category also includes situations where statutory rights of redemption are being exercised in a timely manner
  • Funeral or burial expenses incurred by you because of the death of your spouse, child or parent, your spouse's parent, or an individual you claim as a dependent on your Federal tax return
  • Exhaustion of any and all unemployment benefits to which you are entitled, including benefits from the I.U.O.E. Local No. 478 Supplemental Unemployment Benefits Fund and State Unemployment Compensation,subject to a specific cap described in the section entitled Amount You May Withdraw
  • Payment for repairs to a primary residence resulting from a natural disaster (damage due to fire, flood or a hurricane) which would be deductible under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Payments to cover overdue state or federal income taxes, and interest and penalties related to those taxes (provided that this category may only be utilized once in an individual's lifetime)  once in a lifetime
  • Amount needed to repay or reimburse an individual or entity who is the victim of a crime committed by you, your spouse or individual claimed as a dependent on your federal income tax return.


Additional Hardship Withdrawal Rules

In connection with any financial hardship, the need must be one you cannot reasonably meet from any other resources available to you. These sources include: 

  • Reimbursement or compensation by insurance,
  • Reasonable liquidation of your assets (or assets of your spouse or minor children)
  • Stopping your deferral contributions (if any) to the Plan
  • Borrowing money from other individuals (such as relatives)
  • Borrowing money from commercial sources on reasonable commercial terms
  • The type of withdrawal mentioned above from your rollover account (if any) in the Plan
You must have a combined balance in your regular and deferral contribution accounts before the hardship withdrawal of at least $3,000. If you are married and wish to receive a hardship withdrawal, you must obtain your spouse's written consent and have that consent witnessed in the presence of a notary or plan representative You are permitted to take only one hardship withdrawal in any 24 consecutive month period.

What if my Hardship Withdrawal Request Doesn't Meet the Listed Conditions?
Our Annuity Plan staff understands that in difficult economic times, you and your family may have very real immediate and heavy financial needs, such as paying bills and expenses (electricity, oil, gas, food, etc.), buying needed items for your home (appliances, a furnace, a water heater, furniture, etc.) or paying off high interest credit cards.
 
Unfortunately, unless your particular request can fall into at least one of the specific hardship conditions outlined above, the Annuity Plan simply cannot process it. The reason for this is that IRS rules only permit a qualified retirement plan like our Annuity Plan to make hardship withdrawals in very limited circumstances. In short, the IRS will not permit the Annuity Plan to serve as a bank account or emergency fund, since its primary purpose is to provide you with retirement benefits.

Amount You May Withdraw
One very basic rule is that any hardship withdrawal is limited to the actual dollar amount you need to satisfy the financial hardship, plus any applicable taxes and penalties (see Taxes and Penalties on Hardship Withdrawals below).
 
In addition, the Plan provides that you may withdraw a maximum of 50 percent of the combined balance in your regular and deferral contribution accounts, but excluding any interest credited to your deferral contribution account. As a simple example, if you have $10,000 in your regular account, and had never established a deferral contribution account, and you had a hardship of $6,000, you would only be eligible to receive $5,000 as a hardship withdrawal (less any applicable income tax withholding), as this is 50 percent of your balance.
 
There is another special rule which limits the amount you may receive when your specific hardship request is that you have exhausted all unemployment benefits. In that particular situation, the amount you may withdraw is limited to the lesser of:
  1. 50 percent of your regular and/or deferral contribution account balances (as determined above), or
  2. $400 a week times the number of weeks until you will again be eligible for State Unemployment Compensation (to a maximum of 26 weeks).
Payment of Your Hardship Withdrawal
Your hardship withdrawal for any purpose other than post-secondary education expenses or expenses for medical insurance premiums will be paid to you in a single lump sum.
 
Education withdrawals: Payment for post-secondary education expenses will be made in up to four installments as tuition or related expenses become due. The amount you request in your application should include all expenses anticipated for the upcoming 12-month period with respect to the particular degree or program involved. The date of the first installment will serve as the date of withdrawal for purposes of determining whether you meet the 24-month rule for intervals between hardship withdrawals.

Medical withdrawals:
Payments for medical insurance premiums may be made in a lump sum or in installments, depending upon the premium due dates and any nondiscriminatory procedures established by the Trustees.
 
Any amounts needed to satisfy your hardship withdrawal request will be taken from your investment option(s) in proportion to how your account(s) are divided among them.
 
Taxes and Penalties on Hardship Withdrawals
Any amount paid to you as a hardship withdrawal will be subject to a 10 percent Federal income tax withholding unless you choose to pay all taxes on the distribution when you file your tax return with the IRS. Subject to the Plan hardship withdrawal limitations discussed earlier, you may plan for that withholding in setting the amount of your request.
 
For example, if you have $20,000 in your regular account (meaning you could potentially receive a hardship withdrawal for up to $10,000) and you have appropriate documentation of a financial hardship of $5,000, you would be permitted to request a distribution of $5,555.55. That way, the Plan would withhold the required 10 percent Federal income tax withholding (which here is $555.55), which will leave you with exactly $5,000 in hand.

You may also include in your request the amounts you will need to pay state or local income taxes, any Federal income tax liability that won't be covered by the 10 percent withholding, and the possible 10 percent penalty for a hardship withdrawal taken before you reach age 59½.

Checklist
  • Contact the Fund Office for information on how to apply for a hardship withdrawal and what documentation you will need to supply
  • Complete the application form and return it with any required documentation to the Fund Office


When You Retire
Once you retire, the Fund Office will automatically forward you an application form. Along with the application form, the Fund Office will send you a description of the payment form options.

If you are married and you wish to choose a payment form other than the automatic 50 percent husband-and-wife annuity, your time frame for doing so is the last 180 days before payments start. Remember that your spouse will need to consent to your rejection of the 50 percent husband-and-wife annuity and your selection of a different payment form in the presence of a Plan representative or notary public.

If you are not married and you wish to choose a payment form other than the automatic life annuity, your time frame for doing so is the last 180 days before payments start.


Checklist
  • Call or write to the Fund Office for an application for benefits,
  • Consider the Annuity Plan's various distribution options and your financial needs in retirement. You may also wish to consult with a professional advisor,
  • Submit your completed application to the Fund Office,
  • Allow at least one month for processing. If you wish to utilize the 7-day exception, which essentially allows you to receive a distribution in about 7-10 business days, you and your spouse, if any, will need to complete an appropriate waiver.