Our Pension Plan is the foundation around which we build our other retirement programs, including the Annuity Fund, which provides supplemental retirement benefits, and the Retiree Health Benefit Program offered through our Health Benefits Plan. Local 478 Trustees work with Plan professionals to determine the level of benefits based on current and projected employer contributions, and the investment returns earned on those contributions.
You will receive monthly retirement income based on the number of credits you have earned multiplied by an accrual rate, which is currently $84. Assuming no other adjustments, a Member with 20 credits, retiring at age 62 with Five-Year Certain and Life form of benefit, would earn a monthly pension benefit of $1,680.
Members like to compare the benefits available under our Plan with those offered through other trades. We have increased our Plan's accrual rate over the past few years to make it comparable to other trades. However, our rate trailed other trades by a wide margin for many years because we do not have the high incidence of forfeiture “ and resulting extra money in our pool “ that other trades experience when members leave before becoming vested. Operating Engineers invest a great deal of effort into learning the skills they need and are far more likely to remain in the trade for their entire careers.
Other considerations, including the age and demographics of a trade's work force, and employment patterns, make it even more difficult to make comparisons with other trades.