One Application & Several Documents Away
If you’re six months away from retirement, it’s not too early to start pulling together the documents and other information you need to file with your pension application to the International Pension Fund (IPF). Some of the information requested will require that you dig into your records or send away for records you might be missing.
The IPF application itself is straightforward and uncomplicated. IPF rules require that your completed application be received at the Fund office in Washington, D.C. before the first day of the month you want your benefit payments to begin. So, it’s a good idea to request a pension application from your Local Union or IPF a few months ahead of time. Applications are also available here, on the web at http://ipfweb.org/ipf/forms.htm.
You have to supply your name, address, date of birth, phone number, Social Security (Insurance) number, IU membership number, and the name of your last employer. IPF also needs verification of your date of birth and, if you elect a Husband and Wife Pension, proof of your spouse’s date of birth.
Although IPF will accept other official documents that state your date of birth, the best proof is a copy of your birth certificate. It’s also the kind of proof Social Security or Pension Canada wants. Any original documents you supply to the IPF are handled carefully and returned to you intact.
If you don’t have a birth certificate, you usually can obtain a certified copy for a few dollars from the registrar in the state, province, country, or city of birth.
The IPF also will accept copies of baptismal certificates, copies of registration of birth in a public registry of vital statistics, a certified hospital birth record, a document showing approval of a federal pension program, if the date of birth or age is indicated, or a foreign church or government record. Other records also are acceptable, and are listed on the IPF application form. In addition, if your name, or the name of your spouse, was legally changed between birth and marriage (including because of a prior marriage), a copy of a document establishing the name change must be provided to the IPF.
Also, since the 25-year “cap” on benefits has been removed, IPF needs to verify your last hours of work before retirement. It’s quicker if you supply copies of your last few months of pay stubs.Employment History
You’ll need to supply the date on which your Local Union first began participation in IPF. Your Local will have that information. It also appears on the annual statement you receive from IPF.
You’ll also need to list how many hours you worked in two of the three calendar years prior to the year you first participated in IPF so your Past Service Credit can be determined. These years are provided when you request an application from the Fund office. One exception to this requirement is having earned five years of Future Service Credit at retirement. To maximize your Past Service Credit, IPF needs to know your earliest Union initiation or apprentice registration date.
If you’re applying for a Disability Pension, you need to supply two documents: a copy of your Social Security (or Canada Pension) Disability Award and a doctor’s statement indicating the nature of your disability and the fact that you are totally and permanently disabled. Even if your federal disability approval is delayed, you still should apply for an IPF Disability Pension. If you are over age 55, you can draw an Early Retirement Pension until Social Security or Canada Pension approval is received.
Your form of pension payment can depend upon your marital status. All applicants must verify their marital status. There are documentation requirements for those who are single, married (including common-law marriages), separated, divorced or widowed.
Generally, you can choose to receive a Regular Pension, which does not include a lifetime joint and survivor option for your spouse, or a Husband and Wife Pension, which does include a percentage of your lifetime benefits for your spouse. Estimates of the Regular and Husband and Wife Pensions may be requested on the application.
If you do not choose a Husband and Wife Pension, the remainder of the IPF Pension Application has to be completed in the presence of your spouse and a Notary Public. If you’ve never been married, a Notary Public still has to witness your signature on the application.
Married couples that opt for the Husband and Wife Pension must supply the IPF with proof of their marital status, such as a copy of a marriage license of certificate or a church record that substantiates your marriage. If you don’t have your certificate handy, you’ll need to contact the department of records in the country or city in which you were married and obtain a copy.
You must certify that you have not worked in Non-covered Masonry Employment since June 1, 1988 or provide evidence of the nature of your work since contributions were last received on your behalf.
The remainder of the application requires you to make decisions about electronic deposit of benefit checks and about your beneficiary. If the beneficiary is incorrect, designate a new one on the application. The IPF will send you a notice of receipt the day your application is received.
Your Local Union’s pension trustees also have forms for you to fill out when you apply for Local retirement benefits. In most instances, the documents your Local fund needs will be identical to those you’ve supplied to the IPF.