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UMWA Health and Retirement Funds

Pension Eligibility Requirements

 
UMWA 1974 Pension Plan
The 1974 Pension Plan is a defined benefit plan. That means that the Plan specifies the eligibility requirements to receive a pension or death benefit and specifies how the amounts of those benefits are determined.  The plan provides retirement (service) pensions, disability pensions, and pensions for the surviving spouses of some mine workers. The 1950 Pension Plan merged into the 1974 Pension Plan effective June 30, 2007.  The basic eligibility rules for the different types of pensions are described below. More detailed information is provided in the Summary Plan Description of the UMWA 1974 Pension Plan.

Service Pensions
In general, mine workers who have worked in the bituminous coal industry before January 1, 2012, may qualify for a service pension in any one of the following situations:
1. You last worked on or after December 31, 1975, are at least 55 years old, and have either: 
    > 10 years of signatory service, or
    > 5 years of signatory service if you last worked on or after December 16, 1993, for a Normal retirement pension; or July 1, 1999, for a Deferred Vested pension.
2. You last worked on or after January 1, 1998, were under age 55 at that time, have 20 or more years of signatory service, were permanently laid off due to either a permanent mine closing, or for a period of 180 days and did not refuse a recall to the same mine.
3. You last worked on or after January 1, 2002, have at least 30 years of signatory service, and were laid off during 2002.
4. You have 30 years of signatory service and stopped working in a classified job on or after January 1, 2003.
5. You last worked before December 31, 1975 and have either: 
    > 10 years of signatory service after May 28, 1946, including at least 3 years after December 31, 1970, or
    > 20 years of credited service, including a minimum of 5 to 10 years of signatory service depending on when you last worked.
 
Disability Pensions
In general, there are no age or service requirements for a disability pension.  Any mine worker may qualify for a disability pension if he or she meets the following requirements:

1. Totally disabled as a result of a mine accident that occurs during employment in a classified job for a signatory employer, and
2. Eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits as a result of such accident.
 
Surviving Spouse Pensions
In general, Surviving Spouse pensions or Joint & Survivor Annuity benefits may be paid to the eligible spouses of mine workers who died while receiving, or while eligible to receive, a pension from the 1974 Pension Plan. In addition, the Plan provides monthly benefits to the surviving spouses of mine workers who met the service requirements for a pension, but died after August 23, 1984, and before reaching the minimum age required for them to receive a pension – age 55.
A 1950 Widow’s Pension may be paid to the eligible widows of 1950 Participants who died while receiving a 1950 pension.

Death Benefits
For 1974 Participants, the Plan may pay a death benefit to the named beneficiary of a pensioner who dies and was receiving, or had applied for and was eligible to receive, pension benefits at the time of death.  Under certain situations, death benefits may also be paid to the beneficiary of an eligible new inexperienced miners who first work in the coal industry on or after January 1, 2012, and the beneficiary of an eligible miner who opts out of participation in the 1974 Pension Plan after that date. A death benefit is not paid for those pensioners who:
• Were receiving a Deferred Vested pension based on less than 20 years of credited service; or
• Used non-classified work to meet the minimum vesting requirements to be eligible for a pension; or
• Were entitled to any other death or life insurance benefit from another plan maintained by a signatory employer; or
• Were eligible for health benefits under the UMWA Combined Benefit Fund.
For 1950 Participants, the Plan pays a death benefit to the widow or other eligible dependent of a deceased pensioner, or, if there are no eligible surviving dependents, to the pensioner’s estate.  A death benefit is not paid for those 1950 pensioners who:
• Used non-classified work to meet the minimum vesting requirements to be eligible for a pension; or
• Were eligible for health benefits under the UMWA Combined Benefit Fund.

Death benefits are not paid to the survivors of widows who were receiving any of the survivor benefits paid to eligible surviving spouses under the Plan.