Spousal Benefits

Choosing your beneficiary — the person or persons your pension benefits will go to in the event of your death—is one of the most serious decisions you will make when you retire. Your Fund Pension Counselors are on hand to explain your options and help you make your retirement choices.

To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call the Pension Department at (646) 473-8666.

Make Sure You Understand Your Rights Before Signing the Spouse’s Consent Form

Waiving your right to a Joint and Survivor option is a very important decision. Before you sign, think about it carefully. Be sure you understand what benefits you may get and what benefits you will no longer be able to receive.

Your spouse should have received information on the types of pension benefits available from the pension plan. If you have not seen this information, you should get it and read it before you sign the Spouse’s Consent Form. You can also make an appointment with one of our Pension Counselors to answer any questions you may have about your rights. For additional information, you can contact the Plan Administrator, in writing, at the following address:

1199SEIU Health Care Employees Pension Fund
330 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036-6977

Your Pension Options and Beneficiary Choices

You have six pension options. The amount you receive each month will vary depending on the option that you choose. For instance, if you choose an option that provides for your spouse after our death, your monthly payment will be less. This is because your total benefit is paid out over two lives — yours and then your spouse’s.

If you are married and want to name a beneficiary other than your spouse for Options 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, your spouse will need to sign and notarize the Spouse’s Consent Form. This lets the Pension Fund know that your spouse has agreed to give up the right to a pension after your death. Please make sure you and your spouse fill out this form completely. If you are married and do not return this form completed correctly, your pension will be delayed.

Option 1: Straight Life Pension with No Survivor

You will receive a monthly pension payment until your death, and no payments will be made to your spouse or any other beneficiary after your death.

This option will give you the highest monthly payment, but will not provide benefits for anyone after your death.

However, if you choose this option and you are married, you must submit a Spouse’s Consent Form to the Pension Fund. The Spouse’s Consent Form informs the Pension Fund that your spouse is aware that he or she will not receive pension benefits upon your death. The form represents the written and notarized consent of your spouse to waive this right.

Option 2: Joint and 100% Survivor

You will receive a monthly pension payment until your death, and after that, your spouse or beneficiary will receive the same monthly payment that you did, until his or her death.

This option will give you the lowest monthly payment, but will provide for your spouse or beneficiary for the rest of his or her life.

If you choose this option and your beneficiary is not your spouse, you must submit a Spouse’s Consent Form to the Pension Fund. The Spouse’s Consent Form informs the Pension Fund that your spouse is aware that he or she will not receive pension benefits upon your death. The form represents the written and notarized consent of your spouse to waive this right.

Please note: If you choose the Joint and 100% Survivor option, your pension payment will be distributed over two lifetimes: your own, until you die and your beneficiary’s, until he or she dies. If you name a beneficiary other than your spouse, the IRS does not allow you to choose someone who is 10 or more years younger than you, because of the length of the continued benefit after your death.

Option 3: Joint and 75% Survivor

You will receive a monthly pension payment until your death, and after that, your spouse or beneficiary will receive a monthly pension payment that is three-quarters (75%) of the amount you received each month, until his or her death.

Please note: If you choose the Joint and 75% Survivor option, your pension payment will be distributed over two lifetimes: your own, until you die and your beneficiary’s, until he or she dies. If you name a beneficiary other than your spouse, the IRS does not allow you to choose someone who is 19 or more years younger than you, because of the length of the continued benefit after your death.

Option 4: Joint and 50% Survivor

You will receive a monthly pension payment until your death, and after that, your spouse or beneficiary will receive a monthly pension payment that is one-half (50%) of the amount you received each month, until his or her death.

Please note: If you choose the Joint and 50% Survivor option, your pension payment will be distributed over two lifetimes: your own, until you die and your beneficiary’s, until he or she dies. If you name a beneficiary other than your spouse, the IRS does not allow you to choose someone who is 44 or more years younger than you, because of the length of the continued benefit after your death.

Option 5: Life and 120-Month Certain

You will receive monthly pension payments until your death. If you have not received 120 payments by the time of your death, your spouse or beneficiary will receive the remaining monthly payments. You may choose both a primary and a secondary beneficiary. The amount of your monthly pension check will be divided among your beneficiaries, if there is more than one. If you receive 120 monthly payments before you die, no more payments will be made to your beneficiaries after your death.

Option 6: Life and 60-Month Certain

You will receive monthly pension payments until your death. If you have not received 60 payments by the time of your death, your spouse or beneficiary will receive the remaining monthly payments. You may choose both a primary and a secondary beneficiary. The amount of your monthly pension check will be divided among your beneficiaries, if there is more than one. If you receive 60 monthly payments before you die, no more payments will be made to your beneficiaries after your death.

If you choose a beneficiary other than your spouse, you must submit a Spouse’s Consent Form to the Pension Fund. The Spouse’s Consent Form informs the Pension Fund that your spouse is aware that he or she will not receive pension benefits upon your death. The form represents the written and notarized consent of your spouse to waive this right.

 

Examples of Payment Options

(Based on a $500-per-month pension)

Option Payment
1  Straight Life Pension with No Survivor
  • $500 per month to retiree
2  Joint and 100% Survivor
  • $400 per month to retiree
  • $400 per month to surviving spouse or beneficiary
3  Joint and 75% Survivor
  • $425 per month to retiree
  • $319 per month to surviving spouse or beneficiary
4  Joint and 50% Survivor
  • $450 per month to retiree
  • $225 per month to surviving spouse or beneficiary
5  Life and 120-Month Certain
  • $475 per month to retiree
  • $475 per month to surviving spouse or beneficiary until a total of 120 payments have been made to both retiree and spouse or beneficiary
6  Life and 60-Month Certain
  • $500 per month to retiree
  • $500 per month to surviving spouse or beneficiary until a total of 60 payments have been made to both retiree and spouse or beneficiary

Understanding Your Pension

Let’s start with the basics

Collecting Your Pension

A Step-by-Step Guide

Spousal Benefits

Understand Your Rights

After You Retire

Other Retiree Benefits