You may qualify for a disability pension benefit if you meet all of the following requirements:
- You have a Total and Permanent Disability, confirmed by your approval for Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, and you continue to be eligible for these benefits;
- You were Vested when the Total and Permanent Disability occurred;
- The condition or event giving rise to your Total and Permanent Disability occurred on or before your last day working in a Covered Job Category; and
- Your Covered Employment terminated as a result of that condition or event.
Your disability pension benefit will be paid in an amount equal to the Straight Life Pension with No Survivor option. See Section VI for an explanation of pension options.
A disability pension benefit is not automatic. You must apply to the Pension Fund for this benefit. In addition, you may be required by the Pension Fund to re-certify that you continue to qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. For more information, contact the Pension Fund.
Your disability pension benefit will usually start on the effective date of your Social Security Disability payments. However, if you don’t apply for a disability pension, then you may apply later and still be eligible to receive retroactive benefits for up to two years before you filed your application for disability pension benefits with the Pension Fund. Note, however, that you cannot receive more than two years of retroactive disability pension benefits — no matter how many years elapse between the effective date of your Social Security Disability payments and the date you file your application for the disability pension benefit with the Pension Fund. If you are receiving weekly disability benefits from the 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund or Workers’ Compensation payments, your disability pension benefit through the Pension Fund will not begin until after those benefits have been exhausted up to a maximum of 26 weeks.
If You Need Pension Benefits Before Your Disability Pension Begins
You may apply for an early retirement pension to be paid to you, if you are eligible, while you are waiting for approval of your Social Security Disability benefit. When you are approved for the Social Security Disability benefit, your early retirement pension will be converted to a disability pension benefit as of the effective date of Social Security Disability. The two-year limit on retroactivity described on the previous page applies.
If you elected a post-retirement survivor benefit for your early retirement pension, this becomes void once your pension is converted to a disability pension benefit. This means, for example, that if at the time you applied for your disability benefit from the Pension Fund, you were receiving an early retirement benefit under a Joint and 100% Survivor Pension with your Spouse as Beneficiary, this pension will automatically convert to a disability pension payable under a Straight Life Pension with No Survivor option — which pays you a higher monthly amount. If you die while receiving a disability pension benefit, your Spouse will be eligible to receive a 50% pre-retirement option after he or she has submitted an application. See Section VII for more information.
When You Reach 65, You Must Apply for a “Normal Retirement Pension”
You will continue to receive a disability pension benefit up until age 65, as long as you continue to qualify for Social Security Disability payments. Three to six months before you turn 65, you should contact the Pension Fund to apply for a normal retirement pension. Please note that the conversion to a normal retirement pension will not happen automatically. You will have to complete a pension application form for the normal retirement pension, including obtaining spousal consent, if applicable. If your Social Security Disability pension is discontinued or ends before age 65, you will no longer be eligible for a disability pension benefit from the Pension Fund. If that happens, you should contact the Pension Fund to see if you may be eligible for an early retirement pension.
NOTE: If you have applied for and are eligible for weekly disability benefits from the 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund or Workers’ Compensation payments for up to a maximum of 26 weeks, you may not receive normal, early or disability retirement pension payments until the first of the month following the expiration date of that benefit.
You must apply promptly for a disability pension. Retroactive payments cannot be made for any period more than two years before the date you file your disability pension application with the Fund.