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Can I Work as a Carpenter or in the Building Trades after I Commence Pension Benefits?
After you retire, you will be disqualified from receiving your monthly pension benefit if you work in “prohibited employment.” Prohibited employment (for non-disability pensioners) differs depending on the age of the Pensioner, as described below:

Before reaching age 65 prohibited employment means employment, self-employment or other business activity in the trade or craft of carpentry or other business activity covered by a collective bargaining agreement or participation agreement in any geographic location.
At or after reaching age 65, until reaching age 70½ prohibited employment means employment, self-employment or other business activity in the trade or craft of carpentry or other business activity covered by a collective bargaining agreement or participation agreement in any geographic location of 40 hours or more in a month.
After age 70½ No types of employment are prohibited as of the date you reach age 70½.
Disability Pensioners are permitted to engage in and have earnings from employment that would not be considered Prohibited Employment, provided that the earnings for such employment do not exceed the Social Security Administration’s “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) earnings limit, as adjusted annually.
The following are examples of prohibited employment:
  • Acting as a building inspector for a contractor;
  • Working as a project manager, supervisor or superintendent for a contractor;
  • Working as an Employee of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Apprentice Training Program, the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters (“Regional Council”), or any local union; and
  • Serving as a member of the Regional Council’s Executive Board, delegate to the Regional Council or the Chicago Federation of Labor, business agent, or local union trustee, or as an officer of any local union.
The Trustees have determined that it is appropriate to expand the list of activities that do not constitute prohibited employment.
Effective as of July 1, 2008, the Board of Trustees amended the Plan to specifically permit the following activities by a Pensioner at any age:
  • Building Inspector for a state, county or municipality;
  • Inspector
  • for home purchase or sale;
  • for reviewing plans for code compliance; or
  • of building or machinery regarding repairs;
  • Sales provided no installation by the Pensioner is involved;
  • Picket duty;
  • Draftsman/CAD Designer;
  • Safety Director;
  • Member of a corporate board of directors;
  • Passive owner of a business in the construction industry provided the Pensioner has no active management responsibilities and receives no compensation for services;
  • Officer of a corporation provided Pensioner does not actively work with tools; or
  • Consultant regarding viability of a project.
Before returning to work, a Pensioner should obtain a determination from the Pension Fund Office as to whether or not the work will be considered prohibited employment.
To obtain the determination, the Pensioner should submit a written description of the work to the Pension Fund Office. The Pension Fund Office will send the Pensioner a written determination letter. If the Pensioner disagrees with the determination, he has a right to request a review of the determination within ninety (90) days, as described above.

What If I have already commenced pension benefit payments but want to return to work in Prohibited Employment?
If a Pensioner returns to prohibited employment after he has begun to receive his pension, his monthly pension benefit will be withheld, or suspended, for each month that he is so employed in prohibited employment.

A Pensioner must notify the Board of Trustees (“Trustees”) of his return to work within 30 days of the date he returns, regardless of the number of hours he intends to work in a month. 
If it is determined that a Pensioner is working in prohibited employment and failed to notify the Trustees, the Trustees will attempt to determine when his employment began and his entitlement to pension benefits ended. It will be assumed that he had been working enough hours to disqualify him from receiving his pension benefit. The suspended Pensioner will be allowed to present evidence refuting any such assumption.
If a Pensioner’s benefits are suspended, the Pension Fund Office will provide him with a notice describing the reason for the suspension plus other information about the suspension of benefits. The suspended Pensioner can request a review of the decision to suspend benefits by making a written request for review. The request for review must be received by the Pension Fund Office within ninety (90) days of the suspended Pensioner’s receipt of the notice of suspension. The request for review will be processed in the same manner as an appeal of a pension denial.
It is important to understand that if a Pensioner works in prohibited employment and receives pension benefits during that time period he is obligated to repay the full amount of the pension benefits received during the months of prohibited employment.
The Board of Trustees has the right to recover all pension payments that were improperly received during a period of prohibited employment, including the right to use offsets against future benefit payments to recover any benefits paid while in prohibited employment. The Trustees may withhold the first pension benefit payment due upon return to retirement plus, if necessary, an amount from his future pension payments, equal to up to 25% of each subsequent pension payment, to recover any benefits paid to him while in prohibited employment. If the Pensioner dies before the entire amount owed is recovered, any benefits payable to his surviving spouse or beneficiary will be withheld or reduced.

What do I do when I stop working in Prohibited Employment and want to resume my pension benefit?
When a Pensioner whose benefits have been suspended stops working in prohibited employment and wants to resume his pension benefits, he must request a Reinstatement Application from the Pension Fund Office. The completed Reinstatement Application must be received in the Pension Fund Office at least sixty (60) days before he wants his pension payments to resume. Payments will resume on the first day of the month following the latest of:

  • the date he stopped working in prohibited employment;
  • the date the Reinstatement Application is received by the Pension Fund Office;
  • the end of any added period of suspension imposed by the  Trustees, as described above (if the period of prohibited employment began before the Pensioner reached age 65)
Monthly pension amounts after a suspension of benefits will be recalculated in the following circumstances:
If the suspended Pensioner returned to covered employment and earned additional pension credit, the monthly pension amount will be adjusted for any additional credit.
If the Pensioner’s (except a Disability Pensioner) pre-suspension retirement was before normal retirement age the monthly pension amount will be adjusted for his age when his pension begins again (up to normal retirement age) if his pension had been suspended for at least three months.
A Pensioner’s post-suspension monthly benefit amount will be actuarially adjusted to take into account benefit payments received before his return to prohibited employment.

 

 
 

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