Joint-and-Survivor Payment Option
If you are legally married, your pension will automatically be paid in the Joint-and-Survivor Payment form.
In exchange for a reduction to your monthly benefit, 50% of the benefit you were receiving during your retired lifetime will be continued to your surviving spouse after your death, for his or her lifetime.
If you are single, or if both you and your spouse reject the Joint-and-Survivor Payment option, no additional payments will be made after your death. Your Pension will be paid for your lifetime only under the Single Life Payment form with no Joint-and-Survivor reduction.
The Fund Office will furnish you with the actual figures that apply to your case, including both the monthly benefit that would be payable under a Single Life Payment form and that payable under the Joint-and-Survivor Payment.
If your spouse dies or if you become divorced from your spouse before pension payments begin, the Joint-and-Survivor Payment Option is cancelled and the Single Life Payment Option applies (unless a court order provides otherwise). In such case, your pension will then be paid to you for your life only without a Joint-and-Survivor reduction. However, once payment in the Joint-and-Survivor form begins, the form of payment cannot change to the Single Life Payment and the monthly amount will not be increased because of the death of your spouse or as a result of the divorce of your spouse.
You must be married to your spouse on or before your Pension Effective Date in order to receive Joint-and-Survivor Payment. Additionally, you must file a copy of your marriage certificate with the Fund Office as proof that you are legally married to your spouse. In order for your spouse to receive a surviving spouse benefit, you must have been married for at least one year as of the earlier of your Pension Effective Date or your date of death.
The reduced Joint-and-Survivor Payments will not exceed 99% of the full benefit amount determined under the Plan’s benefit formula. The reduction if you retire on a Disability Pension before Normal Retirement Age is 78% plus 0.4% for each full year your spouse is older than you or minus 0.4% for each full year your spouse is younger than you.
Rejecting the Joint-and-Survivor Payment Option
If you are legally married and wish to receive your full Pension benefit for your lifetime only without the Joint-and-Survivor Payment option, both you and your spouse must provide a written, notarized rejection no more than 90 days and no less than 30 days before the first day of the month as of which your benefit payments are to begin. Your spouse must acknowledge in writing that he or she understands that rejection of the Joint-and-Survivor Payment means you will receive a larger monthly pension for your lifetime only and that no benefits will continue to be paid to your spouse after your death. You may file a new waiver or revoke a previous waiver any time during the benefit election period.
In general, you have a period of at least 30 days after being given a written explanation of your payment options to reject the Joint-and-Survivor form of payment. However, you may elect to reject, with your spouse's consent, the requirement that this explanation be provided to you within 30 days of your Pension Effective Date as long as you receive the explanation more than 7 days before that date.
Pre-Retirement Surviving Spouse
If you die after becoming Vested and after reaching an age eligible for a Pension, your spouse will still be entitled to the lifetime 50% surviving spouse payments as if you had retired on the day before your death. Your spouse will be eligible to receive this payment as of the first day of the month following the month in which your death occurred.
If you die after becoming Vested but before reaching an age eligible for a Pension, your spouse will still be entitled to the lifetime 50% surviving spouse payments as if you had survived until you could have applied for a pension and then died the next day. The Pension rate will be that in effect as of your last day of Covered Employment. Your spouse’s payment will be delayed until at least the earliest date you would have been eligible to receive a pension had you lived.
In either case, your spouse will have the right to postpone the surviving spouse payments up until the time you would have reached age 70 and 1/2.
Additional Rules for Pre-Retirement Surviving Spouses
You must have worked in Covered Employment after August 22, 1984 to qualify for the Pre-Retirement Surviving Spouse payments. You must also be married to your spouse for at least one year as of your date of death. Additionally, you must file a copy of your marriage certificate with the Fund Office as proof that you are legally married to your spouse.
Lump Sum Cash Payment
As an alternative, your surviving spouse may instead elect to receive his or her lifetime surviving spouse payments in the form of a single lump sum cash payment made as soon as administratively possible following the Fund Office’s receipt of this election. The amount of this payment will be equal to the actuarial present value of the lifetime payments to which your surviving spouse would have otherwise been entitled. (See "Can a Pre-Retirement Surviving Spouse's Pension Be Directly Rolled Over From This Plan?" in the Pension frequently asked questions.)
Special Death Benefit
A special Death Benefit of $1,000 will be paid to a beneficiary designated in writing by you if you die after having left Covered Employment after age 62 with at least 20 years of service, provided you were employed in Covered Employment on or after December 1, 1978. This benefit will not be payable, however, if you were covered for life insurance benefits by the New York Hotel Trades Council and Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. Health Benefits Fund (formerly the "Insurance Fund") or the New York Hotel Trades Council and Affiliated Locals Staff Insurance Fund.