Attention: Annual Tax and Health forms are in the mail. Check your mailboxes and be on the lookout.

LIFE CHANGES. HAVE YOUR BENEFITS, TOO?

Your benefits are designed to adapt to your needs at different stages of your life. Your coverage is affected when you experience certain “life events” — like marriage, having a baby, retiring, becoming disabled. A good rule of thumb — always contact the Fund Office when you experience a life event.

Keep Your Contact Information Up To Date

If you have a change of address, contact the Fund Office for an Address Verification Form as soon as possible. It’s important for the Fund Office to have your most up-to-date contact information on record so that your benefits are in no way delayed or denied and so that we can communicate with you when we have Plan changes or important information about your Pension, Annuity or Health Benefits Funds. If you move, contact the Fund Office with your new address and phone number or you may complete the Address Verification Form and return to the Fund Office. Address changes can also be made via member self-service.

If You Move

If you move, contact the Fund Office or complete the change of address form with your new address and phone number. Members may also submit address changes via member self-service.

If You Marry

Health Benefits Fund
If you legally marry, your spouse is eligible to receive dependent benefits under the North Atlantic States Carpenters Health Benefits Fund. To enroll your new spouse, you should provide the Fund Office with the following information:

  • A copy of your marriage certificate, available from the town or city hall where you were married;
  • Your spouse’s date of birth and Social Security number; and
  • A copy of your spouse’s medical insurance information, if he or she is covered under another group insurance plan.

Once you provide the required information, your spouse is eligible for coverage under the Fund as of the date of your marriage. Note: If the Fund does not receive your marriage certificate within the first six months from the date of your marriage, your spouse’s eligibility for coverage will be effective the first of the month following the date the certificate is received. If you wish to name your spouse as your beneficiary for your life insurance benefit or accidental death and dismemberment benefit, contact the Fund Office for a Beneficiary Designation form.

Pension and Annuity Funds
If you marry, you should update your beneficiary designation by contacting the Fund Office for a Beneficiary Designation form. Once you have been legally married for one year, your spouse is your automatic beneficiary.

If You Acquire a Child Through Marriage

Health Benefits Fund
Notify the Fund Office if you are planning to cover a stepchild under this Fund. You must provide certain information to cover your stepchild under the Health Benefits Fund

      If the natural parents were married, you’ll need to provide the Fund Office with the following:
  • The child’s birth certificate;
  • The child’s Social Security number;
  • The divorce decree;
      If the natural parents were never married, the following is needed:
  • The child’s birth certificate;
  • The child’s Social Security number;
  • The court order. If no court order exists, you must provide a written statement indicating whether the natural mother has insurance for the child(ren) and whether the natural father has insurance for the child(ren).
      If one of the natural parents has passed away, the following is needed:
  • The child’s birth certificate;
  • The child’s Social Security number;
  • A copy of the death certificate of the natural parent.

Pension and Annuity Funds
Adding a child to your family does not affect your Pension or Annuity Fund benefits. However, you can name your child(ren) as “contingent” beneficiary. In the event of your death, if your primary beneficiary is not living, any death benefits due would be payable to your contingent beneficiary.

If You Have A Baby

Health Benefits Fund
Once your child is born, notify the Fund Office as soon as possible. You will need to provide certain information to have your child covered by the Health Benefits Fund:

  • A copy of the baby’s birth certificate listing both parents;
  • The child’s Social Security number; and
  • A copy of your baby’s other medical insurance information if he or she is covered under another group insurance plan.

Pension and Annuity Funds
Adding a child to your family does not affect your Pension or Annuity Fund benefits. However, you can name your child(ren) as contingent beneficiary. In the event of your death, if your primary beneficiary is not living, any death benefits due would be payable to your contingent beneficiary.

If You Adopt A Child

Health Benefits Fund
If you adopt a child, he or she will be covered as of the effective date of the adoption placement as long as you are responsible for health care coverage and your child meets the Fund’s definition of a dependent child. To add your child to your coverage, provide the Fund Office with:

  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate;
  • The child’s Social Security number;
  • A copy of the Adoption Agency paperwork indicating the specific date the child was placed in your home; and
  • A copy of the initial adoption paperwork.

Legal Guardianship
If you become a child’s Legal Guardian, coverage for the child will be effective as of the date specified on court documents. You must provide the Fund Office with:

  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate;
  • The child’s Social Security number;
  • A copy of the court document indicating that you as the Member are the legal guardian of the child.

Pension and Annuity Funds
Adding a child to your family does not affect your Pension or Annuity Fund benefits. However, you can name your child(ren) as “contingent” beneficiary. In the event of your death, if your primary beneficiary is not living, any death benefits due would be payable to your contingent beneficiary.

If You Divorce

Health Benefits Fund
If you divorce from your spouse, notify the Fund Office as soon as possible. The Plan will cover your ex-spouse as required by the divorce, but under no circumstances will the Plan cover both the ex-spouse and a current spouse.

      If you get legally divorced, you must provide the Fund Office with the following information:
  • A copy of your divorce decree; and
  • If you have children and you do not have custody, a copy of any Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO), if applicable.
  • If your divorce decree requires the continuation of health coverage, both you and your former spouse must sign an acknowledgement that if either party remarries and does not notify the Plan immediately he/she will be responsible for the cost of any claims following the re-marriage. The acknowledgement must be bank guaranteed or witnessed by a Fund Representative.
  • NOTE: Ex-Spouses are not covered in New York state, regardless if stated in the divorce decree.
      If your former spouse wants to continue coverage under the Health Benefits Fund, he or she must:
  • Contact the Fund Office; and
  • Enroll in COBRA Continuation Coverage.
  • Your former spouse may continue coverage under COBRA for up to 36 months. He or she must notify the Fund Office within 60 days of the day that the divorce becomes final.

Pension and Annuity Fund
If you become divorced, the Fund Office will require a copy of your divorce decree and all documents filed with the decree. You should also update your beneficiary designation at that time.

Your former spouse or dependent child under a child support order may be entitled to a portion of your pension and/or annuity benefits. The Funds’ will require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) which is a court order from a divorce proceeding that describes rights to your retirement benefits.

A QDRO will specifically define how pension and/or annuity benefits should be divided and it is also dependent upon whether you have begun to receive your pension and/or annuity benefits.

The Fund Office will notify you when a QDRO has been received.

If You Enter Active Military Service

Health Benefits Fund
If you are on active duty for 31 days or less, you will continue to receive health care coverage for up to 31 days, according to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

If you are on duty for more than 31 days, USERRA permits you to continue medical and dental coverage under COBRA for you and your dependents at your own expense for up to 18 months. COBRA will be offered after your active eligibility and coverage runs out. Your dependent(s) may be eligible for health care coverage under TRICARE. The North Atlantic States Carpenters Health Benefits Fund will coordinate coverage with TRICARE.

Coverage under this Fund will not be offered for any illness or injury determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to have incurred in, or been aggravated during, performance of service in the uniformed services. The uniformed services and the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide care for service-connected disabilities.

      When you are discharged (not less than honorably) from “service in the uniformed services,” your full eligibility for Health Benefits Fund coverage will be reinstated on the day you return to the Union Office for work with a Contributing Employer, provided you return within:
  • Ninety (90) days from the date of discharge if the period of service was more than one hundred eighty days; or
  • Fourteen (14) days from the date of discharge if the period of service was 31 days or more but less than one hundred eighty days; or
  • At the beginning of the first full regularly scheduled working period on the first calendar day following discharge (plus travel time and an additional eight hours) if the period of service was less than thirty-one (31) days.
  • You will be granted the same plan of coverage you had when you began active duty. If you are hospitalized or convalescing from an injury caused by active duty, these time limits are extended up to two years.
      If you are called to military leave, you should:
  • Notify your employer and the Fund Office; and
  • Make any required self-payments to the Fund Office to continue your coverage.

Pension and Annuity Fund
If you leave covered employment to enter service in the armed forces of the United States, you may be eligible to have your pension and annuity benefits credited with hours during your period of military service. You must return to covered employment or make yourself available for work in covered employment within a time period established by law after you separate from military service. Contact the Fund Office when you are discharged to determine eligibility for this benefit. You will be required to provide a copy of your military discharge papers.

If Your Work Status Changes

Health Benefits Fund
If you do not work enough hours or have enough banked hours to maintain your eligibility for benefits through the Health Benefits Fund, you may be eligible to continue your coverage through COBRA.

Pension Fund
Leaving Covered Employment
If you are vested in the Pension Plan and you leave covered employment, you won’t lose any benefits you have already earned in the Plan. Your Pension benefit belongs to you, and you will be eligible for a pension based on your pension plan’s eligibility criteria.

You must begin to receive your pension benefits by April 1 of the year after you turn age 72 regardless if you continue to work in covered or non-covered employment. You could face serious tax penalties if you do not begin collecting your pension by April 1 of the year after you turn age 72, so be sure to keep your address up to date with the Fund.

Annuity Fund
Leaving Covered Employment
If you leave covered employment, you won’t lose any benefits you have already earned in the Plan. Your Individual Account benefit will continue to earn interest and grow.

You must begin to receive your annuity benefits by April 1 of the year after you turn age 72 whether you continue to work in covered or non-covered employment. You may either elect to receive an Optional form of payment as described under the Options tab or you may elect to receive your Minimum Required Distribution. Be sure to keep your address up to date with the Fund.

If You Become Disabled

Health Benefits Fund
If you become totally and permanently disabled and cannot work, your coverage under the Health Benefits Plan will end. However, the Fund offers a once-per-lifetime benefit that allows you to extend your coverage for a full year from the date your coverage ends. After that, you may be eligible to elect continuing coverage through COBRA.

Pension and Annuity Fund
If the Trustees make the determination that you are “totally and permanently” disabled, as defined by the Plans, you may be eligible for a Disability Pension from the Pension Plan and a distribution of your Individual Account from your Annuity Plan. Please refer to the Pension Types section for the eligibility rules, and the Annuity Benefit Types section for information pertaining to your Annuity.

If You Retire

Health Benefits Fund

      If you retire on or after April 1, 1995 and meet the Plan’s other eligibility requirements, you and your eligible dependents are eligible for the North Atlantic States Carpenters Retiree Health Benefits Plan. There are six requirements:
  • You must be covered under Plan I or Plan II through worked hours, including coverage obtained under Short Hours Buy-In, in the period immediately preceding your application for Retiree Health coverage.
  • You must share the cost of coverage with the Fund. The cost of the plan is evaluated every year and subject to change. Your monthly premiums will increase from time to time.
  • You must be collecting a Pension from the North Atlantic States Carpenters Pension Fund or the UBC Carpenters Labor Management Pension Fund if you are a Shop employee.
  • You must remain a current dues paying member in your Local Union. Exception for participants who are not union member but are working for affiliates of the United Brotherhood under a Participation Agreement such as Benefit Fund, Regional Council, Training Fund, Local Union staff)
  • You may not re-enroll in the Plan after coverage termination.
    NOTE: If you are offered retiree coverage you can opt out if covered by an employer sponsored health plan that provides creditable coverage. You may opt back in one time with termination of other coverage and proof of continuous coverage while opted out. Coverage by non-employer sponsored plan irrevocably forfeits coverage under the Plan.
  • You must have at least 25, 000 hours contributed to the North Atlantic States Carpenters Pension Fund in your career.
      Continued Eligibility for Retirees
      Eligibility to participate ends on the earlier of:
  • The last day of the month when you do not pay the premium when required;
  • The date your pension benefit is suspended for any reason;
  • The date you become eligible under another group health plan;
  • The date you or your eligible dependent become entitled to Medicare; or
  • The date the Plan terminates.
  • The last day of the month following the month in which your Local Union membership is suspended for nonpayment of dues.

Pension Fund and Annuity Fund
Upon retirement, you’re eligible to receive your Pension Fund and Annuity Fund benefits. To apply for retirement, contact the Fund Office about three months before the date you’d like to retire. For information on the types of pensions available and the eligibility rules for the annuity, please refer to the summary plan document for each plan.

If You Die

Health Benefits Fund
In the event of your death from any cause while you’re covered under Plan I or Plan II, the Fund may provide an extension of health benefits at no cost to your surviving spouse and children for a period of up to three years. This extended coverage will be available if these family members have no other health coverage. Coverage for survivors is provided under the same Plan that you were covered under at the time of your death.

To receive a life insurance (and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Benefit, if applicable) benefit, your designated beneficiary must provide the Fund Office with a certified copy of the death certificate.

Pension and Annuity Fund
Pension and Annuity Plan benefits for your survivors depend on whether you die before or after benefit payments have begun and what form of benefit payment you selected.

If you have begun to receive benefits from the Plan when you die, the form of benefit payment you chose when you retired determines whether your survivors receive a benefit after your death. For example, if you’re married and you elected the automatic form of payment for married participants (the participant-spouse benefit), your spouse will continue to receive a portion of the amount you’d been receiving prior to your death. If you elected a payment option that did not include a benefit for a beneficiary, all payments will stop at your death, unless the option you elected provides for further benefits.