Vesting Rules as of the Pension Plan’s Freeze Date on December 31, 2021
Workers who were performing eligible service as active Pension Plan participants on December 31, 2021 became fully vested in their accrued Pension Plan benefit as of that date.
In addition, workers who were not performing eligible service as active Pension Plan participants on December 31, 2021, but had accrued a Pension Plan benefit for eligible service performed since December 31, 2016, became fully vested in their accrued Pension Plan benefit as of December 31, 2021.
If you last terminated covered employment before December 31, 2016, please contact the WELS Benefit Plans Office for information regarding the Pension Plan vesting rules that apply to you.
Normal and Early Retirement Options
To be eligible for a normal retirement benefit, a worker must be terminated from covered employment, vested, and apply for pension benefits. Normal retirement benefits can begin on or after the date the worker attains his/her normal retirement age. The Pension Plan’s normal retirement age varies by participant according to his/her date of birth as provided in the following schedule:
|PARTICIPANT’S DATE OF BIRTH||NORMAL RETIREMENT AGE|
|On or before January 1, 1943||65|
|January 2, 1943 through January 1, 1960||66|
|After January 1, 1960||67|
Early retirement benefits are benefits to eligible workers who are terminated from covered employment and commence receipt of benefits prior to their normal retirement age but after age 55. The amount of an early retirement benefit is calculated by reducing the normal retirement benefit amount by 0.5% for each month that benefit commencement precedes the worker’s normal retirement age.
If a worker returns to covered employment after commencing receipt of Pension Plan benefits, payment of the Pension Plan benefit will be paused and instead the worker will receive the applicable Synod Allocations and Synod Age-Based Allocations in his or her Shepherd Plan account for that period of covered employment. Payment of the worker’s Pension Plan benefit will resume after the worker terminates covered employment (i.e., retires or reduces his or her employment status to less than half time).
Effective January 1, 2014, the Pension Plan’s benefit formula for a participant who terminates employment on or after January 1, 2014 is as follows:
Participant’s full monthly benefit at normal retirement age for life =
Pre-2014 Benefit + Post-2013 Benefit
The Pre-2014 Benefit is calculated as follows:
.0057 x years of credited service attributable to covered employment before January 1, 2014 x applicable salary ÷ 12
The Post-2013 Benefit is calculated as follows:
.0057 x years of credited service attributable to covered employment from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2021 x applicable salary ÷ 12
A participant who vested for a Pension Plan benefit as of December 31, 2021 may obtain a personalized estimate of his or her vested Pension Plan benefit based on his or her WELS service record here: wels.net/pensionbenefitestimate.
Please note that the estimator below is based on the Pension Plan’s current provisions and is intended for use by participants with retirement dates on or after July 1, 2012. If you retired from WELS service prior to July 1, 2012, please contact the WELS Benefit Plans Office by emailing [email protected] or by calling 414-256-3299 for a personalized benefit estimate.
Please note that the amounts calculated using this form are estimates of your potential monthly pension benefit amount from the WELS Pension Plan upon your retirement and are intended for the sole purpose of providing the worker with an approximation of their monthly benefit. The actual amount of your pension benefit may be different at the time of your retirement. Please note that WELS reserves the right to amend the Pension Plan, including, without limitation, the benefit formula under the Pension Plan.
The Benefit Plans Office welcomes the opportunity to provide a customized benefit estimate for you. Please contact the Benefit Plans Office by emailing [email protected] or by calling 414-256-3299.
Click here to display the benefit basis table
|YEARS OF CREDITED SERVICE||APPLICABLE SALARY ($)|
|30 or more||53,359|
Eligible unmarried plan participants will receive a monthly annuity benefit for life (life annuity) at the time of application for pension benefits.
Eligible married plan participants may, at the time of application for pension benefits, elect to receive one of the four benefit options below:
|BENEFIT OPTION||Participant Benefit|
(Percentage of Option A (Life Annuity) for Participant)
|Surviving Spouse Benefit|
(Percentage of Option A (Life Annuity) for Participant’s Spouse)
Surviving Spouse Benefits
If a married plan participant is receiving his/her Pension Plan benefit in the form of a surviving spouse benefit, the plan participant dies after payment of his/her Pension Plan benefit begins, and the plan participant’s spouse survives the worker, the spouse will receive a Pension Plan benefit. This benefit will be a monthly benefit paid over the life of the spouse.
Example: If the plan participant chose the 85% / 67% surviving spouse benefit option, as indicated in the benefit options section above, at the time of application for surviving spouse benefits, the plan participant’s spouse would be eligible to receive a monthly survivor benefit for life equal to 67% of the monthly benefit that the plan participant would have received if the plan participant had elected to receive his/her Pension Plan benefit in the form of a life annuity.
*If a plan participant is married and dies before beginning to receive Pension Plan benefits, the plan participant’s spouse will receive a monthly annuity for the spouse’s life. Please contact the WELS Benefit Plans Office for more information on this pre-retirement survivor benefit.