Unite Here! Workers and Hospitality Employers VDB Pension Trust

What is it?

The Variable Defined Benefit (VDB) Pension was started in 2012.  The VDB is a “classic” pension, meaning that you get a payment every month starting when you retire for the rest of your life (much like Social Security retirement benefits).

How do I earn a benefit?

You earn a benefit accrual for every year you work more than 1,000 hours.  In order to receive a benefit at the time of your retirement, you must also be vested.

How do I keep track of my benefit?

Every year you will receive an annual statement, with updated information on your vesting, accrual, and projected benefits at the time of your retirement.  You can see a sample statement to the right in the resources section.

How do I get my benefit?

In order to receive a benefit from the plan, you must no longer be employed by a participating employer and qualify for one of the following:

  • Retirement – 65+ years old with 5 vesting service credits
  • Early Retirement – 55+ years old with 10 vesting service credits.  Your benefit value will be reduced for Early Retirement since you will be receiving benefits for a longer period of time.
  • Disability – 45+ years old with 10 vesting service credits, and receiving Social Security Disability Income.  Your benefit value will be reduced for Disability since you will be receiving benefits for a longer period of time.

How do I apply for my benefit?

When you are ready to start receiving your benefit (because you qualify for Retirement, Early Retirement or Disability), you will need to submit the following to the Trust Office:

  • Completed VDB Application Form
  • A copy of your Birth Certificate
  • If you are married
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Spouse’s Birth Certificate
  • If you are divorced
    • Divorce Decree
    • Separation/Segregation of Assets

Once all of the above have been submitted to the Trust Office, your benefit options will be calculated based on your age and the age of your spouse if you are married.  You will then be sent an Election Packet that will need to be filled out and returned to the Trust Office.  Please note that some parts of the Election Packet may need to be notarized.  Once the Trust Office received your completed Election Packet, you should start receiving payments within two to three weeks.

What happens to my benefit if I die before starting payment?

If you are married at the time of your death, your spouse will be eligible for a survivor benefit.  There are no other eligible types of beneficiary, so if you are unmarried at the time of your death, there will be no payments made to a beneficiary.

I am interested in the details of the plan, how exactly does plan accrual work?

  • Every year you have 1,000 or more hours you will earn a service credit
  • The value of the service credit is defined by the plan
    • For example, the value of a service credit in 2012 was $300 annually
  • The percentage of service credit you earn is based on the hours you work in a year
    • 1,000 to 1,200 hours = 60% credit earned
    • 1,201 to 1,400 hours = 70% credit earned
    • 1,401 to 1,600 hours = 80% credit earned
    • 1,601 to 1,800 hours = 90% credit earned
    • 1,801 or more hours = 100% credit earned
  • Past Service – members born before January 1, 1957 may earn an increased accrual based on their work history from 1992 through 2011

I am interested in the details of the plan, how exactly does vesting in the plan work?

You must be 100% vested to receive a benefit – there is no partial vesting

  • You become 100% vested once you have five vesting credits
  • You earn one vesting credit for every year with 1,000 or more hours
  • Once you are 100% vested, you cannot lose your vesting
  • You will lose your vesting credits if you suffer a permanent break in service before you are 100% vested
    • A permanent break in service occurs if you have more consecutive break years than vesting credits
  • A break year occurs if you have less than 501 hours in a year without being on FMLA or Military Leave
  • All break years are cleared when you earn a new vesting credit

How can I get additional information or help with my benefit?

You can contact the Trust Office using the form below; by email pension@gbhetrust.org; by phone at 617.451.0318 or in person at the Trust Office (appointments are recommended).