November 13, 2020
NOTE: This message only applies to AT&T employees age 65 and over.
Attention all AT&T employees who are age 65 and over who retired or are retiring this year.
While investigating concerns raised by members IBEW 21 has found that Fidelity is advising employees age 65 and over, who either retired or are retiring this year, that they are not eligible to defer their pension payment date (aka Benefit Commencement Date) to next year. This is incorrect.
Although the AT&T/Warner Media Pension Benefit Plan generally states that you may elect to start receiving your pension benefit as soon as your retirement date (aka Termination of Employment date) or the first (1st) day of any month following your retirement date and before reaching age 65 (aka Normal Retirement Age), the bargained Midwest Program portion of the AT&T/Warner Media Pension Plan has a Deferred Lump Sum option, which supersedes the general language of the Plan.
The language in the Summary Plan Description for The Midwest Program of the AT&T/Warner Media Pension Benefit Plan is as follows:
“Deferral of Lump Sum
If you satisfy the Modified Rule of 75 on your Termination of Employment, you can elect to defer receipt of your lump sum distribution to Jan. 1 of the year following your Termination of Employment. The amount of the lump sum is equal to the Actuarial Equivalent of your Pension Benefit. This amount is calculated as of Jan. 1 of that year and paid as soon as practicable after Jan. 1.
If the date of your Termination of Employment is on or after Dec. 15, the deferral election must be made no later than the date of your Termination of Employment.
If the date of your Termination of Employment is on or before Dec. 14, the deferral election must be made by the earlier of:
• Thirty (30) days following your Termination of Employment.
• Dec. 15 of the year of your Termination of Employment.”
If you are retiring this year and are looking to take advantage of the possibility of a lower 2021 Corporate Bond Rate that could increase the amount of your lump sum, by deferring your lump sum to January 1st of 2021 the 2021 Corporate Bond Rate will be used to calculate your pension lump sum.
IBEW 21 representatives will continue to address the issue of misinformation being provided by Fidelity. If you have been affected by this error please contact Fidelity to have them correct it. If the issue is not resolved by Fidelity, then contact the IBEW Local 21 union benefits department at 630-960-4466 Extension 228 to escalate your concern.