Thursday, June 10, 2021
POLICY UPDATE: Former Legacy US Airways Flight Attendants with a Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) retirement policy:
PBGC Expands “Double Dip” Pension Options
PBGC recently made a policy change that allows some Flight Attendants to begin receiving PBGC pensions while working “double dip” even earlier. Initially, PBGC’s working retirement policy required that Flight Attendants who had not yet reached normal retirement age (full pension age) had to separate employment with American Airlines before starting their (reduced, early) pension benefits, (no “double dip” for early/reduced pensions.) With the new policy change, early retirement-eligible Flight Attendants in PBGC-trusteed plans can now begin to receive their reduced benefit, even if they continue working for American Airlines, “double dip”. As a reminder, if you start your pension early (before normal retirement age) you will receive less each month. What is normal retirement age, and how much is the reduction? That depends on your pension plan, so contact the PBGC to find out the rules for your specific plan.
Retroactive payments available at any time in the future:
If you were working on June 1, 2021, you can choose to start your reduced pension at some point later, and you can make it retroactive to June 1, 2021 and receive a back payment covering the month of June 2021 and later months. PBGC will allow eligible participants to start their pension later and get a back payment covering monthly payments missed, back to June 1, 2021, even if they apply months or years in the future.
It is important to note that you are not required to take any action now. If you are affected by this rule change, simply contact PBGC when you are ready to start receiving benefits, either full or reduced/early benefits. For more information, visit pbgc.gov/workingretirement.
Please Note: Legacy American Airlines Flight Attendant pensions are not held in trust by PBGC, so this rule change does not apply to those members with LAA pensions.
Things to remember about applying for benefits:
- You can apply for a pension if:
- you are now eligible or will be eligible within the next 180 days to receive benefits from PBGC; and
- you would like to begin receiving your retirement benefit within the next 180 days.
- Before you apply for your benefit, you must request an estimate of your benefit amount. The estimate will tell you how much your benefit would be under each possible form of benefit available to you on the date you want your benefits to start.
- PBGC will contact you if you are missing any “proof documents” (e.g., a birth certificate) that are required to complete your application.
- You will start to receive payments about three months after you contact PBGC about your pension benefits. For example, if you contact PBGC during July, the soonest your benefit can start is October 1.
How to apply:
Call PBGC’s Customer Contact Center at 1-800-400-7242 to request an application for pension benefits.
Kim Coats Tuck
APFA National Retirement Specialist