Monday, April 18, 2011

“Houston! We Still Have A Problem”

The reason that states like Wisconsin have approved the removal of collective bargaining for ‘public’ employees is expressly explained by the following links.  Please take the time to go to these sites and read the full story.  My spouse has a small union pension which we started collecting on 3 years ago.  1 1/2 years ago I received a letter stating that the pension fund was at 65% funding (stage yellow).  One year later I received a letter stating that the pension fund level was still headed downwards and they had one more year to bring up the funding level or reduce all pensioner's reimbursement by 35% or greater, in order to remain compliant with the law (s).  Last week I received a letter and I am going to copy the language  from the letter “verbatim”.  Please take the time to read and absorb what this information means to “all” private citizen’s and tax payers, after which I ask you to follow this link to the labor dispute (of which there are many) happening in Orange, CT, between Teamsters Local 443 and Dichello Distributors.

Yours In Truth  Winking smile  Shelly

The purpose of this notice is to advise you that the Board of Trustees of the ***** **** Retirement Plan (“Plan”) elected to take advantage of certain special funding rules available under the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010 (Pension Relief Act of 2010).  These rules were put in place by the Federal government to help multiemployer pension plans respond to the historic investment losses suffered in 2008 and 2009.

No Changes are being made to your current benefits or the rate at which you earn future benefits under the Plan.

Explanation of special funding rules elected by the Trustees

Each year the Plan’s actuary prepares a valuation that compares the Plan’s liabilities (essentially benefit promises to current and future retirees and beneficiaries) to the actuarial value of the Plan’s investments.  The market value of investments fluctuates from day to day.  For funding purposes, Federal pension law allows plans to use actuarial values of plan investments that are designed to smooth out those fluctuations.

The Trustees have made elections permitted under Federal law related to the investment losses incurred during the 2008-09 year.

Elections Made

Extended amortization of investment losses.  Federal law generally requires that investment losses be taken into account for funding purposes over a 15-year period.  By electing to use this rule, the Plan’s net investment losses incurred in the 2009-09 plan year will be taken into account for funding purposes over a 29-year period beginning after the end of the plan year in which the loss was incurred.

Expanded asset smoothing.  Federal law allows the Plan to “smooth” out variations in the market value of investments by spreading the difference between the expected return on Plan assets and actual return over a five-year period.  By electing to use this rule, the difference between actual investment returns and expected investment returns for the plan year ending June 30, 2009 will be spread over ten years instead of five.

Effect of the application of the special funding rules

In general, applying the special funding rules allows the Plan more time to recover from the investment losses in 2008-09 while maintaining the current level of benefits provided under the Plan.  The special funding rules will reduce the level of annual contributions needed to meet minimum contribution requirements under the law.  The special funding rules may also improve the Plan’s zone status in future plan years.  You will continue to receive annual funding notices that give you information about the Plan’s funding status.

Future benefit improvements limited by special funding rules

Under the Federal law, the Plan cannot generally improve benefits while the special funding rules apply and during the two-plan year period thereafter (“Restriction Period”).  An exception is provided if the amendment is required as a condition of continued qualification under the Internal Revenue Code, or the Plan’s actuary certifies that (i) the increase is paid for by additional contributions and (ii) the benefit  (and associated contribution) increase is not reasonably expected to reduce the plan’s funded percentages and credit balances during the Restricted Period.

As a result of the elections described above, the Trustees currently anticipate that benefit improvements will be limited until June 30, 2017.

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