Start Collecting My Pension

What you need to know

The Equity-League Benefit Funds Pension Plan’s normal retirement age is 65. However, you can begin taking your regular or service pension as early as age 60, or as late as age 73. The payment structure you choose will have an impact on your monthly pension income.

Start the pension application process 90 to 180 days before the date you wish to start collecting your pension.

Payment options

When you apply to start collecting your pension, the Plan will pay you benefits in one of the standard or additional options described below. How much you will receive will vary, depending on the pension type you choose. The default payment option depends on whether you’re single or married when payments start. You may be able to opt out of the default payment option.

Single life annuity with 60-month guarantee

How benefits are paid: You receive payments in equal monthly installments that begin when you retire and continue for your lifetime. If you die before receiving 60 monthly payments, the remainder of the 60 payments will be paid to your designated beneficiary, who can choose to receive this payment in one lump sum. If you die after the end of the 60-month period, all payments stop, and no benefits are paid to your beneficiary.

If you’re single, the default payment option is the single life annuity.

If you’re married, your spouse must consent for you to receive this payment option.

For details, review the Pension Plan and 401(k) Plan Summary Plan Description.

Joint and survivor annuity options

How benefits are paid: You receive monthly payments that begin when you retire. Upon your death, your spouse or designated beneficiary continues to receive monthly payments for life that are equal to 50%, 75%, or 100% of the monthly amount you were receiving—depending on which joint and survivor option you elect. The amount of the benefit you receive is actuarially reduced based on the amount of the option you elect. For example, if you elect a 50% joint and survivor option, your benefit would be reduced by less than if you chose a 75% or 100% option.

If you’re married, the default payment option is 50%. There is no age limit for 75% or 100% for your spouse.

If you’re not married or married and naming a beneficiary who is not your spouse, there is no age restriction for the 50% option. There is an age limit for the 75% option (no more than 19 years younger) and 100% (no more than 10 years younger) option only.

For details, review the Pension Plan Summary Plan Description.

Applying for your pension

The process for applying to collect your pension is partially dictated by law; we must provide you with a formal document that contains important information about your pension before we can accept your application. It’s a three-step process.

Step 1: Notify Equity-League in writing

To apply for your pension, complete and return the Request for Pension Information and Application form, or email, fax to (212) 869-1824, or send us a note with the following information:

  • Your name and marital status
  • Your date of birth
  • Spouse’s or beneficiary’s name, relationship, and date of birth
  • The date you want your pension benefits to start

Step 2: Complete and return the forms we send to you

Once we receive your notification, we will send you a document called Important Information About Your Pension, as well as pension application forms to complete and then return to the Fund Office. Note: If your pension application is dated before you receive the Important Information document, we’ll be forced to reject it. Your pension application materials consist of four forms. In order to finalize your pension, you must complete these pension forms (including the “Election of Benefit Payment Form”):

  1. The pension application form (6 pages) must be signed, and your signature notarized. (If you submit your application in person at the Fund Office, certain Fund Office staff members can witness your signature instead). You must also submit proof of your age.
  2. If you are married and choose a Spouse’s Pension, you must also include a copy of your marriage certificate. If you elect a Spouse’s Pension or a Joint and Survivor Annuity, you must also submit proof of your spouse’s or designated beneficiary’s age.
  3. The “Authorization Agreement For Electronic Deposits” form that tells us where to send your monthly pension payment.
  4. The one-page Tax Withholding Form W-4P controls your federal tax withholding status. By completing and returning the Form W-4P, you can elect to withhold the correct amount of federal income tax from your monthly pension payment. If you do not elect otherwise by completing this withholding form, tax will be withheld from your pension based on the assumption that you are single with no dependents.
  5. If you are married and choose a form of payment other than a Spouse’s Pension, you must also submit the Spouse’s Consent form, which must include his or her notarized signature (this is the last page included in the pension application package).

Step 3: Receive confirmation and start collecting your pension

Once we receive your completed application material, we will research your work history and calculate your benefit.. We will notify you of your pension amount and confirm your start date within 90 days. If you are applying for a terminal illness benefit, you will hear from us within 45 days.

You can choose to receive your pension via direct deposit or by mail. If you choose direct deposit, a written notice of the deposit will be sent to your home address.

Don’t miss a health or dental premium payment

One simple form is all it takes to have your premium deducted from your monthly pension benefit.


For more information, refer to the Pension Plan and 401(k) Plan Summary Plan Description.



Equity-League Benefit Funds Office

(212) 869-9380
(800) 344-5220 (outside NYC)
Health Fax: (212) 869-3323
401(k) and Pension Fax: (212) 869-1824