If you were getting a retirement benefit from the Hospital Center at Orange Retirement Plan, your check will now come from PBGC. You will keep getting your benefit each month, on time and without interruption. For the first few months, your monthly payment will still come from your pension plan's bank. After we get all the information we need from your pension plan, PBGC's bank, State Street Bank, will begin paying your benefit. You will be notified at least 30 days before this happens.
Yes, that is part of the information that PBGC gathers — we will obtain your banking information from your pension plan so that we can continue to make the payments directly to your bank.
Contact PBGC about four months before you want benefit payments to begin and we will send you a benefit application.
If you chose survivor benefits, we will continue to pay the person you designated at the time you applied for your pension benefits.
If you are entitled to or are receiving a survivor benefit when your plan ends, PBGC will continue to pay this benefit to you (adjusted for any guarantee limits) for the period provided by your plan.
The hospital's plan was originally covered by pension law and protected by PBGC. However, in 2003, after the hospital became affiliated with Cathedral Healthcare System Inc., the Internal Revenue Service determined that the Hospital's pension plan had become a church plan, which removed it from PBGC's protection. Soon after that, the hospital began winding down its operations and laying off employees. Over the past several years, at the request of the Pension Rights Center, PBGC worked with the hospital's former staff and the IRS to revisit that designation. IRS recently set the designation aside and PBGC can now cover the pension. The plan is within months of running out of money, so if PBGC had not stepped up benefit payments would have stopped.
Within the next 60 days we will send you a letter to welcome you and give you important information about PBGC.
The maximum benefit for retirees from the Hospital Center at Orange is $54,000 a year for a 65-year-old because the termination date of the pension plan is Jan. 1, 2009. At that time all employees had been laid off, operations stopped, and all participants should have expected that no further benefits would be earned under the plan.
After we have completed our review of all plan data and records, we will notify you in writing of your PBGC benefit and your right to appeal our determination. If you are receiving an estimated benefit, the letter will inform you whether your future payments will change and, if so, how much higher or lower they will be than the amount you are currently receiving.
If your estimated benefits have been lower than the amount that PBGC ultimately determines you should be receiving, PBGC will make up the difference in a single payment with interest when we have completed our review of your plan. If your estimated benefits have been higher than the amount you should be receiving, we will correct your future monthly payments to the final amount as calculated by PBGC. Typically, payments will be further reduced by no more than 10 percent each month to account for the higher payments already received.
PBGC guarantees "basic pension benefits," subject to legal limits. These include:
- pension benefits at normal retirement age,
- most early retirement benefits,
- disability benefits, and
- annuity benefits for survivors of plan participants.
The guarantee applies only to benefits earned before the plan terminates; however, if the plan terminates while your employer is in bankruptcy, the guarantee may be limited to benefits earned before the bankruptcy.
The pension benefit PBGC pays depends on
- provisions of your plan,
- legal limits,
- the form of your benefit,
- your age,
- plan assets, and
- amounts (if any) PBGC recovers from employers for the pension plan's shortfall. We do not guarantee health and welfare benefits, severance and vacation pay, life insurance, lump-sum death benefits, certain other death benefits, and other non-pension benefits. PBGC benefits are not increased for cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).
PBGC can provide general information now and will be able to answer more detailed questions after we receive the pension plan's records.
If you have a question, you can call us at 1-800-400-7242 (8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday - Friday) (TTY/ASCII: call 1-800-877-8339 and ask to be connected to 1-800-400-7242).