Southern Nevada Culinary &
Bartenders Pension Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I "freeze" my pension?

The only way to "freeze" your pension is by becoming vested. The current rule for vesting is that you must have 5 Pension Credits without having a Permanent Break in Service. If you stopped working before January 1, 1997 different rules apply. Refer to the Summary Plan Description (SPD) for more information on vesting, or log on to Your Benefits Online to check your current vesting status.

Am I vested?

Log on to Your Benefits Online to look up your current vesting status.

Can I get a loan or borrow from my pension?

No. Loans are not offered. Benefits are payable only at the time you are eligible to retire or receive disability payments.

Are there any death benefits for my spouse or family?

Yes. There are two types of death benefits in the event that you die before your Pension Benefit Starting Date. Your spouse can only claim one of these death benefits.

Qualified Pre-Retirement Survivor Annuity (Spouse Only)- If you are vested and you die before you retire, then your spouse will be entitled to receive a death benefit. You must have been married for at least one year in order for your spouse to receive the benefit. The benefit can be paid in a lump sum or as a monthly payment over the lifetime of your spouse.
OR
Pre-Retirement Death Benefit (Spouse or Estate)

If you die before you are vested your spouse may still receive a lump sum death benefit if you:

  1. Worked for a minimum of 300 hours combined in the year you died and in the previous year, and
  2. You have at least one Pension Credit.

This benefit is paid to your spouse or your estate as a lump sum.

Is my pension benefit taxed?

Yes. All pension distributions are taxable as ordinary income. Taxes withheld from your pension may not fulfill your total tax obligation. See you tax advisor for more information. If you choose to take a lump sum (or a partial lump sum), 20% will automatically be withheld for taxes on any portion paid directly to you.
One way to temporarily postpone the taxation of your lump sum is to rollover the sum directly into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Once you roll the money into a IRA it is not taxed until you withdraw it after age 59½. If you withdraw the money from your IRA before you turn 59½, an additional 10% penalty tax may apply.
You should consult your financial advisor regarding any other rollover options.
Retirees and Beneficiaries Only - If you would like to change your Tax Withholding Election (on the monthly benefit only), print the form below (Annual Notice of Withholding Election), fill it out and mail it to the Pension Office. You can also call the Pension Office to have these forms mailed to you.

Can I still file for my pension even if I cannot come to the Pension Office in person?

Yes. Send a written request to the Pension Office for an application to file. You should include your name, address, telephone number and Social Security number as well as your signature in your written request. The Pension Office will send you the application and a list of documents required to show marital status and proof of age. Mail the completed application and documents back to the Pension Office for processing. A processor will be assigned to you to assist you with the application process.

If I live in another country will I still be able to collect my pension benefits?

Your pension benefit can be mailed to you anywhere in the world. Be sure that the Pension Office has your current address on file so that we can be sure to mail your check to the correct address. You can print out the Change of Address Form and mail it to the Pension Office, or you can come to the Pension Office in person to change it.

Can I retire early?

Yes, if you meet the eligibility requirements you can take Early Retirement from ages 55-61. In order to be eligible for early retirement you must be vested. You can find out what your current vesting status Your Benefits Online.

How old do I have to be to apply for Regular Retirement?

In order to qualify for Regular Retirement you must be at least 62 years of age and be vested.

How do I apply for Early or Regular Retirement?

Check to see if you are vested by logging in to Your Benefits Online. An eligible participant applying for an Early Retirement or a Regular Retirement benefit may submit an application 90 days before the month he or she first becomes eligible for benefits (for Early Retirement, the month after the participant turns age 55; and for Regular Retirement, the month after the participant turns age 62). You are encouraged to visit or contact the Pension Office at least one year before applying for a benefit to begin the process. Call 702-369-0000 to obtain more information.

When you are ready to retire, contact the Pension Office to schedule an appointment. A representative will assist you and determine the type of documents and information that you will need to bring to your appointment, which may include:

  1. Identification;
  2. Proof of age; and
  3. Proof of marital status.

You will be assigned a pension processor to support you throughout the application process. If you do not have the required documents the Pension Office will be happy to assist you in obtaining them.

How do I apply for Disability benefits?

Contact the Pension Office to schedule an appointment. Some of the documents you will need to bring to your appointment are:
  1. A list of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all your treating physicians for your disability condition. If you have been hospitalized, bring the names and addresses of the hospital and any other medical facilities where you were treated for the disability;
  2. Proof of marital status; and
  3. If you have applied for a Social Security Disability Award, you must provide a copy of the Award letter or the Denial letter.

You will be assigned a pension processor to assist you throughout the application process. If you do not have the required documents the Pension Office will be happy to assist you in obtaining them.

How long does it take to process my pension application?

To assure prompt payment of your pension benefit, your application should be made at least three months before the date you are eligible for your benefits to begin.

Do I have to designate a beneficiary for Death Benefits that may be payable before I retire?

No. Death Benefits payable before retirement are the Qualified Pre-Retirement Survivor Annuity or the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit. The Qualified Pre-Retirement Survivor Annuity is automatically paid to your spouse, if you have one. The Pre-Retirement Death Benefit is automatically paid to your spouse or, if you are not married, to your estate.

Can I designate a beneficiary when I retire?

Upon retirement, if you are married, your spouse will automatically be your beneficiary for benefits that may be payable should you die after you have begun receiving pension payments.

Why does my spouse have to sign my pension application?

The Plan is required to obtain your spouse's signature under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Under ERISA, your spouse has certain rights to benefits under the Plan, and your spouse's signature verifies that he or she has been informed of those rights.

If I retire with my spouse as my beneficiary and my spouse dies, can I then designate my child as my beneficiary?

No. If your spouse or other designated beneficiary dies after you begin receiving benefits, you may not designate another beneficiary.

Can I get just one Lump Sum and no Monthly Benefit?

No. If you choose the lump sum option you will receive up to 50% of your total pension benefit in a lump sum (the maximum you can receive in one lump sum is $50,000). The remaining amount of your pension must be paid in the form of a monthly benefit.

When will I begin receiving my benefit checks?

Your first check will be issued about three months from the date of application. You will then begin receiving your benefit on a monthly basis.

Can I take a lump sum if I am totally and permanently disabled?

No. If you qualify for Disability benefits, your payments are in the form of a monthly benefit only. A description of the rules for disability payment options can be found in the Summary Plan Description (SPD).

Can my Lump Sum be sent to my regular bank account?

No. If you would like the lump sum to be paid directly to you, a check will be mailed to you. You can then deposit it in your regular bank account if you wish. Remember that 20% will be automatically withheld for tax purposes on any portion paid directly to you.

Can I still work after I start receiving pension benefits?

  • If you are receiving Early Retirement benefits you can still work a maximum of 39 hours per month. If you work 40 or more hours your benefit will be suspended for that month.
  • If you are receiving Regular Retirement then you can work unlimited hours and still receive your pension benefit.
  • If you are receiving a Disability benefit, then you cannot work in any job covered by the Pension Plan. If you do, then your disability benefits will be suspended.

Does my culinary health insurance continue if I stop working?

Under the terms of the Culinary Health Fund, you are eligible to make Retiree Self-payments for medical benefits if you are between the ages of 62-65, even if you stop working. Your Retiree coverage will end from the Culinary Health Fund the first of the month you turn age 65th or when you become eligible for Medicare whichever is first. If you stop working and retire before age 62 or retire after the age 65, you can make up to six (6) full self-payments in order to be covered for a year. For complete requirements, cost of Retiree coverage and benefits, please contact the Culinary Health Fund office for more details.

What is an IRA account?

An IRA is an Individual Retirement Account. Many banks can open this type of account for you. Money that is set aside in your IRA is tax-sheltered until you withdraw it after age 59½. If you do withdraw the money before you turn age 59½ an additional 10% penalty tax may apply. When you opt for a lump sum payment of your pension you can have the lump sum directly rolled over into your IRA in order to temporarily postpone paying taxes.

Can you tell me anything about my Social Security benefits or about Medicare?

You can directly contact the Social Security and Medicare websites for more information on the benefits that may be available to you.

How do I change my address?

If you are a participant you can change your address online by logging in to Your Benefits Online.

If you are a retiree or beneficiary you will need to submit your change of address in writing. You can print out the Change of Address Form and mail it to the Pension Office, or you can come to the Pension Office in person to change it.

Mail your form to us at the:     
Pension Office Mailing Address
P. O. Box 43449<>br/> Las Vegas, NV 89116

Or visit us in person at the:
Pension Office Location
1901 LasVegas Blvd So., Suite 107
Las Vegas, NV 89104

Where do I find definitions of terms?

A list of definitions can be found here.

What is the definition of a spouse?

A Spouse shall mean the person to whom a Participant is legally married for Federal Income tax purposes.