Summary Plan Description (Revised January 1, 2012)

Carpenters Retirement Plan At A Glance

This section is an overview of the benefits provided by the Carpenters Retirement Plan of Western Washington. These benefits are further described in the summary plan description and the plan document. If any discrepancy exists between these three sections, the terms of the plan document govern. If you have any questions about this plan, please contact Retirement Services at Carpenters Trusts. The address and telephone numbers are on the back cover of this booklet.


You participate in the Carpenters Retirement Plan when you work for an employer signatory to a collective bargaining or written contribution agreement recognized by the Board of Trustees. Signatory employers are required to make an hourly contribution to this plan for each hour of service. The hourly contribution amount can change from year to year as determined by the collective bargaining agreement (please see Introduction and Hourly Contribution Rate).


You earn a permanent right to a retirement benefit as soon as you become vested. There is a five-year vesting requirement for all ERISA-mandated retirement benefits provided by this plan. There is a ten-year vesting requirement for certain other benefits provided by this plan. You earn one year of credited future service in this plan for each calendar year in which you work 1,000 or more covered hours (please see Credited Service).

Monthly Benefit

This plan is a "defined benefit plan" which means you earn a monthly income payable at retirement and payable for the rest of your life. The amount of that income is determined primarily by the number of years you work for a signatory employer and the number of hours you work in each of those years. The more you work and the longer you work, the larger your monthly income will be. The monthly benefit earned each year is determined by a formula that multiplies the hourly contributions made on your behalf each year by a benefit factor. The benefit factor converts these contributions into a monthly benefit. When you retire, your total monthly benefit is the sum of the monthly benefits earned each year during your career in covered service (please see Credited Future Service and Benefit Statements).


The normal retirement age for this plan is 65. If you meet certain eligibility requirements, the plan provides unreduced benefits beginning at age 55 under rule of 80 early retirement (please see Rule of 80 Early Retirement) and at age 62 under special early retirement (please see Special Early Retirement). Benefits are not payable until you retire and apply for benefits (please see Application and Election Process).

Payment Options

This plan provides a lifetime income to you, or a lifetime income to you with a continuing income to your spouse or other designated beneficiary if you pre-decease him or her (please see Retirement Payment Options). Your monthly benefit is adjusted to reflect the payment option selected.

Disability Retirement Benefits

If you become permanently disabled before retirement, you may be eligible for a monthly income under disability retirement. To qualify for disability retirement, you must satisfy the ten-year vesting rule, the activity test and be permanently disabled, as defined by this plan (please see Disability Retirement).

Death Benefits Before Retirement

If you are vested in this plan and die before retirement, your surviving spouse or other designated beneficiary may be eligible for one of three pre-retirement death benefits (please see Death Benefits Before Retirement).

Service-Related Issues

If you are new to this plan and not vested...

  • The Carpenters Retirement Plan is one of two pension plans provided as part of your fringe benefit package. The other plan is the Carpenters Individual Account Pension Plan.
  • This plan is a "defined benefit plan" which means it provides you with a lifetime monthly benefit beginning at retirement (age 55 and older).
  • This plan has a five-year vesting requirement which means you must have five full credits in this plan without incurring a permanent break in service.
  • If you cannot work 500 or more hours in a given year, it is important for you to understand the break in service rules. You can permanently forfeit contributions if you don't vest within a certain period of time.
  • Once you are vested, the monthly benefit you earn each year is guaranteed at retirement.
  • Retirement benefits are not available until you're age 55 or older, except for qualified permanent disabilities and preretirement death benefits.

If you are vested in this plan...

  • The more you work for a contributing employer, the greater your lifetime monthly retirement benefit.
  • Your monthly benefit is also based on the actuarial experience of the plan during your career, including the plan's investment performance, retirement experience and mortality.
  • The income provided by the two retirement plans, social security and your personal savings should form the foundation of your retirement income.
  • You are strongly encouraged to maximize your personal savings to compensate for the uncertainties associated with inflation and the cost of retiree medical care.

If you are vested and age 55 or older...

  • Benefits are payable under this plan if you are vested in this plan and age 55 and older.
  • You must retire under the Carpenters Retirement Plan and the Carpenters Individual Account Pension Plan at the same time.
  • Your total monthly benefit (as indicated on your Quarterly Benefit Statement) is reduced if you retire before age 65, except when you retire at age 62-64 under special early retirement or when you retire under rule of 80 early retirement.