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Pension Glossary

For a more in-depth explanation of pension terms, review the Pension Summary Plan Description

Accrued Benefit

The amount of retirement income payable at normal retirement age. Calculated as a Regular Retirement Pension benefit, in the form of a single life annuity beginning at your normal retirement date.

Actuarial Assumptions

Factors which actuaries use in estimating the cost of funding a defined benefit pension plan. Examples includes: the rate of return on plan investments; mortality rates; and the rates at which plan participants are expected to leave the system because of retirement, disability, termination, etc.

Actuarially Equivalent

An optional form of benefit of equivalent current value to the benefit that otherwise would have been provided, computed on the basis of actuarial tables, factors and assumptions approved by the Board of Trustees and described in the Plan Document.


A professional responsible for, among other things, performing valuations of assets and liabilities of pension plans and calculating the costs of providing pension benefits.


An individual who receives periodic payments from the retirement system. This term includes service and disability retirees and their survivors.


A steady monthly income during retirement. 


A person who is receiving, or is entitled to receive, a benefit under a pension plan.

Collective Bargaining Agreement

The negotiated agreement (also called a “labor agreement”) between the Union or a Local Union and an employer, which provides for contributions into the Fund on behalf of  eligible employees.


Money paid into your pension by you and/or by your employer.

Covered Employment

Work performed by an eligible employee for a contributing employer

Death Benefit

A pension benefit or lump sum payment that is received after the death of a plan member by his or her spouse or beneficiary.

Designated Beneficiary

A person living at the time of designation, and designated in writing by a participant to receive benefits that may be payable under Plan provisions.

Disqualifying Employment

Disqualifying Employment generally includes working after retirement for an employer in covered employment or employment for which contributions are required to one or more of the following funds:


  • Laborers’ District Council and Contractors’ Pension Fund of Ohio
  • Ohio Laborers’ District Council – Ohio Contractors’ Association Insurance Fund
  • Ohio Laborers’ Training and Apprenticeship Trust Fund
  • OLDC-OCA Cooperation and Education Trust


For more information on Disqualifying Employment, review page 31 of the Pension SPD.

Eligible Spouse

The person who is recognized under applicable state law as being your lawful wife or husband, and who has not been legally separated from you before your annuity starting date, as determined by the Trustees. (Your former spouse will be considered an eligible spouse only if and to the extent required under a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO)


You are eligible to participate in the Plan as of your date of hire. If you complete 250 or more hours of service in the Plan year, you may begin participating and earning pension credit.

Early Retirement

A termination of employment involving the payment of a retirement allowance before a participant is eligible for normal retirement. The retirement allowance payable in the event of early retirement is often lower than the accrued portion of the normal retirement allowance. 

Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)

ERISA is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most voluntarily established retirement and health plans in private industry to provide protection for individuals in these plans. 


ERISA requires plans to provide participants with plan information including important information about plan features and funding; provides fiduciary responsibilities for those who manage and control plan assets; requires plans to establish a grievance and appeals process for participants to get benefits from their plans and gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty. 

Employer Contribution

The payments made by an employer to the Fund according to a contribution agreement.

Hours of Service

This means service in the employ of an employer that is recognized for purposes of calculating your pension credits and vesting credits, and for purposes of determining if you have incurred a break in service. Hours of service include the hours for which you are paid or entitled to payment by an employer for the performance of duties, including overtime, periods of time during which no duties are performed (e.g. vacation, holiday, illness, incapacity, layoff, jury duty, military leave, or leave of absence), and hours for which back pay is awarded or agreed to by an employer. 

Joint and Survivor Annuity

A provision that enables a plan participant to take annuity payments with continuing of all or part of the benefits after his or her death going to a designated beneficiary. The survivor annuity will automatically be provided to a married participant if he or she does not choose against it. The annual pension benefits of the participant electing to have such a survivor annuity are generally reduced to provide for the survivor

Life Expectancy

The average number of years a person of a given age might be expected to live.

Life Annuity

A life annuity is an annuity, or series of payments at fixed intervals, paid while the purchaser (or annuitant) is alive. A life annuity is an insurance product typically sold or issued by life insurance companies. Life annuities may be sold in exchange for the immediate payment of a lump sum (single-payment annuity) or a series of regular payments (flexible payment annuity), prior to the onset of the annuity.

Lump Sum

Payment within one taxable year of the entire balance payable to the participant from a qualified pension.

Very few members are eligible for the lump sum payment option. Generally, only members with relatively small benefits are eligible for lump sum payments. The amount of your monthly pension benefit would need to be less than $200, or the actuarial value of your total pension benefit is less than $1,000.

If you receive your pension benefit as a lump sum payment, there are no benefits payable to your designated beneficiary at the time of your death. 


Medicare is a federal health insurance program that covers people over the age of 65 and the disabled. There are four parts to Medicare: Medicare Part A covers hospital costs, Medicare Part B covers medical expenses, Medicare Part C includes Part A and Part B coverage, and Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage. For more about the types coverage available, visit Medicare.gov.

Normal Retirement

Normal retirement age is:


  • The later of either age 65 or your age on the 10th anniversary of your participation (or on the 5th anniversary of participation if you complete one or more hours of service after December 31, 1987, or
  • If earlier, age 60 with at least 5 years of vesting credit and one year of pension credit


If calculating anniversaries of participation, participation before a permanent break in service will not be counted.


Participant includes any person who has been credited with at least one year of pension credits and who is either actively earning vesting credits or has accrued at least one-fourth year of pension credit during the preceding calendar year. It also includes any person who has acquired a vested interest in any benefit under this Plan.


The monthly, annual, or other periodic amounts that start being paid to a member or former member at retirement and that continue for the rest of his or her life. When the member or former member dies, these payments would be made to any other person who may be entitled to receive them.

Pension Benefits

The benefit you receive as a pension once you retire while a participant in this Plan. A number of retirement and payment options are available. 

Pension Credit

A number of years of covered employment, to the nearest one-fourth year, that is credited to your account for purposes of determining the amount of your pension benefits. 


Pension credits are an important part of your Pension Plan. They determine whether you are eligible to receive a pension benefits and the amount of your pension benefits. 

Pension Fund

The Laborers’ District Council and Contractors’ Pension Fund of Ohio, established under the Agreement and Declaration of Trust dated as of November 1, 1967, as subsequently amended.

Permanent & Total Disability

This term means an employee’s condition, as determined by the Trustees on the basis of medical evidence, which:


  • Renders the employee wholly disabled because of bodily injury or disease, and
  • Permanently, continuously, and fully prevents the employee from performing work in the industry for life


For purposes of the Plan, an employee is not considered permanently and totally disabled if the disability results from participation in a felonious act, an intentionally self-inflicted injury or service in the armed forces of any country. 


The Trustees may require the employee to submit medical and other related evidence of disability and may require the employee to be examined by a doctor selected by the Trustees. A Social Security disability award also may be considered as evidence of permanent and total disability for purposes of a Permanent and Total Disability Pension.

Single Life Pension

A pension payable until the death of the retired member. It provides the largest monthly pension, but offers no continuing income to the retired member’s spouse, if he or she outlives the retired member.

Summary Plan Description (SPD)

An SPD provides you with an easy-to-understand summary of the Plan Document. The Plan Document is a description of the Laborers’ District Council and Contractors’ Pension Fund of Ohio written in detailed legal language.

Surviving Spouse

The Eligible Spouse who survives after a member’s death, provided he or she was the lawful spouse for at least one year prior to the member’s death and has not been legally separated from the member prior to his or her death. (The former spouse will be considered the surviving spouse only if and to the extent required under a qualified domestic relations orders, or QDRO.)

Trust Fund

Generally means the employer contributions, money, and property, real and personal, and other things of value that make up the Fund.


The Board of Trustees established under the Agreement and Declaration of Trust, constituted according the provisions of the Agreement and Declaration of Trust, and responsible for the operation of the Laborers’ District Council and Contractors’ Pension Fund of Ohio. The Board of Trustees is made up of individuals appointed by the Union and participating employers. 

Union and Local Union

The Laborers’ District Council of Ohio of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, which has agreements in effect with the Association or with other employers providing for the establishment of the Pension Plan and Trust Fund, and/or for the payment of contributions to the Fund. The term “Local Union” means any local union affiliated with the Union and party to an agreement requiring contributions into the Fund. 

Vesting Benefits

Accrued pension benefits that a member, former member, or retired member is entitled to receive unconditionally under a pension plan, even if they are not payable until a future date. 

Vesting Credit

The number of years, to the nearest one-fourth year, created to the account of any employee for purposes of determining whether that employee has earned a non-forfeitable right to accrued pension benefits.

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