The Institution's Defined Benefit Retirement Plan has been under a Benefit Restriction since April 1, 2011. In accordance with federal law, this restriction was imposed as a result of the Plan's assets falling below 80% of its liabilities. During this restriction, the Plan's ability to make lump sum payments was limited to 50% of the individual's total accrued (earned) benefit.
Effective as of April 1, 2013, the Plan's funding percentage will exceed the 80% threshold and the Benefit Restriction will be lifted to allow the Plan to resume paying 100% of an individual's accrued benefit as a lump sum. The lifting of the restriction will remain in effect through at least March 31, 2014 at which point the Plan is subject to its annual reevaluation. See the special memo dated March 28, 2013.
Defined Benefit Plan Highlights
Employees hired before January 1, 2006 are vested in the Plan benefit when they have completed three years of vesting service. Employees hired on or after January 1, 2006 are vested after completing five years of vesting service. Employees earn a year of vesting service for each calendar year that he or she is paid for at least 1,000 hours (125 days for marine crew employees).
In general, the Plan provides retirement income that takes into account years of credited service* with WHOI and eligible compensation for the five calendar years (in the last 10 years of employment) during which pay was the highest.
The Defined Benefit Plan offers a variety of annuity options and, in some cases, employees may choose to receive a portion of their pension as a lump sum payment.
*one full year of credited service is working at least 2,080 hours in a service year.