For federal tax purposes, there are different rules that apply to the taxability of pensions based upon employee and employer contributions. Neither the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, nor the County of Allegheny, nor the City of Pittsburgh tax your monthly pension benefit. Due to the complexities of the tax laws, retirees should consult a tax professional.
How long will I receive a pension?
Your monthly pension benefits will be paid to you as long as you live.
What is the Social Security Reduction at age 65?
The Social Security Reduction at age 65 is applicable to all members hired after December 31, 1974. At age 65, the original pension amount is reduced by 50% of a Social Security benefit calculated using only wages earned during employment with the City. This reduction cannot exceed one half of the original pension amount.
Can I expect an increase to my pension benefits after I retire?
From time to time, retirees may receive increases from a Pension Trust Fund and other sources. Since 1987, retirees have received a total of $45.26 additional monthly pension benefits.
How solvent is the Pension Fund? Could I one day lose my benefit?
Because the pension benefit is a municipal/governmental pension, the possibility of losing the benefit is remote. The reason for this is that pursuant to law, the pensioner has first claim on tax dollars to satisfy pension benefits.
What are the procedures for applying for disability (non-work related) or occupational disability (work-related) pension benefits?
In each case you must be off work for at least six consecutive months. After the six month period you may apply for a disability or occupational disability pension benefit by signing a pension application and submitting to the Board a statement of "total and permanent disability" from your treating physician. You will then be scheduled to be examined by three physicians who are designated by the Pension Board. In order to be eligible for a disability pension, all three physicians must concur with your treating physician that you are 'totally and permanently" disabled from performing the duties required of your job.
Will my Occupational Disability pension be offset by my Worker's Compensation payments?
Yes, if you were hired after December 31, 1987.
What happens to my pension status while I am receiving worker's compensation or long term disability payments?
A person receiving worker's compensation or long term disability is not creating any pension credit. The reason is that such a person is not working nor is he receiving a salary or wage. Such a person is receiving a particular benefit. His pension status is similar to a person on a leave of absence.
What death benefits are available to my survivors if I die while employed by the City?
If you are at least 50 years of age with 8 years credited service and die while in active service with the City, your spouse is eligible to receive a monthly pension valued at one half of the benefit payable to you at the time of death. Additional adjustments may apply depending on the age difference of your spouse. If you are not at least 50 years of age with 8 years credited service, your beneficiary designated on the Municipal Pension Fund Beneficiary Card will receive a refund of your accumulated pension contributions.
What death benefits are available to my survivors if I die after I retire?
You may elect a $100.00 Spouse Benefit at the time of retirement. You would be required to contribute $100.00 per month from your pension check to the Pension Plan. Upon your death, your spouse would receive $100.00 per month until he or she dies or remarries. If you do not elect the $100.00 Spouse Benefit at retirement, in the event of your death, your beneficiary designated on the Municipal Pension Fund Beneficiary Card will receive a final pension check.
Are my pension contributions refunded to my beneficiary if I die before I have received pension payments exceeding my own pension contributions?
What happens if I die without designating a beneficiary or updating my beneficiary card?
In most cases, the survivors must open an estate in the Allegheny County Register of Wills Office in order to collect death benefits. This can be costly and time consuming. For this reason it is important to check periodically with the Municipal Pension Fund Office on your beneficiary designation.
If you have any more pension-related questions that you were wondering about, please call the Pension Office at 412-255-2655.