SO » Topics » The Pension Plan

This excerpt taken from the SO DEF 14A filed Apr 13, 2009.
The Pension Plan
The Pension Plan is a tax-qualified, funded plan. It is the Company’s primary retirement plan. Generally, all full-time employees participate in this plan after one year of service. Normal retirement benefits become payable when participants both attain age 65 and complete five years of participation. The plan benefit equals the greater of amounts computed using a “1.7% offset formula” and a “1.25% formula” as described below. Benefits are limited to a statutory maximum.
 
The 1.7% offset formula amount equals 1.7% of final average pay times years of participation less an offset related to Social Security benefits. The offset equals a service ratio times 50% of the anticipated Social Security benefits in excess of $4,200. The service ratio adjusts the offset for the portion of a full career that a participant has worked. The highest three rates of pay out of a participant’s last 10 calendar years of service are averaged to derive final average pay. The pay considered for this formula is the base rate of pay reduced for any voluntary deferrals. A statutory limit restricts the amount considered each year. The limit for 2008 was $230,000.
 
The 1.25% formula amount equals 1.25% of final average pay times years of participation. For this formula, the final average pay computation is the same as above, but annual cash incentives paid during each year are added to the base rates of pay.
 
Early retirement benefits become payable once plan participants have during employment both attained age 50 and completed 10 years of participation. Participants who retire early from active service receive benefits equal to the amounts computed using the same formulas employed at normal retirement. However, a 0.3% reduction applies for each month (3.6% for each year) prior to normal retirement that participants elect to have their benefit payments commence. For example, 64% of the formula benefits are payable starting at age 55. All of the named executive officers are eligible to retire immediately.
 
The Pension Plan’s benefit formulas produce amounts payable monthly over a participant’s post-retirement lifetime. At retirement, plan participants can choose to receive their benefits in one of seven alternative forms of payment. All forms pay benefits monthly over the lifetime of the retiree or the joint lifetimes of the retiree and a spouse. A reduction applies if a retiring participant chooses a payment form other than a single life annuity. The reduction makes the value of the benefits paid in the form chosen comparable to what it would have been if benefits were paid as a single life annuity over the retiree’s life.
 
Participants vest in the Pension Plan after completing five years of service. All the named executive officers are vested in their Pension Plan benefits. Participants who terminate employment after vesting can elect to have their pension benefits commencing at age 50 if they participated in the Pension Plan for 10 years. If such an election is made, the early retirement reductions that apply are actuarially determined factors and are larger than 0.3% per month.
 
If a participant dies while actively employed, benefits will be paid to a surviving spouse. A survivor’s benefit equals 45% of the monthly benefit that the participant had earned before his or her death. Payments to a surviving spouse of a participant who could have retired will begin immediately. Payments to a survivor of a participant who was not retirement eligible will begin when the deceased participant would have attained age 50. After commencing, survivor benefits are payable monthly for the remainder of a survivor’s life. Participants who are eligible for early retirement may opt to have an 80% survivor benefit paid if they die; however, there is a charge associated with this election.
 
If participants become totally disabled, periods that Social Security or employer-provided disability income benefits are paid will count as service for benefit calculation purposes. The crediting of this additional service ceases at the point a disabled participant elects to commence retirement payments. Outside of the extra service crediting, the normal plan provisions apply to disabled participants.
 
This excerpt taken from the SO DEF 14A filed Apr 14, 2008.
The Pension Plan
The Pension Plan is a tax-qualified, funded plan. It is the Company’s primary retirement plan. Generally, all full-time employees participate in this plan. Normal retirement benefits become payable when participants both attain age 65 and complete five years of participation. The plan benefit equals the greater of amounts computed using a “1.7% offset formula” and a “1.25% formula” as described below. Benefits are limited to a statutory maximum.
 
The 1.7% offset formula amount equals 1.7% of final average pay times years of participation less an offset related to Social Security benefits. The offset equals a service ratio times 50% of the anticipated Social Security benefits in excess of $4,200. The service ratio adjusts the offset for the portion of a full career that a participant has worked. The highest three rates of pay out of a participant’s last 10 calendar years of service are averaged to derive final average pay. The pay considered for this formula is the base rate of pay reduced for any voluntary deferrals. A statutory limit restricts the amount considered each year; the limit for 2007 was $225,000.
 
The 1.25% formula amount equals 1.25% of final average pay times years of participation. For this formula, the final average pay computation is the same as above, but annual cash incentives paid during each year are added to the base rates of pay.
 
Early retirement benefits become payable once plan participants have during employment both attained age 50 and completed 10 years of participation. Participants who retire early from active service receive benefits equal to the amounts computed using the same formulas employed at normal retirement. However, a 0.3% reduction applies for each month (3.6% for each year) prior to normal retirement that participants elect to have their benefit payments commence. For example, 64% of the formula benefits are payable starting at age 55. All of the named executive officers are eligible to retire immediately.
 
The Pension Plan’s benefit formulas produce amounts payable monthly over a participant’s post-retirement lifetime. At retirement, plan participants can choose to receive their benefits in one of seven alternative forms of payment. All forms pay benefits monthly over the lifetime of the retiree or the joint lifetimes of the retiree and a spouse. A reduction applies if a retiring participant chooses a payment form other than a single life annuity. The reduction makes the value of the benefits paid in the form chosen comparable to what it would have been if benefits were paid as a single life annuity over the retiree’s life.
 
Participants vest in the Pension Plan after completing five years of service. All the named executive officers are vested in their Pension Plan benefits. Participants who terminate employment after vesting can elect to have their pension benefits commencing at age 50 if they participated in the Pension Plan for 10 years. If such an election is made, the early retirement reductions that apply are actuarially determined factors and are larger than 0.3% per month.
 
If a participant dies while actively employed, benefits will be paid to a surviving spouse. A survivor’s benefit equals 45% of the monthly benefit that the participant had earned before his or her death. Payments to a surviving spouse of a participant who could have retired will begin immediately. Payments to a survivor of a participant who was not retirement eligible will begin when the deceased participant would have attained age 50. After commencing, survivor benefits are payable monthly for the remainder of a survivor’s life. Participants who are eligible for early retirement may opt to have an 80% survivor benefit paid if they die; however, there is a charge associated with this election.
 
If participants become totally disabled, periods that Social Security or employer-provided disability income benefits are paid will count as service for benefit calculation purposes. The crediting of this additional service ceases at the point a disabled participant elects to commence retirement payments. Outside of the extra service crediting, the normal plan provisions apply to disabled participants.
 
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