Pension → General Information → Rights & Protections



As a Participant in the Cement Masons Pension Trust Fund for Northern California, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA provides that all Plan Participants are entitled to:


Receive Information About Your Plan and Benefits


Examine, without charge, at the plan administrator’s office and at other specified locations, such as work sites and union halls, all documents governing the plan, including insurance contracts, collective bargaining agreements, and a copy of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) filed by the plan with the U.S. Department of Labor and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefits Security Administration.


Obtain, upon written request to the plan administrator, copies of documents governing the operation of the plan, including insurance contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and copies of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) and updated Summary Plan Description. The administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies.

Receive a summary of the plan’s annual financial report. The plan administrator is required by law to furnish each participant with a copy of this summary annual report.


Obtain, in writing, a statement telling you whether you have a right to receive a pension at Normal Retirement Age (age 65 or, if later, your age on the fifth anniversary of your participation) and, if so, what your benefits would be at Normal Retirement Age if you stop working under the Plan now. If you do not have a right to a pension, the statement will tell you how many more years you have to work before you have a right to a pension. This statement must be requested in writing and is not required to be given more than once every twelve (12) months. The Plan must provide the statement free of charge.


Prudent Actions by Plan Fiduciaries


In addition to creating rights for Plan Participants, ERISA imposes duties upon the people who are responsible for the operation of the employee benefit plan. The people who operate your Plan, called “fiduciaries” of the Plan, have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of you and other Plan Participants and Beneficiaries. No one, including your employer, your union, or any other person, may fire you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way to prevent you from obtaining a pension benefit or exercising your rights under ERISA.


Enforce Your Rights


If your claim for a pension benefit is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you have a right to know why this was done, to obtain copies of documents relating to the decision without charge, and to appeal any denial, all within certain time schedules.


Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce the above rights. For instance, if you request a copy of plan documents or the latest annual report from the Plan and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in a federal court. In such a case, the court may require the Plan administrator to provide the materials and pay you up to $110 a day until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the administrator. If you have a claim for benefits which is denied or ignored, in whole, or in part, you may file suit in a state or federal court. In addition, if you disagree with the Plan’s decision, or lack thereof, concerning the qualified status of a Domestic Relations Order, you may file suit in federal court. If it should happen that Plan fiduciaries misuse the Plan’s money, or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, or you may file suit in a federal court.


The court will decide who should pay court costs and legal fees. If you are successful, the court may order the person you have sued to pay these costs and fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these costs and fees, for example, if it finds your claim is frivolous.


Assistance with Your Questions


If you have any questions about your Plan, you should contact the Plan administrator. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, or if you need assistance in obtaining documents from the Plan administrator, you should contact the nearest office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, listed in your telephone directory, or the:


Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries

Employee Benefits Security Administration

U.S. Department of Labor

200 Constitution Avenue N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20210.


You may also obtain certain publications about your rights and responsibilities under ERISA by calling the publications hotline of the Employee Benefits Security Administration.  You may also find answers to your Pension Plan questions at the website of EBSA at


Qualified Military Service


If you are a Participant, you receive Credited Future Service, Benefit Units, and accrued benefits for military service during the period you retain re-employment rights under federal law. To receive Credited Future Service for military service, you must have been employed in the 46 Northern California Counties in Covered Employment immediately before entering military service and you must have made yourself available for Covered Employment in the 46 Northern California Counties within 90 days after your release from active duty or recovery from a disability continuing after your release.


Credit for military service is granted as follows:


Before December 12, 1994:


From February 1, 1971 through January 31, 1976, credit granted for each week of military service depended on when the military service occurred and the Participant’s age at the time. To determine the credit, refer to the Plan Rules and Regulations.


From February 1, 1959 through January 31, 1971 and for periods February 1, 1976 through December 11, 1994, you may receive credit of 40 hours per week for your military service.


On and after December 12, 1994:


The provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) govern the granting of Credited Service, Benefit Units, benefit accruals, avoiding Breaks in Service and preventing Separations in Covered Employment for Participants who are engaged in Qualified Military Service. In order to qualify, the following conditions must be satisfied:


You must make yourself available for Covered Employment during the period that you have re­employment rights under USERRA;


·       You had not incurred a One-Year Break in Service at the time you entered Qualified Military Service; and

·       You were employed in Covered Employment immediately prior to your Qualified Military Service.

·       Credited Service, Benefit Units, and benefit accruals will be credited for Qualified Military Service based on the greater of the average number of hours worked in a week by the Participant during (1) the twelve-month period immediately preceding the period of Qualified Military Service or; (2) 5-year period (or less) immediately prior to entering Military Service. No more than 5 years of Qualified Military Service may be recognized for any purpose, except as required by law.


In order to secure credit for military service, you must provide proof of military service at the time you file your pension application or earlier, if you choose.