THIS PAGE DESCRIBES THE CIRS PENSION PLAN PROVISIONS FOR TIER I MEMBERS ONLY.

Tier I Members generally include employees whose initial hire date was prior to October 1, 2016. All other employees are considered Tier II Members and are subject to the Tier II provisions of the Pension Plan.

The Pension Plan is a “defined benefit” plan designed to provide you with a monthly pension benefit, typically payable over your lifetime, or yours and your surviving spouse’s (or other beneficiary’s) lifetimes.

As of September 27, 2016, a new agreement governing the CIRS Plans has been reached between management and the unions.  For more information, visit the News and Updates section.

Who's your beneficiary?

Do you need to add or change a beneficiary?

If you haven’t added a Pension Plan beneficiary or want to update your beneficiary information, now is the perfect time to do this!

Sign into your account at Transamerica and update this information on the website.  You can also find the form here for the pre-retirement death benefit. The completed form should be mailed to Transamerica.

For eligible retirees, if you wish to update your beneficiary for the post-retirement death benefit, you can find the form here.

A separate beneficiary form will need to be completed for the CIRS 401(k) Savings Plan and CIRS Group Life Plan.  This form can be found here.

Basic facts about the Pension Plan for Tier I Members

You will become a Plan Member on the first day of the month coincident with or next following the latter of completion of 12 months of Employment Service with a CIRS Participating Employer or the attainment of age 21.

You will become vested in the plan after 5 years of Employment Service.  Vesting means that you have irrevocable rights to your accrued benefit.  Your service continues as long as you work in an eligible position at a CIRS Participating Employer.

You will not make any contributions to the Plan.  The entire cost of the Plan is paid by your employer.

Your monthly benefit is based on the formula below:

2.0%  x  years and months of Benefit Service  x  4-year Final Average Salary

Your benefit will be reduced if you start payments before your Normal Retirement Date unless you qualify for Rule of 85 or Disability retirement.

  • Benefit Service includes all service credited to you after you become a Member in the Plan while working in covered employment and also includes your one year waiting period prior to joining the Plan
  • 4-Year Final Average Salary: The average of your highest 4 consecutive annualized Base Salaries during your last ten years of covered employment with a CIRS Participating Employer.

Normal Retirement

  • Age 62 with 5 years of Employment Service.
  • No reduction to your benefit.

Early Retirement

  • Age 52, or later, with 5 years of Employment Service.
  • You will receive a reduced benefit based on your retirement age.

Rule of 85 Retirement

  • If you retire from active service at a CIRS Participating Employer, are at least age 55, and your age plus your years of Benefit Service are equal to or exceed 85, your benefit will not be reduced.

Disability Retirement

  • If you become permanently and totally disabled (as determined by the U.S. Social Security Administration) while actively employed with a CIRS Participating Employer and have completed at least 10 years of Employment Service, then you can apply for an unreduced Disability Retirement benefit regardless of your age.

When you are ready to retire, you can choose to receive your Pension benefit in one of the following payment forms.  Once you make an election and start receiving your benefit, you cannot change your pension form.

  • Single Life Annuity
    • You receive your full monthly pension benefit for as long as you live. Payments cease after your death.
  • Joint & Survivor Annuity (50%, 75%, 100%)
    • You receive a reduced monthly pension benefit for your lifetime.  After your death, your beneficiary receives a percentage (50%, 75%, or 100%) of your reduced monthly pension benefit for their lifetime.
    • If your beneficiary dies before you do, your benefit is not adjusted.
    • You cannot change your beneficiary once you begin receiving payments.
  • Joint & Survivor Annuity (50%, 75%, 100%) with “Pop-up” feature
    • Similar to Joint & Survivor EXCEPT if your beneficiary dies before you, the amount of your monthly pension benefit payment will be increased to the amount you would have received under the Single Life Annuity.
    • You cannot change your beneficiary once you begin receiving payments.
  • Certain & Continuous Annuity (5 years, 10 years, 15 years)
    • You receive a reduced monthly pension benefit for your lifetime with payments guaranteed for 5, 10 or 15 years.  If you die prior to receiving all of the guaranteed payments, your beneficiary would continue to receive your benefit for the remainder of the guaranteed term.
  • Level Income Annuity
    • Your monthly pension benefit will be increased until age 62 when you become eligible for Social Security payments and then reduced after age 62.  In this way your pension benefit when combined with your estimated Social Security benefit will provide you with a level amount of income throughout your retirement.  Payments cease after your death.
  • Lump Sum Distribution
    • If the actuarial present value of your monthly pension is $20,000 or less, you can elect to receive a single distribution of your entire pension benefit.  Once this payment is made, neither you, nor your beneficiary, will be entitled to any additional distributions from the Plan.

You can update your beneficiary electronically or using a paper form:

If you are married or become married, your spouse is automatically your sole beneficiary.  If you would like to name someone other than your spouse as beneficiary, your spouse will need to sign a waiver enclosed in the form.

To name a beneficiary for the CIRS 401(k) Savings Plan and/or CIRS Group Life Plan, you will need to complete a separate form, which can be found here.

If you die after becoming vested, your beneficiary will receive a 50% Survivor Benefit.  If you are not actively employed by a CIRS Participating Employer when you die, the survivor benefit will be reduced based on your age at the time of your death.

If you die after you retire, your beneficiary may be entitled to receive a survivor benefit based on the payment option you selected at retirement.

Additionally, if you terminated employment with a CIRS Participating Employer while eligible for any retirement benefit and you did not elect the lump sum payment option, your beneficiary will receive a Post-Retirement Lump Sum Death Benefit.  This one-time payment is equal to 25% of your annual benefit, with a minimum amount of $2,500 and a maximum amount of  $5,000.

If you are a current retiree eligible for the Post Retirement Lump Sum Death benefit and wish to update your beneficiary for this benefit, you can fill out this form and mail it to Transamerica.

For questions about your benefit, log on to your Transamerica account at cirs.trsretire.com or call 1-800-755-5801 to:

  • Access your Plan information
  • Obtain and complete administration forms
  • Update your Pension Plan beneficiary
  • Request calculations or estimates of your pension benefits

Note that the Administrator of the Pension Plan changed from Voya to Transamerica May 2016.

For commonly asked questions, please visit out FAQ page.

Complete details about the CIRS Pension Plan can be found in the Summary Plan Description.  If you have additional questions, you can contact CIRS via email at askcirs@cirsplans.org or call (212) 674-0101.