HOW THINGS USED TO WORK
The law requires that pension plans provide Participants with pension statements at least once every three years. Historically, the PWGA has provided these statements twice a year. It took weeks to prepare statements for all Participants, and the data was always at least one quarter out of date. If a Participant wanted a pension statement or estimate, they could call the Plan, but they would probably have to wait at least a week – and sometimes more – more to generate a statement. The statement could be mailed, or the Participant could make an appointment to come in and pick up the statement. It was not an ideal situation, but the Pension Plan was constrained by existing technology.
NEW TECHNOLOGY AVAILABLE
Now, a Participant can go online to the PWGA website and obtain their pension statement in about four seconds. Seconds! Not only that, the data is current to the previous month AND the Participant can try out different scenarios to see what pension option best suits their needs. So, how do you get to all this wonderfulness?
HOW IT ALL WORKS
Start by logging in, then go to the Tools menu, and under that you will find “Pension Estimator”. Click on that and you will be taken to the Pension Estimator opening screen. You will need to fill in a few basic pieces of information about the age (or date) you wish to retire and to state whether or not you have a spouse.
Once you have filled out this initial information, you can select up to three alternative pension payment options (which will be saved so you can review them at a later date should you wish). The options can include all the available variations, married, not married, 10-year-certain, etc. If you want to know more about the pension plan, you can read the Pension Plan SPD here.
Once you have made your selections, click on “Run Estimate” and it should take four seconds to provide you with the results of your query:
You can try as many different variations as you desire, and should you wish to, you can save the results as a PDF so that the information can be shared with a spouse, business manager, or whomever you desire.
In addition to estimates, the system will also provide you a statement just like what you used to receive in the mail – only with more current information. All you have to do is click on “Generate Statement”.
MORE GOOD THINGS COMING
The PWGA is working hard to update its computer infrastructure, and as various programs pass extensive security and reliability tests, you can expect that more and more resources will be available online. Don’t miss out! If you haven’t registered already, please click here. And while you’re at it, opt-in here for electronic delivery of all your documents.