Northwest Carpenters Retirement Plan

Carpenters Retirement Plan at a Glance 

This section is an overview of the benefits provided by the Northwest Carpenters Retirement Plan. These benefits are further described in the summary plan description and the plan document. If any discrepancy exists between these three sections, the terms of the plan document govern. This plan booklet describes the terms of the plan as in effect on January 1, 2018. If you terminated all employment covered by the plan prior to that date, the terms described in here may not apply to you.

If you have any questions about this plan, please contact Retirement Services at Carpenters Trusts. The address and telephone numbers are on the back cover of this booklet.


You participate in the Carpenters Retirement Plan when you work for an employer signatory to a collective bargaining or written contribution agreement recognized by the Board of Trustees. Signatory employers are required to make an hourly contribution to this plan for each hour of service. The hourly contribution amount can change from year to year as determined by the collective bargaining agreement or written contribution agreement (please see Participation and Contributions).


You earn a permanent right to a retirement benefit as soon as you become vested. There is a three-year vesting requirement for all ERISA-mandated retirement benefits provided by this plan. There is a five- and ten-year vesting requirement for other benefits provided by this plan. You earn one year of credited service in this plan for each calendar year in which you work 1,000 or more covered hours (please see Credited Service).

Monthly Benefit

This plan is a "defined benefit plan" which means you earn a benefit that will provide monthly income payable at retirement for the rest of your life. Your monthly retirement income is the sum of two benefits:

  • The traditional income benefit is that portion of your benefit accrued before January 1, 2017.
  • The sustainable income benefit is that portion of your benefit accrued on and after January 1, 2017.

The factors that determine the amount of your monthly traditional income portion of your benefit are the number of years you work for a signatory employer before 2017 and the number of hours you work in each of those years. The monthly benefit earned each year is determined by a formula that multiplies the hourly contributions made on your behalf each year by a benefit factor. The benefit factor converts these contributions into a monthly benefit.

For the sustainable income benefit portion of your benefit, the factors that determine the amount of your monthly benefit are the number of years you work for a signatory employer after 2016, the number of hours you work in each of those years, and the plan's investment returns. Sustainable income benefits are subject to the investment performance of the plan during your career and after you retire (please see Sustainable Income Benefits).

In general, the more you work and the longer you work, the larger your monthly benefit will be.

When you retire, your total monthly benefit is the sum of the monthly benefits earned each year during your career in covered service (please see Credited Service and Benefit Statements).


The normal retirement age for this plan is 65. If you meet certain eligibility requirements, the plan provides unreduced benefits beginning at age 55 under rule of 80 early retirement (please see Rule of 80 Early Retirement) and at age 62 under special early retirement (please see Special Early Retirement). Benefits are not payable until you retire and apply for benefits (please see Election Process).

Payment Options

This plan provides a lifetime income to you, or a lifetime income to you with a continuing income to your spouse or other designated beneficiary if you pre-decease your spouse or beneficiary (please see Retirement Payment Options). Your monthly benefit is adjusted to reflect the payment option selected.

Disability Retirement Benefits

If you become permanently disabled before retirement, you may be eligible for a monthly income under disability retirement. To qualify for disability retirement, you must satisfy the ten-year vesting rule, the activity test and be permanently disabled, as defined by this plan (please see Disability Retirement).

Death Benefits Before Retirement

If you are vested in this plan and die before retirement, your surviving spouse or other designated beneficiary may be eligible for one of three pre-retirement death benefits (please see Death Benefits Before Retirement).

Service-related Issues

If you are new to this plan and not vested...

  • The Carpenters Retirement Plan is one of two pension plans provided as part of your fringe benefit package. The other plan is the Carpenters Individual Account Pension Plan.
  • This plan is a "defined benefit plan" which means it provides you with a lifetime monthly benefit when you retire (age 55 and older).
  • This plan has a three-year vesting requirement which means you must have three credits in this plan without incurring a permanent break in service.
  • If you cannot work 500 or more hours in a given year, it is important for you to understand the break in service rules. You can permanently forfeit credits and contributions if you do not vest within a certain period of time.
  • Once you are vested, you are guaranteed a monthly benefit at retirement.
  • Retirement benefits are not available until you are age 55 or older, except for qualified permanent disabilities and preretirement death benefits.

If you are vested in this plan...

  • The more you work for a contributing employer, the greater your lifetime monthly retirement benefit.
  • Your monthly benefit is also based on the actuarial experience of the plan during your career, including the plan's investment performance while you are working and in your years of retirement.
  • The income provided by the two retirement plans, social security and your personal savings should form the foundation of your retirement income.
  • You are strongly encouraged to maximize your personal savings to compensate for the uncertainties associated with inflation and the cost of retiree medical care. The Carpenters Individual Account Pension Plan allows you to contribute a portion of your wages on a pre-tax basis under the 401(k) provision.

If you are vested and age 55 or older...

  • Benefits are payable under this plan if you are vested in this plan and age 55 and older.
  • Your total monthly benefit is reduced if you retire before age 65, except when you retire at age 62-64 under special early retirement or when you retire under rule of 80 early retirement.

Last Updated: 04/20/2023