Choosing to retire and commence your pension benefit is a major decision which each participant and, as appropriate, their family must make.
Although the decision lies with the participant, we have put together a few basic steps which, if followed, should help guide you through the FirstEnergy Corp. retirement process.
Step 1: Prepare pension estimates
Identify any retirement dates you are considering and, if possible, utilize the on-line pension calculation system YPR (Your Pension Resources) to prepare estimates for these various dates. Each estimate will give you and your family an opportunity to review the various payment options available to you and the estimated amounts associated with each option. Recognize that all retirements are effective on the first day of the month (except for those employees represented by Local 270 who are participants in the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company Bargaining Unit Retirement Plan).
If you are divorced or are in the process of getting a divorce, please notify the Retirement Programs team immediately. Having a Divorce Decree, an approved Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or an approved Domestic Relations Order (DRO) may affect the amount and/or the commencement of your pension payment. Pension benefits cannot commence until all outstanding QDRO and/or DRO issues have been resolved.
Step 2: Establish your retirement date
Once you have made your decision to retire, your next step is to initiate the retirement process. You should start this process a minimum of 3 months prior to your retirement date. This will ensure enough time for appropriate paperwork to be prepared and an exit interview to be scheduled. You should also reach out to your leadership and Local HR Representative at this time to submit your intent to retire.
Please note: It is the participant’s responsibility to notify management when they decide to retire. Human Resources will not forward retirement notices to the respective supervisor/director.
Your local HR will work with you (and your spouse, if applicable) to schedule an exit interview. The exit interview will typically take place within the 60 days prior to your retirement date. Keep in mind that if you are married, your spouse should attend the exit interview as well. The session is normally scheduled for one to two hours.
Step 3: Preparation of your retirement paperwork
Once notified, your Local HR Representative will complete a ‘Request for Calculation’ form and submit this to Aon, FirstEnergy’s pension administration partner, to obtain your pension commencement paperwork.
Please Note: If married, your retirement paperwork will use your spouse as your beneficiary. If you wish to name a non-spousal beneficiary, you will need to supply your selected beneficiary’s name, SSN and date of birth prior to the preparation of your retirement paperwork. This information is required to produce appropriate payment options and amounts. Although you can choose a non-spouse beneficiary, your spouse must consent to the election.
Because of the process involved, it may take up to 2 weeks to prepare your paperwork. Once prepared, the information will be sent back to your Local HR Representative and he/she will then forward it to you prior to your retirement exit interview. You should review the information as soon as possible in case you find that there are discrepancies or you still have questions. In either case, you should contact your Local HR Representative. Waiting until the day of your exit interview to resolve any issues that you may have could delay commencement of your retirement.
Additional paperwork that you may need to provide may include:
- A copy of your spouse/beneficiary birth certificate,
- A voided check for your direct deposit election,
- A Lump Sum Rollover form, if applicable
Step 4: Your retirement exit interview
At the exit interview, you will have the opportunity to make a number of pension related decisions including whether to commence your pension benefit immediately (first of the month following your last day worked/paid) or defer commencement to a future date.
Please note: As an active employee, you will return your paperwork to your Local HR Representative and he/she will forward on to Aon for processing. The deadline date which will be included in your retirement paperwork is the date which your paperwork must be received at Aon (not received by your Local HR Representative) in order to commence your pension benefit on your retirement date.
If you decide to commence your benefit immediately:
- You will be asked to elect your pension payment option and beneficiary (if applicable)
- If married, your spouse will need to acknowledge your payment option choice and/or consent in writing to any non-spousal beneficiary election. If your spouse is unable to attend, your payment option choice will not become effective until you provide a notarized copy of their acknowledgement and/or consent to your beneficiary and option choices.
- You will be asked to complete your direct deposit information
Payments made via direct deposit are typically credited to your bank account on the first day of
the month or the next bank business day if the first falls on a holiday or weekend.
You can also choose to receive a pension check through the mail. All mailed pension checks are
sent to the post office two (2) business days before the end of the month. After that, delivery
is dependent on your local mail service and we cannot guarantee that your check will be received
by the first of the month.
- You also will be asked to complete federal and, if applicable, state tax withholding forms.
Because of the personal nature of each individual’s tax situation, we will not provide tax advice.
Therefore, you should consider consulting an accountant or professional tax preparer in order to
properly complete the necessary forms.
Currently FirstEnergy only withholds state taxes for Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia
and West Virginia. If you reside in a state not included, you will need to make your own
arrangements to satisfy that state’s tax obligation.
- If you elect a full monthly annuity your pension payment becomes effective the first of the month following your exit as long as you return the necessary paperwork by the deadline.
If you are eligible for and elect a lump sum payment or a partial monthly annuity with partial
lump sum, your payment will be delayed for two (2) month in order to capture final earnings.
If you elect to defer commencement of your benefit to a future date:
- You should notify Aon directly at 1-855-326-8167 between 60 to 90 days prior to the date you wish to commence your pension benefit. This will allow adequate time for Aon to prepare your paperwork and for you to receive, complete and return the necessary materials to start your pension payment to Aon.
If you will not be returning to work, you should be prepared to return any company property you have including your FirstEnergy identification badge, electronic equipment and keys to company facilities.
Additional retirement planning assistance is available through Fidelity – the FirstEnergy savings plan record keeper – if you are a FirstEnergy Corp. employee. There are a number of retirement related calculators in the “Planning” section of Fidelity’s FirstEnergy website. You also have direct access to the Fidelity “Investor Centers.”