Choosing to retire and receive a pension is a major decision which each individual and, as appropriate, their family must make. Although we can’t make the decision for you, below are some basic steps, which if followed, should help to make your transition into retirement easier.
Please note: It is your responsibility to notify your management of your intent to retire. Human Resources will not forward retirement notices to the respective supervisor/director.
Step 1: Pick a Retirement Date
Establish in your mind one or two intended retirement dates. Recognize that all retirements (except for employees represented by Local 270) are effective on the first day of a month.
Step 2: Request a Pension Estimate
Approximately four to six months before your intended retirement date request a pension estimate from your HR representative. The estimate will give you and your family a chance to look at your payment options and benefit amount.
If married, your spouse must be your beneficiary unless he or she consents to allow another person to be your beneficiary.
In order to properly process the pension estimate and produce appropriate payment option amounts, your HR representative will need to know your beneficiary’s name, Social Security number and birth date. Please note: Only one person may be chosen as your beneficiary.
Review the retirement-related Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) – pension, savings, health care and life insurance – which can be found on this site. Discuss any questions you have with your HR representative.
If you are divorced or are in the process of getting a divorce, a Divorce Decree and possibly a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) may be prepared. Please notify HR – and be prepared to provide copies – since the terms of the Divorce Decree as detailed in the QDRO may affect the amount and/or the commencement of your pension payment.
Step 3: Submit an Intent to Retire Letter
Approximately two to three months before your intended retirement sign and date the Intent to Retire letter and submit the signed letter to your local HR Representative. Once HR receives your intent to retire letter you can then schedule an exit interview. The exit interview should take place between 30-90 days prior to your retirement date. Keep in mind that if you are married, your spouse is expected to attend the exit interview. The session can last one to two hours.
One to two weeks before your scheduled exit interview you will receive a retirement package to review prior to your session. If after reviewing the retirement package you find that you still have questions, you should either contact your HR representative or make a list of questions to bring to your exit interview.
Step 4: Choose Your Pension Payment Option
At the exit interview, you will be expected to decide whether you want your pension payment to commence as soon as possible or defer commencement to a future date. If you do not elect to defer commencement, you will be asked to choose your pension payment option.
If married, your spouse needs to be present. If your spouse is the beneficiary, we will ask him or her to acknowledge your payment option choice. If your spouse is not the beneficiary, he or she must consent in writing to your non-spouse beneficiary election and payment option choice.
You should bring the following to your exit interview:
- A copy of the spouse/beneficiary birth certificate
- A copy of your marriage certificate, if applicable
- A voided check for your direct deposit election
- A Lump Sum Rollover form, if applicable
- If you will not be returning to work, any company property you have including your FirstEnergy identification badge.
You also will be asked to complete federal, and if applicable, state tax withholding forms. Currently we only withhold state taxes for Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. 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.
You also should be ready to make an election of your retiree health care choices and to discuss your retiree life insurance and savings plan options. Please note: Even if you choose to defer commencement of your pension, you are considered to be a retiree and these items will be addressed.
Step 5: Your Pension Payment Becomes Effective
Your pension payment becomes effective the first of the month following your exit unless you have chosen to defer commencement. To ensure that all earnings have been included in the final calculations, the first month’s payment may be delayed and included with your second month’s payment. Payments are typically credited to your bank account on the first of the month or the next bank business day if the first falls on a holiday or weekend.
If you have chosen to defer commencement, you should notify Corporate HR 60 to 90 days before you want your payment to start. This will allow adequate time for you to receive, complete and return the paperwork necessary to start your pension payment.