Some GTE employees withdrew their benefits early when Verizon purchased GTE.
Individuals who worked for the General Telephone and Electrics Corporation are typically entitled to pension benefits when they retire, but these benefits may begin at different times for each worker. In most cases, the age of the individual and his years of net credited service determine whether he is able to begin receiving benefits.
GTE Corporation was an independent organization until June 30, 2000, when Verizon Communications, Inc. acquired it and its subsidiaries. When the acquisition occurred, many of GTE’s former workers became employees of Verizon, and those workers rolled their GTE pension benefits into a new Verizon pension plan. Former GTE employees who didn’t go to work for Verizon kept their benefits in GTE pension plans, rolled their pension benefits into new IRAs or cashed them out.
Verizon Benefit Withdrawal
If you rolled your GTE retirement benefits into a Verizon pension plan, you can withdraw them at any age if you have 30 or more years of net credited service. If you are at least 50, you can withdraw benefits if you have 25 or more years of net credited service. If you are at least 55, you can withdraw benefits if you have more than 20 years of net credited service, and if you are at least 60, you can withdraw benefits if you have 15 years of net credited service. If you are at least 65, you can withdraw benefits with only 10 years of net credited service.
If you left your deferred vested benefits in a GTE pension plan, these benefits will be available to you when you reach retirement age. However, you can’t typically withdraw 100 percent of your benefits until you reach age 65. Former GTE employees who cashed out their pension plans have already received their retirement money, and former GTE employees who rolled retirement benefits into a new IRA must follow the distribution rules of the new account to withdraw their benefits.
Most former GTE employees who retained their GTE pension plans will receive reduced benefits if they make withdrawals before age 65. However, when Verizon acquired GTE, it offered GTE employees a voluntary separation incentive that eliminated reduction to pension benefits for GTE employees who opt for early retirement. Individuals who participated in this incentive, were under 55 years old and had less than 30 years of net credited service can withdraw their pension benefits early without penalty.