Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your most common questions

  • Retiree FAQs

    • How is the YMCA Retirement Fund different from other retirement plans?

      As an administrator of church plans, the Fund can offer retirement income accounts, commingle assets for investment purposes and provide annuities without paying an insurance company.

      In addition, the Retirement Plan and the Savings Plan have a unique plan design. Unlike a typical 401(k) retirement account, retirement savings at the YMCA Retirement Fund are protected during stormy economic times as a result of this unique structure of the plans. Not once in the Fund’s 100-year history have account balances ever gone down.

    • Is the money in the Fund insured by the federal government?

      The YMCA Retirement Fund’s plans, like defined contribution plans, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, etc., are not insured by the government.

    • Who reviews the Fund's operation?

      The Fund’s financial statements are audited annually by an independent CPA firm. The Fund reports to the New York State Department of Financial Services, viewed by many as the toughest state insurance department in the country. The Fund also reports to the IRS and the Department of Labor.

    • What happens if a retiree does not designate a beneficiary?

      If a retiree dies without designating a beneficiary, or if the beneficiary the retiree named predeceased the retiree and the retiree did not submit a new Designation of Beneficiary for the Retired Death Benefit form to designate another, the retiree’s Retired Death Benefit will be payable to the following, in order:

      If the retiree dies on or after October 15, 2017:

      • a) the retiree’s surviving spouse of at least one year, and if none, then to
      • b) the retiree’s living children in equal shares, and if none survive the retiree, then to
      • c) the retiree’s estate.
    • How does a participant change their beneficiary?

      Participants can change their beneficiary at any time. Those who have not yet started their annuity can designate and update their beneficiaries online.

      They may also designate their beneficiaries by submitting the proper form to the Fund. The form they use depends on whether or not they still work for the Y. The Designation of Beneficiary for current Y Employees must be either notarized or signed by HR. The Designation of Beneficiary for former Y Employees must be notarized.

      For participants who have already started their annuity, the Designation of Beneficiary for the Retired Death Benefit must be notarized and mailed in. (Contact the Fund if an annuity has been started under the Principal Guarantee Annuity Option.)

      NOTE: Federal law imposes strict rules for married employees designating beneficiaries other than their spouses. The employee must have notarized consent from their spouse if the spouse is not the only beneficiary.

    • Who can be named as a beneficiary?

      Anyone or any entity can be named as a beneficiary. Generally, all people named as beneficiaries get the same choices regarding benefits. However, since estates, trusts, Ys, and other organizations do not have a life expectancy, they may only take a withdrawal and are not entitled to an annuity.

      Married participants need notarized consent from their spouse if they do not name their spouse as their only primary beneficiary.

    • If the primary beneficiary predeceases the participant, who will receive the death benefit?

      If a participant’s primary beneficiary(ies) predecease(s) them and they do not designate another, their benefits are paid based on how they designated contingent beneficiaries. If the participant did not name any contingent beneficiaries, benefits will be paid to the estate or next of kin. In general, each beneficiary will make a decision to take a withdrawal or an annuity (if amount is $5,000+).

    • If a participant has accounts in the Retirement Plan and Saving Plan, can they designate different beneficiaries for each plan?

      Before retirement, a participant’s beneficiary designation will apply to both plans.

      At retirement, they have the option to separately annuitize the plans. A beneficiary designation is necessary for the plan that is left at the Fund. If the Savings Plan is left at the Fund and the Retirement Plan is annuitized, they can designate beneficiaries for the Savings Plan and select separate beneficiaries for the Retirement Plan’s Retired Death Benefit.

      Also, if they decide to annuitize the plans separately, they may designate different survivors (if they select the Joint & Survivor Annuity options) for each plan.

    • Can a former Y employee who took a withdrawal from the Fund return to work at a Y?

      It is inappropriate and not in the spirit of the existing law to engage in a pre-arranged strategy to collect retirement benefits while still employed. This is a violation of the Fund’s Retirement Plan rules as well as federal tax law.

      Whether a participant is hired by any Y in the future is entirely at the discretion of the employing Y. In order to avoid potential problems, it is recommended that the participant and Y discuss specific situations with their legal counsels and secure written legal options prior to taking any action.

      Section 5.1 &”A Participant’s eligibility to receive benefits under the Retirement Plan… must be the first day of a month subsequent to the cessation of Compensation and the severance from YMCA employment.”

      Section 6.3 &”In no event shall any Participant who is employed by a Participating YMCA have the right to a withdrawal of his/her Accumulated Basic Participant Contributions or his/her YMCA Account Balance.”

      Treasury Regulation Section 1.401(a)-1(b)(1)(i) &”In order for a pension plan to be a qualified plan under section 401(a), the plan must be established and maintained by an employer primarily to provide systematically for the payment of definitely determinable benefits to its employees over a period of years, usually for life, after retirement or attainment of normal retirement age.”

      IRS Rev. Rul. 74-254 &”Revenue Ruling 56-693, as modified by Rev. Rul. 60-323, holds that a pension plan fails to meet the requirements for qualification under section 401(a) of the Code if it permits employees to withdraw prior to normal retirement any part of the funds accumulated on their behalf, which consist of employer contributions or increments thereon prior to the severance of employment or the termination of the plan. Therefore, a pension plan does not qualify if it permits distributions prior to normal retirement and prior to termination of employment or termination of the plan.”

    • Are annuities guaranteed?

      The YMCA Retirement Fund can state with the greatest certainty that every retiree and beneficiary will get every penny of the retirement annuity promised to them.

      Our actuary reviews and monitors the Plan each year to determine the amount of reserves required to pay all future benefits. The assets of the Fund are invested and closely monitored by Fund management and Trustees in order to provide the highest level of return while protecting the value of the assets.

    • Can a retiree who is receiving an annuity from the Fund, or who has received a lump-sum distribution, return to work at a Y?

      There are certain legitimate situations where an individual may become re-employed by a Y after he or she begins receiving a lifetime annuity, or has taken a lump sum distribution from the Fund. Whether they are hired by any Y in the future is entirely at the discretion of the employing Y. In order to avoid potential problems, it is recommended that the retiree and Y discuss specific situations with their legal counsels and secure written legal opinions prior to taking any action.

      Here are three examples of acceptable situations:

      1. Jerry retired as a Branch Executive Director and began collecting his retirement benefit. Negotiations with his replacement fell through, and subsequently the Board asked him to return as the Branch Executive in an interim capacity while a new search is undertaken.
      2. Mary retired as Secretary of the Membership Department and began collecting her retirement benefit. After gardening and fixing up her home for six months, she became bored and, applied for and was accepted for a part-time position in the development office at another Y.
      3. George terminated his Y employment because he was relocating from his hometown to another state to be closer to his sister. He applied for and received a lump sum distribution from the Retirement Plan. Six months later, George and his sister were not getting along so he moved back to his hometown and, applied for and was accepted for another position at the Y.

      Here are three examples of unacceptable situations:

      1. A very difficult personal situation necessitated that Brad find a way to add to his household income. Accordingly, he arranged with his supervisor that he would retire, begin collecting his retirement benefit, and then be rehired to his existing job.
      2. Lucy was all set to retire as the CEO, but the Board had not yet found her replacement. The Board asked her to stay on for three extra months while they extended their search. She agreed, with the understanding that she would continue earning her salary and also start her retirement annuity.
      3. Because Robin needed money to pay off her bills, she arranged with her supervisor that she would terminate employment, take a distribution from the Fund, and then be rehired to her existing job.
  • Login Assistance

    • What software do I need to access the YMCA Retirement Fund website?

      Supported Browsers

      Microsoft® Edge

      Download Microsoft Edge

      Mozilla Firefox

      Download Mozilla Firefox

      Google® Chrome

      Download Google Chrome

      Safari – Apple

      Download Safari – Apple

      Supported Mobile Devices

      iPhone/iPad – Apple iOS 10 or higher

      Android 8 or higher

      PDF Viewer

      A PDF viewer is needed to view/print/download most forms on this site. If you do not have a PDF viewer, you can download a free copy of Adobe Reader – Download Adobe Reader

    • When am I eligible to log in to my account?

      • You can log in to your account if you are enrolled in either Retirement Plan and/or the Savings Plan and have a balance in an account at the YMCA Retirement Fund (regardless of your employment status).
      • For assistance with online account issues, please view our video: How to Create an Online Account.
    • How do I create an online account?

      • You can create an online account here.
      • Note the following while choosing a username and password:

      Creating a username:

      • Step 1 – Enter your Social Security Number (no spaces or hyphens; only digits).
      • Step 2 – Enter your Fund ID
      • Step 3 – Create a username to personalize your login.
        6-15 characters in length; numbers and letters with NO SPACES.
      • Step 4 – Create a password.
        8-12 characters in length; must include one capital letter and one number.
      • Step 5 – Create login reminder question and answer.
        The login reminder question allows you to gain access to your account if you forget your username and/or password. Choose one question from the drop down menu.
      • Step 6 – Enter your date of birth. (MM/DD/YYYY format)
      • Step 7 – Enter your email address.
      • Final Step – Check the Registration button and log in to your online account.

      Please Note:  For your protection this information should not be shared with anyone, and should be changed frequently for your security.

    • I forgot my password; how do I reset it?

      Click here to reset your password.

    • I forgot my username; how do I reset it?

      Click here to reset your username.

    • How do I change my username and/or password?

      • Log in to your account, and click on the Change Your Log In Information link on the Features menu.
      • Update the Change Your Log In Information form to change your username, password, security question and answer.
    • I cannot remember my security answer; how do I retrieve it?

      To change your Security Answer, log in to your account and from the right-hand menu, choose Change Your Log In Information.

    • I received a notice that I have no security answer setup on my account; how can I set one up?

      To change/update your Security Answer, log in to your account and from the right-hand menu, choose Change Your Log In Information.

    • I did not receive the temporary password in my email; how can I access my online account?

      If you have not received the temporary password, please contact the Customer Service Department via Live Chat or call us directly at 800-RET-YMCA (800-738-9622), Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm ET.

    • I tried the temporary password and it is not working, how can I access my online account?

      If you have tried the temporary password and it is not working, please contact the Customer Service Department via Live Chat or call us directly at 800-RET-YMCA (800-738-9622), Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm ET.