retirement can be defined several ways, and yes, it matters!

Many people “retire” from AT&T, but did you know, that doesn’t necessarily make you an official “retiree” of the company as it pertains to benefits?  Medical, dental and life insurance benefits – same as you received while you were an active employee…

Retirement has many definitions —

1) I’m done working and don’t plan to get another job, so I’m “retired.” This is great, but it doesn’t mean you’re eligible to collect a pension, social security or qualify for retiree discounted services through the company.

2) I’m 65, and I’m retiring.  Great – congratulations, you deserve to retire.  But this also doesn’t mean you automatically get retiree benefits, you may be officially “retired” in terms of how the federal government defines retirement, but unless you worked at AT&T at least 10 years, you are not going to leave as an official “retiree” with a retirement party and retiree discounts.

3) I’m leaving the company, I’m not retiring from work, but I am an official retiree.  This is MY category.  I’m too young to be retired as in done working/earning, collecting social security and a pension.  This just means I meet the retiree criteria by AT&T and leave with retiree benefits.

AT&T retirement “benefits” has nothing to do with 401k, pension or social security

It is important to note that the reference to retiree benefits for the purpose of this discussion has nothing to do with pension money, 401K or social security. It’s referring to medical and dental insurance and in some cases, life insurance provided at subsidized levels (I believe it’s roughly about the same as current employees pay) for eligible retirees.  Also included in “retiree benefits” is any product/service discounts AT&T offers to those who qualify for retiree benefits.

In order to retire from AT&T and receive these specific retiree benefits,  you must meet the criteria of what’s called the “modified rule of 75.”  It was originally just the “rule of 75” but then changed along the way some years ago, hence the addition of “modified.”

at&t’s modified rule of 75

Rule of 75 stated that you were eligible for retirement benefits when your AGE plus your YEARS OF SERVICE equals 75. Please note that only net credited service counts, so if you worked for the company for a total of 30 years, but you took a 12-month leave of absence, then your years of service is actually 29 as most leaves of absence “stop the clock” on pension accumulation.

The current Modified rule of 75 reads:

Age and service must equal 75, and you must be a minimum of 50 years old with one exception — you qualify for retiree benefits when you have 30 years of net credited service at any age.

Here’s how it maps out:  You qualify if you are:

  • 50 years old with 25 years of service
  • 55 years old with 20 years of service
  • 65 years old with 10 years of service
  • or any age with 30 years of service

Net credited service, as it relates to pensions, is calculated down to the DAY so be sure you know your exact NCS date.

the one exception to modified rule of 75

The only exception that might exist is if there is a special retirement package offered that adds age and/or service to your existing age and service to make more employees eligible for the Modified Rule of 75.   An example of this might be a 5/5 offer – adds 5 years to both your age and service.  So if you are 45 with 20 years of service, a 5+5 offer would make you (in the eyes of the retiree benefits) 50 years old with 25 years of of service and therefore eligible for the retiree medical and dental insurance and possibly supplemental life insurance if you had it already.   There’s a whole situation with supplemental life insurance for some folks – MetLife was the carrier for the group plan AT&T has/d…. MetLife is getting out of that business, so some folks got a nasty-gram shortly after being laid off to announce they were losing their life insurance immediately.  So as many still need life insurance, they had to scramble, in the middle of everything else, to get a new policy.

excuse if this feels “cheesy” but it’s true!

I outlined in a separate post (and for sure in the Linked In Group where I added screen shots of my situation), how the AT&T group life insurance rates are very high, and unless you have a chronic illness or some other malady, you can probably get much, MUCH better insurance coverage and lower rates by buying your own individual term policy.  I did this when I was laid off.

As an employee, I had 8 times my pay in coverage.  I got that policy I guess close to 20 years ago, so I was 20 years younger than I am now.  When I left AT&T, the cost of my supplemental life insurance policy (which I could keep as I was an official retiree with retiree benefits) was going to nearly double.  It was like close to $500 per month!  Yikes.  Love my family and all, but that’s a tough pill to swallow, especially as I am logging in to claim unemployment!

The good news is this ends well — I saved well over 50% when I switched from my 8-times my pay supplemental life insurance, to a policy through my husband’s company (New York Life).  I wish I switched years and years ago as I would have saved a ton of money.  Not saying that to sound cheesy because my husband works at New York, Life, we actually had quite a few arguments about my not buying a policy through NYL sooner…… I put it here because if you have supplemental life insurance with AT&T, chances are, you are over paying.  And now that I’ve been laid off, I am loathe to allow AT&T to keep collecting money from people when there’s a better alternative!

reminder that “group rates” are not “good rates!”

Group rates does not mean GOOD rates.  If anyone wants to explore options, feel free to contact my husband Lou, he’ll get you the best quote possible with no BS.  (I have it on good authority! 🙂


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