Customer service asked me to review your question. The issue is a lot
more difficult than it first appears. The reason is that IRC 415 provides aggregation requirement for "multiemployer" plans and plans that are subject to a control group. The problem in trying to answer the question is that there appears to be no case law or IRS interpretations that determines whether or not the two plans to which you belong are considered a controlled group, which would subject benefits to aggregation, rather than separate benefit payments.
My curiousity here is due to your statement that the plans are unable to tell you whether or not you are entitled to the benefits of each plan or only one -- because you cannot be the first person to ask the question, and the plan must
know the answer, in order to know how to distribute your benefits.
My instinct here is that the reciprocity provision suggests that you are only entitled to the greater of the two benefits. However, if your goal is to challenge this position, then you will be relegated to making a demand for payment from both plans, and then if denied, you would have to sue and then try to prove after discovery of all of the plans' governing instruments, that the plans are not controlled by the same organization (i.e., city and state are not the same organization).
Anyway, that's my best guess here. I'm well known around here for providing heaviliy referenced answers with citations to legal authority that are generally dispositve on the customer question. Unfortunately, given the substantial gray area here, an educated guess and a suggestion that you may be into a costly legal action, is all I can offer.
Hope this helps.
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