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Voluntary Retirement Questions

Voluntary retirement can be a planned event or an offer from an employer to avoid termination or lay off. Many companies will offer a severance package with a voluntary retirement, making the offer more acceptable to the employee. However, there are times when a retirement isn't voluntary and the employee may feel forced to accept it. Situations such as this bring about many questions. Many people are unsure of their options and choose to ask the Experts. The Experts can answer any voluntary retirement questions that you may have. Below are five of the top voluntary retirement questions answered by the Experts.

If an employee is laid off but their paperwork says retirement, will the employee still be eligible for unemployment benefits when their severance pay runs out?

Generally, if your paperwork lists the reason for the ending of your employment as voluntary retirement, it is legally assumed that the retirement is a voluntary action because you employer has not required the retirement. However, in the event that you are denied unemployment benefits, you can show proof at your unemployment appeal hearing, that you were laid off but were listed as retiring because you were eligible for retirement. This process would be less taxing if the employer has stated in the paperwork, that the retirement was involuntary. You also need to be careful when signing a severance agreement. It is possible that the agreement will state that you agree to a voluntary retirement, which will have a negative effect on your chances of receiving unemployment benefits.

If an employee accepts a voluntary retirement package, would they still be eligible for unemployment benefits?

If you accept a voluntary retirement package, you could ruin your chances of receiving unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are for employee's who have been terminated or laid off by no choice of their own. However, if you choose to accept a voluntary buyout/ retirement, you are choosing to volunteer to be unemployed.

What options does a person have if they recently learned that they were forced into resigning?

Usually, being forced to sign something is something that a person would feel during the time of signing. When you have to make a decision doesn't mean that you have been forced. In order to say you were forced, you must feel the pressure of pressure at the time of actual signing. The courts deem that being forced is felt at the actual signing and not afterwards. In the event that the employer used some form of fraud to get you to sign a document, and you have specific evidence of the fraud, you could file a suit to withdraw the resignation based on fraud.

If someone is already receiving Social Security benefits, will their chances of receiving unemployment benefits be affected?

Unemployment Insurance benefits will not affect your Social Security because Unemployment Insurance (UI) is not counted under the annual earnings test. However, the amount of your unemployment may affected by a pension payment or any other form of retirement income. This would include Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits.

If an employee accepts a voluntary lay off with the promise to return as a seasonal employee, would they be eligible for unemployment benefits?

Usually an employee would agree to such an offer because in today's economy, the promise of future employment is a welcome incentive. However, this will usually disqualify you for unemployment because you volunteered to accept the lay off. You should still apply for the unemployment insurance, although you will probably be denied benefits.

Voluntary retirement can be an exciting time in your life or an unstable financial nightmare. Many people plan and prepare for their retirement and eagerly await the day. However, with every major life change, come many questions. If you find yourself in a situation that requires a professional view, ask the Employment Law Experts. The Experts can explain the voluntary retirement scheme and assist you in choosing the best option for voluntary early retirement.
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