Starting Retirement FAQs

Here are a few commonly asked questions about this process.

What is a group annuity?

A group annuity is a contract that has been purchased by an employer, known as a contract holder, from John Hancock to fund tax-qualified retirement benefits for a specified group of employees, who are referred to as participants. The group annuity contract defines the benefit payment options and amounts that the contract holder has purchased for each participant.

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Why is John Hancock paying my retirement benefit?

Rather than your former employer paying benefits directly to you, they entered into a contract with John Hancock to pay benefits for each covered participant under the group annuity contract. John Hancock works directly with the participant. Generally, your employer is not involved in the benefit administration.

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When will I be eligible to receive my retirement benefit?

Your retirement benefit eligibility depends on what is defined in the group annuity contract. Typically, your full retirement benefit is available to you at age 65. You may also be eligible for an early or late retirement option.

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What information is required to request a quote of my benefit options?

You will need to provide certain personal information including your name, date of birth, Social Security number, home address and contact information. Marital status and spouse information are also required. Finally, we need to collect employment information including the name of your former employer, your date of hire and date of termination. All of this information will be used to determine your benefit options.

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What if I do not remember my date of hire or date of termination?

If you do not have your exact employment dates, please provide your best estimate of the month and year(s) in which you worked, and we will compare this information to
our records.

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Are my retirement benefits subject to taxes?

Generally, yes. However, you should consult with a qualified tax professional. You can find additional information in the Tax Center.

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When do I need to complete IRS Form W-9 versus IRS Form W-8BEN?

As part of the benefit commencement process, each participant or payee must submit an IRS Form W-9. If you are not a US citizen or U.S. resident alien, an IRS Form W-8BEN must be submitted instead. Please refer to the instructions on the forms for how to properly complete each one.

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