Retroactive pension benefit increase effective Dec. 1, 2013

 6/25/2013 11:12:10 AM

 Summary … The Board of Trustees has approved a retroactive increase in pension benefits. Participants who had covered contributions credited to the AFTRA Retirement Fund between May 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2012 are eligible for this increase, but payment of the increase and updated pension benefit estimates will not be available until after Dec. 1, 2013.

Full story … During its recent summer 2013 meeting, the AFTRA Retirement Fund Board of Trustees enacted a retroactive pension benefit improvement for AFTRA Retirement Plan participants. An overview of this benefit improvement is provided below.

The Dec. 1, 2013 benefit improvement at-a-glance
Effective Dec. 1, 2013, the Plan is amended to increase the benefit accrual rate to 7% of AFTRA H&R covered contributions (up from the current 4.86%) solely with respect to covered contributions credited for the period May 1, 2009 through Nov. 30, 2012. For participants on whose behalf contributions were due only to the Retirement Fund – and not to the Health Fund – during that period, the formula is 20% of the covered contributions. The bullets below describe how different groups of Retirement Plan participants will be affected by this change:

  • Active performers (not retired) who worked during the period – Participants who are not yet receiving a pension from the AFTRA Retirement Fund, but who worked and accrued an AFTRA Retirement Fund pension benefit during this time period, will receive the retroactive accrual adjustments for covered contributions credited for May 1, 2009 through Nov. 30, 2012. Please note, however, that updated pension estimates reflecting the increase will not be available until late 2013, after the framework necessary to implement this change is completed.
  • Current retirees who worked during the period – Participants who are currently receiving a pension and who had covered contributions credited between May 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2012 will receive by early 2014 a Retirement Fund benefit payment reflecting the amount payable due to the retroactive increase, and all subsequent monthly benefit payments will reflect the increase. However, please note that those payments cannot be made until on or after the effective date of the increase, Dec. 1, 2013, due both to applicable laws and the administrative work required to implement the improvement. Retirees who were already being paid the maximum benefit will not receive an adjusted payment reflecting the increase, nor increased future payments, nor may some who were receiving the minimum benefit (if the increase still does not bring their monthly benefit above the minimum amount). Also, note that only contributions made during base years in which a participant earns a pension credit affect the amount of the participant’s accrued pension benefit (refer to the 2013 Retirement Plan SPD for details).
  • Current retirees who did not work during the period – Participants who are currently receiving a pension from the AFTRA Retirement Fund, but who did not have covered contributions credited for May 1, 2009 through Nov. 30, 2012, are unaffected by this change.

New 2013 Retirement Plan SPD mailing under way; details of benefit improvement to follow
The new 2013 Retirement Plan SPD has been issued and is effective May 20, 2013. The new SPD has been printed and is currently being distributed to Plan participants. The new SPD is also posted at www.aftrahr.com (“Retirement Fund” | “Retirement Plan SPD”). Since the Board of Trustees enacted this Plan change after the SPD’s issue date, please note that the new SPD does NOT reflect the benefit improvement described in this announcement. For the official announcement of this Plan change and updated accrual examples, please watch for the August 2013 Benefits Update, which will be posted at www.aftrahr.com (“News and announcements” | “Benefits Updates”) and distributed to participants,based on your communications preferences, in August.

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Actors, it’s gotta make us feel good.  Thanks to our complacency (in standing by while Prez Howard and the current UFS leadership handed over SAG’s jurisdiction to AFTRA) we  have put a smile on every broadcasters face.

Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

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