SAG-Producers Pension Plan SPD & Benefits

Types of Pension

This section describes the types of pension available under the Plan and the service, age, and other requirements for each. The Plan Office can tell you about your eligibility and explain the factors that should be considered when you are ready to have your pension commence. The amount of monthly payment for each type of pension will vary according to a number of factors, including your age and the options you select. Information about the amount of payment will be found in the section on Forms of Pension Payment as well as in this section.

Regular Pension

Eligibility

You are eligible for Regular Pension if you meet the following requirements:

You have attained age 65; and
You have at least 10 Pension Credits.

Amount

The Regular Pension is a monthly amount equal to the sum of the annual Prior Service Benefit plus the annual Current Service Benefit divided by 12. The amount is rounded to the next higher multiple of 50¢ if it is not already a multiple of 50¢.

Minimum Pension: The minimum amount of monthly Regular Pension is $220, except that this minimum shall not apply if eligibility is based on Pension Credits earned under the Alternative Eligibility Program. The Minimum Pension amount is based on the Five-Year Certain Form of payment and will be reduced if another form of payment is elected.

Maximum Pension: The maximum amount of monthly Regular Pension depends on when your pension is effective (your Annuity Starting Date) and, beginning July 1, 2007, it also depends on the amount of Pension Credits you have accumulated as of your Annuity Starting Date. The maximum pension amounts are as follows:

Regular Pension

Prior to 1/1/1998

N/A

$ 4,400

1/1/1998 through 12/31/1998

N/A

$ 5,000

1/1/1999 through 6/30/2007

N/A

$ 6,000

7/1/2007 and later

Less than 20

$ 6,500

7/1/2007 and later

20 through 29

$ 7,000

7/1/2007 and later

30 through 34

$ 7,500

7/1/2007 and later

35 or more

$ 8,000

The maximum pension amount may be increased if the Annuity Starting Date is after age 65 (see Delayed Retirement on page 12). The maximum pension amount is based on the Five-Year Certain Form of payment and will be reduced if another form of payment is elected.

Annual Prior Service Benefit

The Annual Prior Service Benefit is determined as follows:

  1. Determine the average annual Earnings Credit for your most recent five years of Prior Service Credit by adding the Earnings Credit in those five years and dividing by 5.
  2. Apply the amount determined in 1. to the formula in Table 1.
  3. Multiply the amount obtained in 2. by your total number of years of Prior Service Credit. The result is your annual Prior Service Benefit.

If you have less than five years of Prior Service Credit, then the Earnings Credit for each year of Prior Service Credit is applied to the formula in Table 1 and the results for all years are added together. The total is your annual Prior Service Benefit.

Table 1

$ 0 to $ 2,500 8.23% of Earnings Credit
$ 2,501 to $ 5,000 $ 205.75 plus 7.60% of excess over $ 2,500
$ 5,001 to $ 7,500 $ 395.75 plus 5.08% of excess over $ 5,000
$ 7,501 to $ 25,000 $ 522.75 plus 4.66% of excess over $ 7,500
$ 25,001 to $ 30,000 $ 1,338.25 plus 4.10% of excess over $ 25,000
$ 30,001 to $ 50,000 $ 1,543.25 plus 1.42% of excess over $ 30,000
$ 50,001 and over $ 1,827.25 plus 1.30% of excess over $ 50,000

Table 2

$ 0 to $ 2,500 4.57% of Earnings Credit
$ 2,501 to $ 5,000 $ 114.25 plus 4.21% of excess over $ 2,500
$ 5,001 to $ 30,000 $ 219.50 plus 3.21% of excess over $ 5,000
$ 30,001 to $ 50,000 $ 1,022.00 plus 1.82% of excess over $ 30,000
$ 50,001 to $ 75,000 $ 1,386.00 plus 1.54% of excess over $ 50,000
$ 75,001 to $100,000 $ 1,771.00 plus 1.36% of excess over $ 75,000
$100,001 and over * $ 2,111.00 plus 1.19% of excess over $100,000

* Up to the Maximum Earnings Credit allowed (see page 2).

Table 3

$ 7,500 to $ 50,000 $ 272.50 plus 3.5% of Earnings Credit over $ 7,500 **
$ 50,001 to $100,000 $ 1,760.00 plus 2.5% of excess over $ 50,000
$100,001 and over* $ 3,010.00 plus 1.5% of excess over $100,000

* Up to the Maximum Earnings Credit allowed (see page 2).

** If you earn a year of Pension Credit based on Earnings Credit of less than $7,500, or if your average earnings are less than $7,500, your annual Current Service Benefit for such Credit will be $272.50.

Annual Current Service Benefit

The Annual Current Service Benefit is the greater of the amount determined under the Annual Earnings method or the Average Earnings method. These methods are as follows:

Annual Earnings Method

  1. Apply the Earnings Credit for each year of Current Service Credit earned prior to 1996 to the formula in Table 2.
  2. Apply the Earnings Credit in each year of Current Service Credit earned in 1996, 1997 and 1998 to the formula in Table 3.
  3. Apply the Earnings Credit in each year of Current Service Credit earned in 1999 through 2009 to the formula in Table 4.
  4. Apply the Earnings Credit in each year of Current Service Credit earned in 2010 and later to the formula in Table 5.
  5. Add the amounts determined in A, B, C and D above. This is your annual Current Service Benefit under the Annual Earnings Method.

Average Earnings Method

  1. Determine your Average Earnings by adding your Earnings Credit in each year of Current Service Credit and dividing by the number of years of Current Service Credit.
  2. Apply the amount in A to the formula in Table 2 and multiply the result by the total years of Current Service earned before 1996.
  3. Apply the amount in A to the formula in Table 3 and multiply the result by the total years of Current Service earned in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
  4. Apply the amount in A to the formula in Table 4 and multiply the result by the total years of Current Service Credit earned in 1999 through 2009.
  5. Apply the amount in A to the formula in Table 5 and multiply the result by the total years of Current Service Credit earned in 2010 and later.
  6. Add the amounts determined in B, C, D and E. This is your annual Current Service Benefit under the Average Earnings Method.

Table 4

All earnings* 3.5% of all earnings

* Up to the Maximum Earnings Credit allowed (see page 2).

Table 5

All earnings* 2.0% of all earnings

* Up to the Maximum Earnings Credit allowed (see page 2).

The formulas for calculating the amount of pension under the Plan are complicated. The Plan Office will be happy to provide you with estimates of the amount of your pension.  

Delayed Retirement After 65 

If your Annuity Starting Date is delayed beyond the date on which you have reached age 65 and met the eligibility requirements for a pension, your benefit may be increased to reflect this delay. The adjustment is based on actuarial tables. The Plan Office can tell you how much this adjustment will be.

Mandatory Pension Distribution Dates

The Internal Revenue Service requires the Plan to start to distribute pension benefits to certain Participants who have attained age 70-1/2. These mandatory distribution rules are similar to the distribution rules for IRAs. The date benefits must commence under the IRS rules is called the Required Beginning Date. Your actual Required Beginning Date depends on the year in which you reach age 70-1/2 and whether or not you continue working in covered employment after that time. If you attain age 70-1/2 in 1996 or later, your Required Beginning Date is April 1st following the later of the calendar year in which you reach age 70-1/2 or the calendar year in which you retire. For purposes of this rule only, you are considered to be retired if you are not actually working in the industry, even if you have sufficient residuals to earn a Pension Credit. The Plan will notify you in writing when you reach your Required Beginning Date.

Early Retirement Pension

If you want to retire before age 65, you may be eligible for an Early Retirement Pension as early as age 55. Monthly payments for an Early Retirement Pension will be lower than for a Regular Pension. The amount of reduction depends on your age when you retire.

Eligibility

You are eligible for an Early Retirement Pension if you meet the following requirements:

  1. You have attained age 55; and
  2. You have at least 10 Pension Credits (excluding Pension Credits earned under the Alternative Eligibility Program).

Amount

If you retire on an Early Retirement Pension, you are younger than you would be if your pension had started at normal retirement age which means it is likely that your pension will be paid for a longer period of time. Therefore, the amount of Early Retirement Pension is reduced to compensate for the extended duration of your pension benefits. The reduced payments are designed to pay you approximately the same amount during your expected lifetime as would have been paid to you over your expected lifetime if you had retired at age 65. The amount of the Early Retirement Pension is calculated as follows:

  1. Determine the amount of the Regular Pension (before rounding) which would be payable if you were age 65.
  2.  Reduce this amount by 1/4 of 1% for each month you are younger than age 65.
  3. Round the reduced amount up to the next highest multiple of 50¢ if it is not already a multiple of 50¢.

Example: Let's say you would qualify for a Regular Pension of $4,000 per month at age 65, but you decide to retire at age 62. Your benefit would be reduced by 1/4 of 1% for each month you are younger than 65— in this case 36 months. The reduction is 36 months x 1/4 of 1%, or 9%. Your monthly benefit would be $4,000 less 9% ($360) or $3,640 per month. If you retire at age 60, the reduction in your benefit would be 60 months x 1/4 of 1%, or 15%. Your monthly benefit would be $4,000 less 15% ($600) or $3,400.

Disability Pensions

There are two types of Disability Pensions:

  • A Disability Pension which applies to all types of total disability; and
  • An Occupational Disability Pension which applies to work-incurred total disabilities.

Eligibility for a Disability Pension

You are eligible for a Disability Pension if you meet all of the following conditions:

  1. You are Totally Disabled as defined by the Plan (see page 60);
  2. You are younger than age 65;
  3. You have at least 10 Pension Credits (excluding Pension Credits earned under the Alternative Eligibility Program); and
  4. You have at least one Pension Credit in the six calendar year period preceding the date you became disabled, or January 1, 1981 (whichever is later), including the calendar year in which you became disabled.

Eligibility for Occupational Disability Pension

You are eligible for an Occupational Disability Pension if you meet all of the following conditions:

  1. You are Totally Disabled as defined by the Plan (see page 60);
  2.  You are younger than age 65;
  3. You have at least 5 Pension Credits (excluding Pension Credit earned under the Alternative Eligibility Program);
  4. You have at least one Pension Credit in the six calendar year period preceding the date you became disabled, or July 1, 1994 (whichever is later) including the calendar year in which you became disabled; and
  5. Your disability occurred in the course of employment covered by the Plan. This includes a disability caused by an injury which occurred at an audition or rehearsal, during travel to or from location or during preparation for production or production.

Amount

Both types of Disability Pensions are calculated in the same way as the Regular Pension. There is no reduction for age.

Proof of Total Disability

You will need to provide proof that you meet the Plan's definition of Total Disability. This proof includes both of the following:

  1. The official determination by the U.S. Social Security Administration that you are entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits or Supplemental Security Income Disability Benefits, and
  2. A completed Disability Certification from your doctor, along with any necessary medical evidence, indicating that you meet the Plan's definition of Total Disability. This Disability Certification will be reviewed by the Plan's medical consultant who will, based on the evidence provided, determine if you meet the Plan's definition. You will be asked to provide copies of your medical records, including results of laboratory tests.

For an Occupational Disability Pension, you will also need to provide proof that your injury occurred during the course of employment covered by the Plan. Important: The Pension Plan's definition of Total Disability is more restrictive than Social Security's definition. This means that you may not be entitled to a Disability Pension from the Plan even if you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

Disability Pension Annuity Starting Date

If you are eligible for a Disability Pension, the Annuity Starting Date of your Disability Pension will be the first of the month following the date of total disability as determined by the Social Security Administration. It is best to file your application for Disability or Occupational Disability Pension with the Plan Office at the same time you apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Submit your notice of entitlement promptly when it is received to make sure pension payments can start as soon as possible.

Duration of Disability Pension

Payment of a Disability Pension will continue for as long as you remain Totally Disabled, as defined by the Plan. If you are receiving a Disability Pension and subsequently lose entitlement to Social Security Disability benefits or you recover sufficiently to be able to return to work, you must report this to the Plan Office within 30 days after the date of the notice of discontinuance of Social Security Disability benefits or the date of recovery.

Each year, the Plan Office will contact each Disability Pensioner to request proof that they are still receiving Social Security Disability benefits and continue to meet the Plan's definition of Total Disability. If the Disability Pensioner has had sessional employment during the year, the Plan Office will also request information regarding that employment.

If you return to work in employment covered by the Plan after you recover, you can, of course, earn additional Pension Credit that will be added to the credits you had earned before you became disabled. When you subsequently retire, there will be no reduction in your benefits because of the fact that you received a Disability Pension.

Changing from an Early Retirement Pension to a Disability Pension

Because you may experience a delay between the onset of your total disability and the date you are awarded your Social Security Disability benefit, you may want to apply for an Early Retirement Pension while you are waiting for Social Security benefits.

At such time as you are granted a Social Security Disability benefit you may be entitled to change your Early Retirement Pension to a Disability Pension. The change can only be made if you meet all of the requirements for a Disability or Occupational Disability Pension, including satisfaction of the Plan's definition of Total Disability and the date Social Security deems you totally disabled is on or before your Early Retirement Pension Annuity Starting Date. Your request for this change must be made in writing to the Plan Office and you must provide a copy of your Social Security Disability benefit notice as well as other proof that you meet the Plan's definition of Total Disability. If you meet all of the requirements the Annuity Starting Date of your Disability Pension will be the first of the month following the date of total disability as determined by the Social Security Administration.

The monthly amount of the Disability Pension will be determined in the same manner as a Regular Pension - that is, there is no reduction for age. If retroactive payments are due as a result of changing from Early Retirement to Disability Pension, the retroactive amount is paid in a lump sum.

If you elect to change from an Early Retirement Pension to a Disability Pension, you may also elect to change the form of pension payment you receive. However, if you are married, you must have your spouse's consent to change your form of pension payment.

Terminal Illness Benefit

Because Social Security can take up to a year to make a disability determination, it is possible for terminally ill participants to be left without any pension income during their final months of life. For this reason, the Plan has a Terminal Illness Benefit. This benefit provides a lump sum payment equal to one-half of the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit that would be payable upon your death.

Eligibility

You are eligible for a Terminal Illness Benefit if you meet all of the following conditions:

  1. You are younger than age 65;
  2. You have at least 10 Pension Credits (excluding Pension Credit earned under the Alternative Eligibility Program);
  3. You are Totally Disabled and Terminally Ill, as defined by the Plan.

Definitions of Total Disability and Terminally Ill

You will be deemed Totally Disabled under the Terminal Illness Benefit if you meet the definition on page 60 except that receipt of Social Security Disability benefits is not required. You will be considered Terminally Ill if a licensed physician certifies, in writing, that you have a life expectancy of less than one year.

Important Rules for the Terminal Illness Benefit:

  • If you elect to receive a Terminal Illness Benefit, you will not be entitled to receive a Disability Pension.
  • If you are married, your Spouse must consent to the election of the Terminal Illness Benefit.

Amount

The amount of the Terminal Illness Benefit is equal to one-half of the Pre-Retirement Death Benefit that would otherwise be payable to your spouse or beneficiary upon your death — that is, four times the amount of the annual Current Service Benefit. The Pre-Retirement Death Benefit is described on page 23. This amount is payable in a lump sum.

Upon your death, the amount of the Terminal Illness Benefit is subtracted from the death benefit otherwise payable. If you should survive to retire on a Regular or Early Retirement Pension, the amount of the monthly pension will be reduced to account for amounts you have received as part of your Terminal Illness Benefit.  

Vested Pension

Eligibility

You are eligible for a Vested Pension if you satisfy one of the following requirements:

  1. You have attained Normal Retirement Age and are active at the time you reach Normal Retirement Age or become active after that date. You are considered active for purposes of a Normal Retirement Age Vested Pension in a calendar year in which you earn a Current Service Pension Credit , or
  2. You are age 65 and have satisfied the requirements for Limited Five-Year Vesting. A Vested Pension under this provision is only available on or after January 1, 1999.

Amount

The amount of Vested Pension is calculated in the same manner as the Regular Pension based on your Pension Credit, except that the $220 minimum monthly pension does not apply. However, if you continue to work and subsequently accumulate a total of 10 Pension Credits you will then be eligible to convert from a Vested Pension to a Regular Pension as of the first month following the month in which your tenth Pension Credit is earned. At that time, the minimum will apply.

Service Pension

Eligibility

You are eligible for a Service Pension if you meet all of the following requirements:

  1. You have attained age 55;
  2. You have at least 10 Pension Credits;
  3. You have earned at least 5 Pension Credits as a Plan Office Participant or as a Guild Office Participant;
  4. The sum of your age and Pension Credits is equal to at least 75;
  5. You were not awarded an Early Retirement Pension prior to April 1, 1991; and
  6. You were not awarded an Early Retirement Pension under the Screen Actors Guild Retirement Plan prior to January 1, 2004.

Amount

The monthly amount of a Service Pension is calculated in the same manner as a Regular Pension. There is no reduction for age.

Pro Rata Pension

Pro Rata Pensions are provided for Actors who would otherwise be ineligible for a pension because their employment was divided between work creditable under this Plan and work creditable under the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan. Under a Pro Rata Pension, credit you earned under Motion Picture Pension Plan is combined with the credit you earned under this Plan for purposes of determining your eligibility for benefits. However, the amount of benefits paid by this Plan will be based only on Pension Credit earned under this Plan. Credit earned under the Motion Picture Industry Plan can also be used to determine eligibility for the Death Before Retirement Benefit (see pages 22 through 24). Credit under the Motion Picture Industry Plan can only be considered for a Pro Rata Pension if it has not been canceled due to a break in service under that Plan.

Eligibility

You are eligible for a Pro Rata Pension if you meet all of these requirements:

  1. You would be eligible for a Regular, Disability or Early Retirement Pension if your years of credit under the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan were treated as Pension Credit under this Plan;
  2. You have earned at least five years of Pension Credit under this Plan and five years of Pension Credit under the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan; and
  3. You have earned at least one year of Current Service Credit under this Plan after January 1, 1992.

Amount

The monthly amount of the Pro Rata Pension is calculated in the same manner as a Regular, Disability or Early Retirement Pension (whichever is applicable) but is based only on the Pension Credit earned under this Plan. No benefit is paid from this Plan for your credits under the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan.