Who administers the Plan?
The Pension Plan is administered by the Board of Trustees which is made up equally of representatives of the Screen Actors Guild and of the Producers. The actions of the Trustees in governing the Pension Trust Fund are ruled by a Trust Agreement. This provides that all money paid into the Pension Trust Fund or earned by the Pension Trust Fund can be used only for the purpose of providing benefits for the Plan participants and their beneficiaries and for reasonable expenses in administering the Plan.
The full text of the Pension Plan Document is part of this book (beginning on page 43). The Trustees may amend or interpret the Plan from time to time. The Trustees will make every effort to assure that participants are informed of any material changes in the Plan.
Who is covered by the Plan?
The Plan covers individuals who work as actors or as other performers in theatrical motion pictures, television motion pictures, television commercials, industrial or educational motion pictures, public television, music videos and interactive media projects. This employment must be performed for producers who have signed collective bargaining agreements with SAG-AFTRA under which contributions are made in accordance with the Pension Plan Trust Agreement. The Plan also covers employees of the Screen Actors Guild – Producers Pension Plan, the Screen Actors Guild – Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund, the SAG-AFTRA, and the Screen Actors Guild Foundation.
How will I know the amount of Earnings credited to me each year?
You will be sent an annual statement after the close of the calendar year showing the total earnings reported to the Plan by all of the Producers by whom you were employed during the prior calendar year.This report is generally mailed during April or May. For this reason, it is important that the Plan Office be kept advised of any changes in your permanent address.
You may also access your personal account on the website (www.sagph.org) at any time.
Can a Participant or Beneficiary appeal if benefits are denied?
Yes. Anyone whose application for benefits under the Plan has been denied (in whole or in part) will be provided a notice in writing, stating the reason for denial. Within 60 days (180 days in the case of a Disability Pension application) of the date you receive that notice, you may appeal the decision of the Trustees. The decision of the Trustees regarding the appeal will be sent to you no later than 60 days after the appeal was filed, unless special circumstances require an extension of time, in which case the decision of the Trustees will be sent to you no later than 120 days after the appeal was filed. The rules and procedures for filing an appeal are in Article VIII, Section 4 of the Pension Plan (page 82). Explanatory material is on page 38.
How is the Beneficiary designated? May the Beneficiary be changed?
You may designate your beneficiary(ies) on the Beneficiary Designation Form. The beneficiary designated on the form most recently filed with the Plan Office will be entitled to any Pre-Retirement Death Benefits that may be payable upon your death with the following exception:
If you die before retirement at a time when you have met the requirements for a Vested Pension (you have 10 years of Pension Credit or have reached Normal Retirement Age) and have been married for at least 12 months to your surviving Spouse, your surviving Spouse will automatically receive payments under the Pre-Retirement 50% Joint and Survivor Pension.
Your Spouse will receive these benefits regardless of who is listed as your designated beneficiary on your Beneficiary Designation Form.
If you have a Same-Sex Domestic Partner and you have named them as your sole primary beneficiary on the Beneficiary Designation Form, your surviving Same-Sex Domestic Partner will be entitled to the benefits payable from the Plan if you die before retirement. However, your surviving Same-Sex Domestic Partner may elect to receive the 50% Joint and Survivor Pension only if the partnership has been in effect for at least 12 months on the date of death.
You may change your beneficiary any time prior to your retirement by completing a new Beneficiary Designation Form.
For Post-Retirement Death, a separate beneficiary designation form must be completed. This form will be provided to you when you file your Application for Pension. If you want to change your beneficiary after you retire, you should contact the Plan Office. Designated Co-Annuitants and Spouses may not be changed.
If you elect the 50% Joint and Survivor Pension when you retire, post-retirement death benefits are automatically paid to the Spouse to whom you were married when your pension commenced (or to your Same-Sex Domestic Partner as of the date your pension commenced), except as provided under the Pop-Up Option or in accordance with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
If you elect the 75% or 100% Joint and Survivor Option, post-retirement death benefits are automatically paid to the contingent annuitant you named when your pension commenced, except as provided under the Pop-Up Option.
Please call the Plan Office if you have any questions about designating a beneficiary.
Do Social Security benefits affect the pensions provided under this Plan in any way?
No. The benefits under this Plan are in addition to benefits paid under Social Security.
Does my pension affect unemployment compensation benefits?
It is possible that your pension benefits from this Plan may affect your eligibility for or amount of unemployment compensation benefits. You should check with your local Employment Development Department office.
May pension benefits be assigned?
No, with limited exceptions. The Pension Plan must comply with a lien from the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, the Plan is required by applicable law to pay benefits in accordance with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). In the event you are in the process of a divorce, you should carefully consult with your attorney about the effect of the divorce on your or your spouse's benefits. Please have your attorney contact the Plan Office should he or she have any questions about the Plan or your benefits.
You may also elect to have your premium for Senior Performers Health Plan coverage automatically deducted from your monthly pension benefits.
Will federal income tax be withheld from pension payments?
The tax laws require that the Pension Plan withhold federal income tax from certain monthly benefits unless you elect, in writing, not to have the tax withheld. The amount and form of the benefit generally determines whether or not automatic withholding applies. However, if you live outside the United States, different withholding rules may apply.
If benefits are paid in a lump sum or in fixed installments over a period of less than 10 years, you may elect in writing to directly transfer your benefits into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or another qualified retirement plan. If your payments are not directly transferred, the Fund is required to withhold 20% of the payment for taxes, even if you subsequently elect to roll them over to an IRA. If the payment is being made to your spouse or beneficiary, different withholding and rollover rules may apply.
Some participants will not owe federal income tax on their pension benefits because their total taxable income determines whether they must pay federal income tax. At the time you retire, you will be given complete and detailed information about federalincome tax withholding on your retirement benefits. However, the Plan Office cannot provide tax advice and you are encouraged to consult with your tax advisor before making any withholding or rollover decisions.
Can I rollover my pension payments into an IRA?
If benefits are paid in a lump sum or in fixed installments over a period of less than 10 years, you may elect to directly transfer your benefits to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other qualified retirement plan. Special rules apply to pensioners over age 70-1/2 and to certain death benefits. Please contact the Plan Office for details.