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Pension Plan

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Pension Plan is administered by a Board of Directors, made up of an equal number of Union Directors and Employer Directors. This Board administers the pension trust fund in accordance with the Plan document, which provides that the money contributed by Employers to the Plan can only be used for the purpose of providing retirement benefits for Participants covered by the Plan and their beneficiaries and for the administration of the Plan. The Board has the exclusive right, power, and authority, in its sole and absolute discretion, to administer, apply and interpret the Plan, including this SPD, and the Plan document, and to decide all matters arising in connection with the operation or administration of the Plan or trust underlying it. Please refer to page 41.
No. Retirement benefits cannot be sold, assigned, transferred, mortgaged or pledged to anyone, nor can they be used as security for a loan. Generally, they are not subject to attachment or execution under any judgment or decree of a court or otherwise.

However, the law provides limited exceptions to this rule. One exception is that a court may reduce your benefit as a result of a crime or fiduciary breach committed against the Plan. Your benefits may also be attached in order to satisfy a tax levy.

Another exception is that the Plan Administrator may be required by law to assign your benefits if required by a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). A QDRO is generally defined as a decree or order issued under state domestic relations law that requires that all or a portion of your benefits under the Plan are assigned to provide child support, alimony or spousal rights to an alternate payee, such as a spouse or former spouse, a child or other dependent. A QDRO, however, may not require the Plan to provide any type or form of benefit or any option not otherwise provided under the Plan.

The Plan will determine the validity of any QDRO received in accordance with the Plan's procedures for determining whether or not an order constitutes a QDRO. You will be notified if the Plan receives such a QDRO on your benefits. The Plan procedures covering QDROs (and how the Plan determines if they are valid) and a model QDRO are available at:
No. Regardless of whether you leave the industry or not, benefits are payable only when you retire (and meet the age and service requirements for a pension) or upon your death.
Any writer who performs covered services for an employer who is obligated to make contributions to the Plan in accordance with the terms of its Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Union. The Plan also covers non-collectively bargained employees of certain named employers (the Writers Guild of America, East, Inc., the Writers Guild of America, West, Inc., the Writers Guild Foundation, the Plan, the Writers' Guild-Industry Health Fund, and the Interguild Federal Credit Union).
Yes. If you get married, your spouse is automatically named as your BeneficiaryThis term means the person or persons whom a Participant last designates to receive benefits in the event of his or her death. However, if you have been married at least one year at the time of your death, your spouse will be your Beneficiary unless you and your spouse select a different Beneficiary. If an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership has been on file with the Administrative Office for at least one year at the time of your death, your Qualified Domestic Partner will be your Beneficiary, unless you select a different Beneficiary. If there is no surviving designated Beneficiary, please refer to Section: NAMING OR CHANGING A BENEFICIARY BEFORE RETIREMENT on page 33 for details about the Plan's rules for designating a beneficiary and for paying benefits to a minor. Beneficiary designation forms are available from the Administrative Office. you and your spouse properly notify the Administrative Office of a different Beneficiary in accordance with the Plan's waiver and consent rules. Please contact the Administrative Office to obtain the proper forms. If you are divorced, your former spouse may be entitled to a portion of the benefits you have earned under the Plan. If the Administrative Office receives a domestic relations order for payment to be made to your former spouse, the Administrative Office will notify each of you and will then determine whether or not the order is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order A judgment, decree or order which meets certain requirements and provides that all or a portion of a Participant's benefit is to be paid to an alternate payee (a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of the Participant). (QDRO) as defined by federal regulations. If the Administrative Office determines the order is a QDRO, the Plan Administrator will make payment of benefits in accordance with the QDRO and the applicable regulations.

Participants and beneficiaries may obtain, without charge, a copy of the Plan's procedures governing QDROs by request to the Administrative Office, or may obtain a copy of sample QDROs acceptable to the Plan.
Yes. The Directors hope to continue the Plan indefinitely, but they reserve the right to amend or terminate the Plan in their sole discretion. However, under current law, generally, an amendment cannot deprive a Participant of the right to receive a benefit which has already been accrued. If the Plan terminates, Participants will become fully vested in their accrued benefits, to the extent funded. Such accrued benefits will be paid in accordance with ERISA and the requirements of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and to the extent provided by the Trust Fund and termination insurance. (See item 8 on page 43.)
The Plan is maintained by various collective bargaining agreements. Some of these agreements provide that benefits may not be earned concurrently under this Plan and a private corporate retirement plan, such as that maintained by 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. Please contact your Employer or the Administrative Office for details of the applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Except for benefits payable to certain current retirees under the Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan, benefits are not affected by benefit coverage under any other Guild or Union multiemployer pension plan. However, tax laws provide that your benefits may be affected by benefits paid by a plan maintained by your Employer (including a loan out company). See page 32.
Yes. Any Participant or Beneficiary who is denied a benefit has the right to appeal the denial to the Benefits Committee within 60 days after the date shown on the notice of denial. For a complete explanation of the appeals procedure, please refer to page 44.
Benefits under the Pension Plan are based on contributions made to the Plan by Employers for your work in Covered Employment. Benefits are not based on Guild membership or the payment of dues.
Yes. The Plan has professional investment managers who invest the assets of the Plan, including the contributions made on your behalf. However, this is not a defined contribution plan where contributions to the Plan for each Participant are separated into individual accounts with interest allocated to each account. Rather, it is a defined benefit plan in which the benefit is determined in accordance with a formula in the Plan, and the amount of that benefit is guaranteed regardless of the performance of the Plan's investments. Thus, the interest and other earnings will not affect your benefits.
You may designate anyone you wish as your Beneficiary. However, if you are married or have a Qualified Domestic Partner Your same sex domestic partner for whom you have submitted to the Administrative Office an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership with the Pension Plan, along with supporting documentation, and who meets the criteria in such Affidavit. Generally, the Participant and domestic partner must have a committed same sex relationship similar to marriage that has been in existence for at least six months. No person shall be considered a Qualified Domestic Partner prior to the time a complete Affidavit has been submitted to the Administrative Office. , your spouse or if applicable your Qualified Domestic Partner must consent, in writing with his or her notarized signature, to the person you select as your designated Beneficiary. In order for your spouse to be eligible to receive Surviving Spouse Benefits, he or she must have been legally married to you for the entire year preceding your death. If you have a Qualified Domestic Partner, an affidavit must be on file with the Administrative office for the entire year preceding your death. You may designate more than one person as Beneficiary. You may also designate a trust or your estate as Beneficiary. In all cases, you should be sure to provide information as to whom to contact and, if you name more than one Beneficiary, how the benefits should be divided. If you have any questions or would like beneficiary designation forms, please contact the Administrative Office.
If the actuarial value of your annual benefit is $5,000 or less, the benefit can be paid as a lump sum. If the actuarial value of your total payments exceeds $5,000, a lump sum payment is not permitted.
Contributions are made to the Plan for reportable residuals due on scripts written specifically for television up to 2½ times the applicable WGA minimum compensation or the agreed upon initial compensation of the writer, whichever is greater. However, contributions are not made for residuals on theatrical motion pictures.
No. The Plan does not provide for individually-directed investments.
The Plan cannot accept rollovers from other plans. However, under certain circumstances you may be able to roll over benefits from this Plan to a traditional IRA, Roth IRA or qualified retirement plan. See the "Federal Income Tax Withholding on Benefits" section on page 33.