If you play union gigs, you build up union pension. Each October, you receive a statement from the AFM Pension Fund. Local 802 asked the fund’s executive director, Maureen Kilkelly, to tell members what to do if there’s a mistake on your statement.
The annual statements issued by the AFM Pension Fund each October are a valuable tool for discovering missing contributions or data errors. The fund relies on participants to review the details on their annual statements and inform the fund of errors or omissions.
Participant who find errors should complete a claim form to enable the fund to correct the item in question. (Claim forms are available at the fund’s Web site, www.afm-epf.org.)
The annual statement for any particular calendar year will include only contributions received by March 31 of the following year on earnings for work during the calendar year, or on earnings for work during a previous year.
So, for example, the 2006 Annual Statement will not include any contributions for work after 2006 or for work during 2006 or earlier if contributions were received by the fund after March 31, 2007.
The fund receives and processes over 97,000 session reports — and close to one million individual records of musician data — each year.
These records of musician data result in the detailed annual statements sent to over 56,000 participants.
The fund has developed and continues to develop computer programs to capture errors and perform checks and balances in a timely fashion to ensure that the data entry for this volume of musician data is as accurate as possible.
However, at the end of the day the accuracy of the annual statement will largely depend on the accuracy of the reporting to the fund by employers.
If an employer fails to report data such as social security numbers or reports incorrect social security numbers, contributions may not be credited to the right participant.
If the employer reports all contributions earned under multiple collective bargaining agreements as earned under a single agreement, or “bundles” various engagement dates by reporting them as a single date, those errors will most likely make their way onto the annual statement.
For example, if you work two sessions on two different dates on a motion picture score but that work is reported as taking place on the same day as a double session, your annual statement will include only the single date reported.
The fund is not always aware of reporting errors, so if you notice errors in the way your work is being reported on the annual statement, you should alert the fund even if the issue is not one that can be addressed through the claim form described above.
Keep in mind that the annual statement is only the starting point for discovering errors in contributions.
The fund maintains a regular audit program and whenever an audited employer is found to owe contributions, the annual statements will be adjusted accordingly.
In addition, upon receiving a pension application or request for a pension benefit estimate, the fund thoroughly reviews all information available to ensure that the record of contributions received by the fund on behalf of the participant is as complete and accurate as possible.
Nevertheless, the annual statement is an important way for the fund to learn about delinquent contributions and resolve those issues with employers, which gets more difficult the longer it is before the fund learns about it.
Last year, 109 participants (which represents just 0.2 percent of those who received an annual statement) filed covered employment correction claim forms at the fund.
Although many turned out not to involve omitted contributions — because the earnings were for work not covered under a collective bargaining agreement or overscale wages on which no pension contribution was due — some of the cases did involve missing contributions. The fund instituted collection actions against employers as a result.
Please take the time to review your 2006 annual statement. The sooner that you inform the fund of a possible error or omission, the sooner the fund will be able to take the necessary action to resolve any discrepancy.
The fund is committed to ensuring that participants’ pension contribution records are as accurate as possible, and will make every effort to work with each participant towards this end.
For more information on claims, or to contact the fund, see www.afm-epf.org, or call (800) 833-8065, ext. 1.