SUPPLEMENTAL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PLAN (SWC)
What are SWC benefits?
SWC benefits are an addition to benefits payable under state Workers’ Compensation laws, if you get sick or injured while performing. SWC benefits replace part of your income.
In order to collect SWC benefits, you must:
- Be working under an Actors’ Equity contract that requires contributions to the Fund for SWC on your behalf at the time of you illness/injury,
- Stop that work due to a work-related disability, and,
- Apply for, and be eligible for, state Workers’ Compensation benefits.
When Does SWC Coverage Begin and End?
You become covered under the SWC plan as soon as you begin working in covered employment. Your coverage ends when your covered employment ends.
How much is the SWC benefit?
The SWC benefit is 100% of your weekly salary, up to a maximum of 75% of the production contract minimum weekly salary at the time of injury. The SWC benefit is reduced by any amount that is payable under the applicable Workers’ Compensation or occupational disease laws of the state in which you are working.
How long do SWC benefits last?
Benefits are payable only while you are receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits, and generally no longer than 104 weeks. During those 104 weeks you will be considered disabled if you are unable to perform your usual occupation (e.g., acting, singing or dancing).
Your benefits can be extended beyond 104 weeks, if you continue to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits and the Trustees determine that you are disabled and unable to work in any occupation for which you are reasonably qualified. However, in no event will benefits go beyond three additional years (or a total of five years) for the same injury. In addition, no benefits will be paid for any period after your Workers’ Compensation benefits end.
HOW TO FILE AN SWC CLAIM
There are two things you need to remember to do before you file for SWC Plan benefits: (1) you must notify your employer, and (2) you must make sure a claim has been filed under state Workers’ Compensation law. Then you may file a claim for supplemental benefits from this Plan. Also see page 56 for important information on the claims process.
Notifying Your Employer is Key for Any Claim. If you become sick or injured on the job, report the incident to your stage manager immediately. You should report any work-related illness or injury, even if you do not incur any medical bills or miss any time from work. Be sure your employer completes a written Workers’ Compensation report that explains how you were hurt on the job, and that you obtain the name and address of the insurance company carrying the employer’s Workers’ Compensation policy, or the name of the employer’s insurance broker.
IMPORTANT REMINDER! Even though time and salary loss may not occur, a record of the injury or sickness should be on file in your employer’s place of business, since that’s where bills and reports will be sent if you need medical attention at a later date.
Filing a Claim for Benefits. The claims process is explained separately, and in detail, in the Actors’ Equity “Work-Related Injury Checklist” (which is available from any Actors’ Equity office or through). Here is a summary of those rules.
- Immediately report the work-related illness or injury to your stage manager.
- Get a SWC Plan claim form (available from the Fund Office or from any Actors’ Equity office).
- Get the name and address of your employer’s Workers’ Compensation carrier, and give it to your physician.
- Once you and your attending physician have completed your claim form, submit it to the Actors’ Equity office.
- Provide the Actors’ Equity office with copies of all benefit checks and accompanying Explanations of Benefits (EOBs). (This last step is required because SWC Plan benefits are adjusted to reflect your Workers’ Compensation benefits.)
IMPORTANT REMINDER! DO NOT USE YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR THE TREATMENT OF WORK-RELATED ILLNESS OR INJURIES!
On-the-job illnesses and injuries are not considered eligible expenses under medical plans, so if you become ill or injured on the job, do not file a claim with CIGNA (or other insurance carrier). See the “Claims and Appeals Procedures” section starting on page 54 for other important information about the SWC Plan claims procedures.
The SWC Plan is a “self-insured” plan, which means the Fund has not purchased insurance coverage to guarantee the payment of this benefit. The money used to pay SWC Plan benefits comes directly out of the assets of the Fund.
TAXABILITY OF SWC BENEFITS
Benefits paid through the SWC Plan are considered taxable wages and, as such, subject to voluntary federal income tax withholding. Therefore, you will get an IRS Form W-4S, Re- quest for Federal Income Tax Withholding From Federal Sick Pay. You may elect or decline voluntary federal tax withholding on benefits paid. If the Form W-4S is not returned to the Fund Office, no federal taxes will be withheld. For information on state tax withholding, please contact the Fund Office. The benefit is subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes for the first six (6) months of the benefit, and your share of these taxes will be deducted from the payment. At the end of the calendar year, the total of all payments made to you that year by the SWC benefit will be reported to you and the IRS on FormW-2.
Exclusions and Limitations Under the SWC Plan
The SWC Plan does not cover loss of time from work due to a suicide attempt, whether while sane or insane; an act of war, whether declared or undeclared; or air travel, unless you are traveling as a passenger (and not as a pilot or crew member) during necessary travel time.