COVID-19 Office Updates

Office hours will be 7a-3p M-F with no visitors allowed until further notice. Limited support will be available by calling 412‐922‐5330 or click here to contact us. Stay safe & healthy!

Coronavirus Hardship Withdrawal (04-15-2020)

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Greater PA Carpenters Annuity and Savings Fund has implemented a Coronavirus-Related Distribution (CRD) option.  This is in addition to the existing in-service withdrawal options.

Eligibility for Distribution

You are eligible for a Coronavirus-Related Distribution (CRD) if you are a “qualified individual”.   You are a qualified individual if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You have been diagnosed with the virus SARS–CoV–2 or with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) by a test approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; or
  • Your spouse or dependent has been diagnosed with the virus SARS–CoV–2 or with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) by a test approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; or
  • Because of the virus SARS–CoV–2 or coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19), you are experiencing adverse financial consequences resulting from one of the following:
    • Being quarantined; or
    • Being furloughed, laid off, or having your work hours reduced; or
    • Being unable to work due to the lack of childcare; or
    • Closing or reducing the hours of a business you may own or operate; or
    • Other factors the IRS may prescribe in future guidance.

If you are a qualified individual, you may apply for and receive one Coronavirus-Related Distribution (CRD) in each calendar month beginning with the month of April 2020 and ending with the month of June 2020. 

 

Amount of Distribution

A Coronavirus-Related Distribution (CRD) for a calendar month cannot be more than $10,000 (or the balance of your Account if less).  The minimum amount is $500.

A Coronavirus-Related Distribution(CRD) may be made from your account regardless of when employer contributions were credited to your Account.  This includes amounts attributable to the employer contributions made on your behalf this year and in the two preceding years.

Please click here to download the application 

 

Notarization of Savings Withdrawal Applications (04-13-2020)

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, some members are reluctant to travel to or are having difficulty getting access to a notary.

To adapt for this current situation, after consultation with Legal Counsel, attached is a form that the Annuity/Savings Plan will accept while the current situation continues.

NOTE THAT THIS DOCUMENT REQUIRES SUBMISSION OF A GOVERNMENT ID, PA DRIVERS LICENSE WOULD WORK, FOR THE PARTICIPANT, SPOUSE AND BOTH WITNESSES.

Click here to access and download the form

 

Withdrawal Provisions of the Greater Pennsylvania Carpenters’ Annuity and Savings Fund (04-09-2020)

 

Recently, because some of the Annuity/Savings Plans under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters modified their withdrawal provisions, there may be some uncertainty over the withdrawal provisions under the Greater Pennsylvania Carpenters’ Annuity and Savings Fund (GPCASF).  The withdrawal provisions under the GPCASF have been and remain some of the most liberal when compared to similar 401(a) plans.  Keep in mind that the GPCASF is a defined contribution plan, and its primary purpose is to supplement one’s monthly defined benefit pension at retirement. Still, there are provisions for making withdrawals prior to retirement.  To provide some perspective, contributions to the GPCASF in 2019 were $58.8 million and 4,631 people withdrew $40.4 million. A summary of the withdrawal provisions follows.

 

There is an annual “option” withdrawal allowing participants to withdraw contributions that have been held in the GPCASF for two years. Under the option withdrawal, on December 1, 2019, 8,748 participants were eligible to withdraw their 2017 contributions and the earnings on those contributions. Of those 8,748 eligible participants, 2,003 participants elected the option withdrawing a total of $11.9 million.

 

In addition, there are two types of financial hardship withdrawals:

 

  • A participant may withdraw “old money” held in the GPCASF for two or more years in any amount necessary to meet the basic shelter and care of the participant and the participant’s family. This requires only that the participant complete an application and provide documentation of what the withdrawal will be used for.

 

  • For “new money” held in the GPCASF for less than two years, the GPCASF follows IRS safe harbor withdrawal provisions which allow withdrawals for six specific reasons. You can call the Fund Office if you want more information.

 

The GPCASF also provides for retirement and termination distributions. Retirees have total access to their accounts and many elect to receive monthly distributions. Termination distributions from accounts are available to participants who have been inactive in the trade for six months, and they also have total access to their accounts. Travelers can reciprocate their contributions to their home fund or withdraw their GPCASF balances under the retirement, termination, and withdrawal provisions.

 

And so, at this point, who does not have access to their accounts? There is still an issue with the group of plan participants who have already withdrawn their “old money” or do not have any “old money”, who do not meet one of the six safe harbor reasons for a withdrawal of “new money,” and who have not been inactive in the trade for six months.  What are we trying to do for this group? We currently have legal counsel analyzing this matter and then there will be a plan presented to the Board of Trustees. Initial thoughts are that this can be addressed as an “in-service withdrawal” rather than a termination distribution. In particular, the recently enacted CARES Act specifically provides for a “coronavirus-related distribution” that may be made to a “qualified individual” during 2020 as a temporary measure to deal with the current circumstances. A “qualified individual” includes a participant who experiences adverse financial consequences resulting from a reduction in work because of the coronavirus. This will likely require a new withdrawal application and coordination with the Newport Group, the recordkeeper for the GPCASF, on administrative processes.

 

There also seems to be some questions on the additional 10% early distribution tax. With some exceptions, federal income tax, including the 10% early distribution tax is imposed by the IRS on withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½. The CARES Act allows individuals to receive a coronavirus-related distribution, of up to $100,000 without incurring the 10% early distribution tax if the distribution is made in 2020 to a “qualified individual”. A coronavirus-related distribution is not an eligible rollover distribution and thus is not subject to the mandatory 20% federal tax withholding.  It can be included in federal taxable income all at once or over a three-year period. How any withdrawal in 2020 is treated on someone’s tax return will be a matter that the individual decides with his tax preparer.  These will not be determinations made by the Fund Office.

 

We are moving forward as fast as possible to decide on our best approach and to coordinate with all those we need to coordinate with.  Still, even today, many members already have access to their accounts.  Should you have any questions on where you stand with your account or to request a withdrawal application, please call the Fund Office.  We will keep you informed as we move forward.

Medical Plan Amendment (04-02-2020)

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and hardships facing our members, the Greater Pennsylvania Carpenters’ Medical Plan is being amended as follows: 

  • Active members who are eligible in the Plan on April 1, 2020 will receive coverage at no charge for the benefit quarter of July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020.  This credit will give our active eligible members the same level of coverage as they have April 1, 2020. 
  • Our quarterly bank charges, effective with the quarter starting October 1, 2020, will be reduced by 10%.  The rates per quarter will $1,925 for core, $2,660 for standard and $3,580 for premium coverage.  These lower rates will stay in effect until further notice. 
  • Our dollar bank maximum, currently $18,000, will be increased to $20,000 effective January 1, 2021 and $22,000 effective January 1, 2022. 

We certainly hope that this pandemic ends soon.  Be assured that the Trustees of the Plan will continue to evaluate the situation as time goes on.