Q: What is the IATSE Emergency Relief Fund?
A: On March 17, 2020, Matthew D. Loeb, international president of the IATSE, announced that the IATSE had created a $2.5 million emergency relief fund to support union members across the United States and Canada who have been impacted by the recent shutdown in production related to the COVID-19 virus. Our local will be covered under the $1.0 million portion of this fund provided to MPTF.
Q: Who will be administering the IATSE Emergency Relief Fund?
A: MPTF (the Motion Picture and Television Fund, www.mptf.com ) will be administering the fund for our local.
Q: How do I qualify for financial assistance from the IATSE Emergency Relief Fund?
A: Given that the aim of the fund is to help IATSE members with the greatest need, there are several key pieces for eligibility. Step one is providing proof of union membership. Once confirmed, we also need to see that you have earned in excess of $6,500 per year for 3 of the last 5 years. Once eligibility status is established, a social worker will work with members to determine their need for financial assistance. Members will need to document that they have less than $10,000 in liquid assets at the time of applying to be eligible for assistance.
Q: Who makes the eligibility determination?
A: MPTF has been designated as the fund administrator for our local and will work with us and the IATSE office on this matter.
Q: Can you describe the application process?
A: The process begins with a call to the MPTF hotline at (323) 634-3888. Members will speak to an MPTF social worker who will assess their eligibility and specific circumstances/needs. Members will be asked to provide proof of union membership. Next, the assigned social worker will confirm that you have earned $6,500 or more for 3 of the past 5 years. Then, the social worker walk the member through the process of applying for financial assistance, which includes the completion of a financial assistance application and providing the following information: current bank statements showing the most recent 30 day transaction history and account balances. If approved, the financial assistance will not go to the member directly but will cover outstanding bills, so MPTF will need a copy of these as well. Members will be notified by their assigned social worker of the determination.
Q: How long will it take from the time I apply and provide all the documentation to the time I am confirmed as eligible and get assistance?
A: This depends on the volume of calls MPTF is experiencing. Current turnaround time is approximately 3 to 5 business days.
Q: What amount of financial assistance might I receive?
A: The IATSE Emergency Relief Fund grants are roughly $1,000. As mentioned above, these grants do not go directly to members but rather to those designated vendors (banks for mortgages or car payments, landlords, utility company, student loans, healthcare providers or insurers) you provide MPTF.
Q: If I am collecting unemployment or receiving any other kind of federal or state relief under recently passed legislation, am I still eligible for this financial assistance from my union?
A: Yes. The IATSE Emergency Relief Fund will supplement any other form of relief its members are receiving as a result of the loss of work from the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, effective immediately, MPI has made changes to the benefits provided you, including permitting a hardship withdrawal from your Individual Account Plan (IAP), a one-time premium waiver of medical premiums for those enrolled in the Active Health Plan, no co-payment or co-insurance for those receiving a telemedicine appointment from LiveHealth Online or Amwell, no out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and early prescription refills. For full information on these benefit changes, please visit the MPIPHP website: www.mpiphp.org or review the attached PDF.
Q: If both members of my household are IATSE members, are we each able to apply for financial assistance from the IATSE Emergency Relief Fund and if eligible will we each receive the full amount of the grant?
A: Yes and yes. All eligible members of IATSE will be considered for this plan individually and grants will be determined and made on an individual basis. If the household shares finances, we will be looking for a bank statement with less than $20,000 to determine financial assistance.
Q: There are other entertainment industry emergency relief programs that have been announced, like those from the Actor’s Fund, Netflix, the Academy, and MPTF. Can I apply to those programs for financial assistance as well?
A: No. Given the anticipated demand for financial support from our union members, we are working with MPTF, the Actors Fund, the Academy, and Netflix to limit the support to individuals right now to a single grant of $1,000. We must do the most good for the most impacted of our brothers and sisters right now.
Q: Is this financial assistance a one-time relief or may I apply again in the future?
A: We cannot answer that definitively right now. This will be determined by the number IATSE members that qualify for the financial assistance under the parameters that have been set and then determine if there is funding for additional relief. Given the uncertainties around the duration of this situation, our advice today would be to assume that it is one-time.