Pension payment options

Learn more about the AFTRA Retirement Plan with the following Frequently Asked Questions and answers.

Pension payment options

  • Q. What different payment options are available, and how do I know which one is best for me?

    A. The AFTRA Retirement Plan offers two standard annuities and six optional annuities, which provide you with a choice of different ways to receive your pension payments. A pension analysis can help you decide which option best meets your specific needs. For more information, review descriptions of the available annuities and refer to the current Retirement Fund Summary Plan Description and any subsequent Benefits Updates for complete details. 
  • Q. Why does my spouse need to waive her rights to my pension before I can name another beneficiary?

    A. Federal regulations require it. It protects the rights of the spouse of the pensioner.
  • Q. What is a pension analysis, and how often can I ask for one?

    A. A pension analysis includes benefit projections that allow you to compare your monthly pension amounts payable under the different available annuities. You can request a pension analysis at any time (and as often as you like) by completing and submitting a Request for Pension Analysis Form or calling a Participant Services counselor at (800) 562-4690. It is recommended that you request a current pension analysis within three months of the date you plan to retire.
  • Q. What is a lump sum payment, and how do I know if I’m entitled to one?

    A. In the past, Retirement Accounts were offered as an alternative to the annuities, but this option was discontinued after Nov. 30, 1989, and all active Retirement Accounts were frozen on that date. If you performed AFTRA-covered work prior to Feb. 1, 1972 (or covered work as a dancer before Nov. 30, 1989), you may qualify for a lump sum payment of an adjusted balance in a Retirement Account (based upon your earnings through Nov. 30, 1989). The current Retirement Plan does not generally provide for lump sum payments. If you think you may be eligible to receive a lump sum, confirm by calling Participant Services at (800) 562-4690.
  • Q. If I have a balance in a Retirement Account and therefore am eligible to receive a lump sum payment, can I receive the lump sum in installments?

    A. No, but you do have options if you qualify for the lump sum payment and choose to take it:

    • You may accept the entire adjusted balance in your discontinued Retirement Account as a lump sum.
    • You may roll all or a portion of the lump sum payment into another qualified retirement plan, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
    • Or in addition to the lump sum payment, you may also receive supplemental monthly payments under one of the two Standard Annuities for any Covered Earnings after November 30, 1989, if applicable. However, because you elected to take the lump sum payment, your monthly annuity amount will be lower than if you had taken your entire pension under one of the Standard Annuities.
  • Q. What does "required minimum distribution" mean?

    A. This is the portion of a Retirement Account lump sum that is not eligible for rollover and will be paid directly to the participant subject to 10% federal tax, unless the participant elects to have no taxes withheld. The remainder of the Retirement Account lump sum will be taxable unless the participant rolls over the payment into an IRA or other qualified plan. The required minimum distribution is not an AFTRA Retirement Fund feature, but rather a federal requirement.