When and how to apply for your pension

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

When and how to apply for your pension

  • Q. When can AFTRA-covered performers begin receiving their pension benefits?

    A. If you’re a vested AFTRA-covered participant, you can begin receiving your pension benefits as early as age 55, or even sooner if you are disabled. However, if you choose to receive your pension before the normal retirement age of 65, your monthly annuity payment will be reduced. The Retirement Plan states that you can’t begin receiving your pension earlier than age 65 unless you are retired, meaning that you can’t be under contract or receiving a salary for AFTRA-covered work. All vested Retirement Plan participants must begin receiving their pension payments no later than April 1 of the year following the year they attain age 70½.
  • Q. Why do I have to take my pension no later than the April 1 following the year I turned age 70½?

    A. This is a federal regulation requirement. The AFTRA Retirement Fund will send you a notification at the proper time. Please make sure your mailing address is up to date with the Fund. Failure to receive these benefits at that time may expose you to adverse tax consequences. Please consult with your financial advisor on this matter if you choose not to apply.
  • Q. How is my pension affected if I retire earlier than 65?

    A. If you begin receiving your pension before turning 65, your monthly annuity payment will be reduced by 6% for every year that you are younger than age 65 (½ percent for each month). While taking your pension earlier is an option, you will maximize your benefits by waiting until age 65 to begin receiving your pension.  
  • Q. If I take early retirement, once I reach 65, will my monthly payment increase to the amount I would have received if I had waited?

    A. No. If you begin receiving your pension before turning 65, your monthly annuity payment will remain at the reduced amount. 
  • Q. How do I apply for my pension?

    A. Call a Participant Services counselor at (800) 562-4690 to request a pension analysis at least three months before you plan to begin receiving your pension. A detailed benefit projection of all available options and a Pension Application will then be mailed to you. It is important to review all the documents and discuss your options with a financial adviser. Once you have chosen an option, submit the completed application to begin receiving pension benefits.

    To ensure your pension benefits are computed accurately, you are required to provide proof of age for yourself, as well as your beneficiary.  If you are married, a copy of your marriage certificate must be submitted.  Please note if your marital status differs from what we have on file, you will be required to provide us with proof of your current status.  This may entail submitting a marriage certificate, divorce decree or Qualified Domestic Relations Order.  If you would like to verify the marital status we have on file for you, please contact a Participant Services counselor.
  • Q. Why Can't I find the pension application form online

    A:  Since it is critical that you request a pension estimate and review all options available to you before you apply to begin receiving your pension benefit, the Pension Application Form is only mailed to participants who call Participant Service at (800) 562-4690 to request an application.  This ensures that you will have an opportunity to review all available options to help ensure the smoothest transition possible into retirement.