This page will be updated continuously as new information arrives
I N D E X
Health - Health Insurance
$2.2 Trillion Congressional CARES Act
Financial Aid - Other Membership Assistance
Employment - Unemployment - Free Training
Info from Studios - Misc
HEALTH & HEALTH INSURANCE
Latest Health Information can be found at:
State of California COVID-19 Info Page
Info about Health, Unemployment, Relief Resources, Education, Housing, Taxes and a lot more.
Update from the Business Representative:
New MPI Eligibility Provision
The Directors of the MPI health plan have approved an additional step to provide relief for IATSE members currently covered by MPI health insurance. At this moment, most of our members are either qualified or are not approaching a qualifying period deadline, so those members would not be in danger of losing coverage at this time. That's why the action taken today by MPI is specifically directed to provide relief to those members who are currently covered but haven't reached 400 hours yet and whose qualifying period ends in just 2 weeks, on April 25th.
For those members with the April 25th deadline, for whom current insurance coverage would have ended on June 30th, and who have at least a total of 100 worked and banked hours, MPI will credit you up to 300 hours in order to assure continued health coverage for the next period, running July 1st through December 31st. However, no hours will be added to your Bank of Hours.
This action being taken now is intended to address the immediate needs of members who would otherwise be only 2 weeks away from losing coverage in July. It gives MPI time to access changing health conditions as well as projections about when the work will resume. These MPI relief measures are being taken in steps, with today's announcement focusing mainly on the immediate qualifying deadline. More than likely, further action will be taken by MPI in the coming months as the landscape continues to change.
If you are on the borderline of qualifying for this relief or have any other questions, contact us at [email protected]
And please Stay Safe.
IATSE Local 695
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL SICK?
MPIPHP advises Participants to seek medical care if they develop symptoms of the COVID-19 virus (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath) especially if they have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19. While sick, do everything you can to avoid contact with people. MPI Participants are reminded of their telemedicine benefit which allows you to visit with a physician by phone at (888) 548-3632 or online by computer, smartphone or tablet at www.livehealthonline.com. It should not be used if emergency help is needed.
If you have a Fever. Dry Cough. or Shortness of Breath, see your doctor but call the Doctor’s first office before going in.
24/7 TELEMEDICINE NOW WITH ZERO CO-PAY
Participants of the health plans may visit with a physician by phone or by computer, smartphone or tablet. It should not be used if acute emergency help is needed. The $20 copay has now been waived and participants will not be required to pay additional coinsurance.
-- MPIHP/Anthem Blue CrossMedicare Preferred Plan - LiveHealth Online - www.livehealthonline.com
-- HealthNet - Teladoc - https://member.teladoc.com/hn or (800) 835-2362
-- Kaiser Permanente - https://k-p.li/2UpTLZC or (833) 574-2273
-- Oxford Health Plans - Amwell - https://amwell.com/cm/
IF YOU ARE NOT CURRENTLY COVERED BY MPI...
COVID-19 is now a qualifying event to get Covered California insurance plans. No, you do not have to have the virus to qualify. Special open enrollment has opened up because of the threat of getting the disease and being uninsured. Get more information here:
The Behind the Scenes Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative, in partnership with HelpPRO, has launched the Entertainment Industry Therapist Finder, with listings for mental health professionals who have previously worked with clients in the entertainment industry or who have personal professional experience in the industry themselves.
Users can search for a therapist using a simple search form which includes location, insurance accepted, geographic region, and therapist availability (see clients remotely, on nights, weekends.) Advanced search is available which covers theoretical approaches, credentials, etc.
The Entertainment Industry Therapist Finder has been developed in response to an industry survey conducted last fall. The results revealed just how prevalent the problem of finding therapists who understand something about the unique culture and stresses of the entertainment industry is. Many respondents expressed frustration with therapists who consistently made suggestions that were unrealistic given the long working hours and employment challenges so many in our industry face. They also expressed the difficulty of scheduling appointments with therapists who kept only 9 to 5 office hours.
If you know of a therapist with the required experience, please tell them about the finder and ask them to register at https://bit.ly/2VLnyf4 or email their contact info to [email protected].
The Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative form Behind the Scenes offers links to resources, the online self-assessment tool, and information about the initiative and programs at https://bit.ly/2RUGmHF
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Optum Behavioral Health Virtual Visits
Participants can use secure video-enabled and telephone virtual visits
Optum Free Emotional Support Help, Tools & Resource:
Free emotional support help line for all people impacted by COVID-19. This will provide those affected access to specially trained mental health specialists. The company’s public toll-free help line number, (866) 342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as necessary. This service is free of charge and open to anyone.
TO ACCESS SERVICES ON THE OPTUM WEBSITE...
Log on to www.liveandworkwell.com using “MPI” as your “Guest Access Code” and then select “Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plans” from the drop down menu.
4/13/2020 - Summary of New Benefits to Date - See new benefits
4/10/2020 - New Benefits - Up to 300 will be applied to currently enrolled members of the Plan with a 4/25/2020 qualification deadline. See details and a complete list of all newly added benefits to date.
3/27/2020 - New Benefits - Participants enrolled/eligible in Active Health Plan on 3/1/20 will get a one-time premium waiver based on number of dependents enrolled. Waiver and credit will be applied automatically. For premiums already paid, instead of a refund, a credit will be applied. For questions, email [email protected]
3/25/2020 - New Benefits - Click here
3/20/2020 - New Benefits - Click here
3/17/2020 - New Benefits - Click here
3/10/2020 - New Benefits - The Motion Picture Industry Health Plan (MPIHP) has announced that Coronavirus COVID-19 diagnostic tests will be covered by each of the health plans. See the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3cMqmjE
Information about which clinics are still open, Telemecine and more.
BACK TO TOP
$2.2 TRILLION CONGRESSIONAL CARES ACT
The CARES Act
On 3/27, Congress passed the “CARES” Act, providing immediate economic relief for Americans impacted by COVID-19.
Here are notable benefits that will provide help to Entertainment Workers:
- Increased maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week through July 31
- Extended unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) extends unemployment benefits to those who otherwise would not qualify, including the self-employed and independent contractors
- A direct $1,200 payment to heads of households earning up to $112,500 or other individuals earning up to $75,000 per year
- A direct $2,400 payment to married couples earning up to $150,000 per year
- A direct $500 for each child under 16
- Increased funding by $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $75 million for the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities
- Increased funding by $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
- Established grants and forgivable loans for small businesses and non-profits so that they can continue to run
HOW DOES THIS EFFECT ME AND HOW DO I GET THE MONEY?
SMALL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
SBA has 2 programs designed to provide financial assistance loans that can be sometimes “forgiven” and that apply to "sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons" including gig economy workers.
- Paycheck Protection Program
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance
We don’t have all the answers about whether this applies to you but it may be that members who do 1099 work or who have an equipment rental business could qualify.
Here's a relevant article in Vox: https://bit.ly/2R8fHGD
Here’s the Paycheck Protection Program: https://bit.ly/2yucUBb
Here’s the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance: https://bit.ly/2UIv1Mp
BACK TO TOP
FINANCIAL AID & OTHER MEMBERSHIP ASSISTANCE
Financial Help and other Assistance
An extensive assortment of resources and assistance programs is available from each of these organizations:
- The Motion Picture Television Fund - www.mptf.com
- Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation www.wrpioneers.org
- Behind the Scenes - wp.behindthescenescharity.org/bts-foundation
- Calif United Way COVID-19 Relief - www.unitedwaysca.org/coviduw
- Actors Fund - https://actorsfund.org/am-i-eligible-help (We’ve been told that requests for financial assistance should be directed to MPTF instead of the Actors Fund, but we’ve also learned that members have in fact received assistance from Actors Fund. Best advice is to apply to both.)
NOTE: Under more normal circumstances, the Actor’s Fund is a strong supporter of Local 695 members in need, but during the current health crisis, the flow of assistance funding is not the same as usual. The IATSE has generously contributed $2.5 million to the Actors Fund and the Motion Picture Television Fund (MPTF), asking the two charities to divide up the responsibilities for distributing funds to IATSE members. IA members in Southern California are asked to please apply to MPTF for help, and the rest of the country will reach out to The Actors Fund. The exceptions in Southern California are Local 600 and Local 33 who should still apply to The Actors Fund.
Moratoriam On LA City Evictions
Information From: The Los Angeles Housing + Community Development Department (HCIDLA)
On March 23rd Mayor Garcetti issued a temporary moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent for tenants who are unable to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. You still have to pay your rent eventually. Tenants will have up to 12 months following the expiration of the local emergency to repay any back rent due.
If a tenant receives a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, they should inform their landlord that they are an Affected Tenant as a result of COVID-19 before the expiration of any Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
Tenants may seek information and assistance from the Los Angeles Housing + Community Development Department (HCIDLA) by calling 866-557-RENT OR 866-557-7368, Monday - Friday, between the hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, or by filing a complaint online at: hcidla.lacity.org/File-a-Complaint.
If You Need Help or Want to Volunteer...
IATSE Coronavirus Active Response and Engagement Service (C.A.R.E.S.)
IATSE C.A.R.E.S. is a new initiative designed to provide support to our most at-risk, elderly, and/or disabled members during the COVID-19 crisis. The new website at https://iatsecares.org will be used to provide information about future Mutual Aid efforts from the IATSE and will lestablish a safe and free delivery system which connects trained and healthy IATSE Young Worker volunteers with older IATSE members in need. Members in need may request supplies, groceries, or whatever else they may need, and another IATSE member will bring it to their doorstep through our volunteer database. If you would like to volunteer, go to https://iatsecares.org/volunteer
The IATSE Emergency Relief Fund for Local 695 Members is Being Managed by MPTF
The IATSE donated $2.5 to support the membership. Funds available for Local 695 members are being administered by the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Read the IATSE Emergency Relief Fund FAQ here
IATSE Disaster Response Committee
The IA’s Disaster Response Committee will be closely following guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control. The International's website at www.iatse.net will serve as a Coronavirus Update Portal for members with the most up-to-date information from health officials, and direct info from the International. Check frequently for updates as events develop and check the IATSE Safety Apps for iOS and Android,as well.
GoFundMe to help your Sisters and Brothers...
Producers, writers and directors have started this GoFundMe "supporting the people behind the camera who bring our stories to life." https://bit.ly/3a15jav
Debt and Monthly Payments
If You Need Credit Card Relief...
Call and ask your credit card company what they could do to help. Usually that’s all it takes. Some will extend the grace period or delay payment due dates, and some will forgive fees or interest or even payments. It doesn’t hurt to ask and usually they’ll give you a decent break.
Rent, mortgage, car loans, utilities and child support. The other bills can wait.
Article in The Washington Post https://wapo.st/2wZOwau
How to Survive Debt
From the National Consumer Law Center - https://library.nclc.org/sd/0102
First Entertainment Credit Union Resources Page
Some of the assistance First Entertainment is providing their members includes: Visa card holders: can request to skip payments, refunds on late fees.
Unsecured/Personal Loans: members can request to defer payments, refunds on late fees... Auto Loans: members can request to defer payments, with payments added to the end of the loan... Mortgages and Home Equity Loans: members can request to defer payments, with payments added to the end of the loan. They have a resource page here https://www.firstent.org/emergency-messaging/links-contacts and more info here https://www.firstent.org/emergency-messaging
BACK TO TOP
EMPLOYMENT - UNEMPLOYMENT - FREE TRAINING
Work search requirement
The EDD is currently waiving the work search requirement for COVID related unemployment claims. However, if you are concerned for any reason and want to make sure you are covered, you may go ahead and put yourself on the Local’s availability list.
EDD 4/14 Webinar Covering Filing Instructions and FAQ’s
Pro bono assistance
"to help entertainment industry workers get their UI benefits and answer application questions and keep them from being rejected over improperly filled-out forms." https://bit.ly/2Xy8i7w
EDD releases a statement on Why It’s Taking So Long and offers Step-by-Step Guidance
U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes Guidance on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 04.05.20
UI and PUC Updates
â€¢ In two weeks (April 28) the special PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) program will be up and running in California. They expect that people will get their checks within 1-2 days of their application.
â€¢ This is the program for people who are self-employed or independent contractors who are out of work due to Covid-19 crisis. It will be a one-stop shop.
â€¢ PUA benefits can cover people unemployed due to Covid-19 from January 27, 2020 to December 21, 2020 . Payments made will be retroactive to the first week of February as long as they can show their inability to work was due to Covid-19.
â€¢ Under PUA, individuals can receive weekly unemployment assistance that may be equivalent to what they would get under UI.
â€¢ They can get the additional $600/week payment for the weeks they were unemployed from March 29 to the end of July
â€¢ See instructions for applying for PUA here https://bit.ly/3eqtKl0
â€¢ UI payments have taken up to 3 weeks because they have had 2.7 million people apply. They have been making one million payments a week.
â€¢ They expect this wait time to lessen because they now have 1,340 new people working on claims.
â€¢ They will have a new call center starting Monday that will operate 7 days a week from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
UNEMPLOYMENT AND DISABILITY INFO
California Unemployment Insurance Program
Good resource for CA employment issues: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/
EDD is encouraging individuals who are unable to work due to exposure to COVID-19 to file a Disability Insurance claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.
If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.
If you apply for Unemployment Insurance...
Some members have have told us that the California Unemployment Insurance (UI) Online Application is difficult to complete because job descriptions are irrelevant to what we do. Local 695 and the California IATSE Council (CIC) have negotiated with them to make changes in Local 695's job classifications and make this process easier for you. We also have a step-by-step presentation of how 695 members can apply online for CA UI with a page on job classifications to help you determine which one applies to you. Click to see PDF instructions
More Employment Resources
FREE ONLINE TRAINING
Free training covers Audio and Music recording, Video editing and effects, 3D Graphics and Animation, Graphic Design, Business Management, Computer Networking, Website / App / Game Development, Negotiating, Safety in the Workplace, Time Management, Conflict Resolution, Business Writing and much much more. Free for 695 members. See all free training opportunities
Supermarkets are hiring
Many supermarkets and warehouse facilities stores are taking steps to add temporary staffing to fill need. We’ve received info presenting leads to temporary Part-Time positionscurrently available at community supermarkets... jobs that Teamsters Joint Council 42 would prefer to extend to card carrying Union AFL-CIO members, such as Local 695 members. If you are available to work and want to help out, see these links to websites for LA area job opportunities.
BACK TO TOP
INFO FROM STUDIOS - MISC
Documents and Policy Statements Received from Studios and Health Services
Listed newest to oldest
New Procedures at Contract Services
CSATF is closed to the public but still working remotely to keep critical services operating. Here are new procedures:
â€¢ You can mail roster documentation, letters, paystubs, resumes, etc. to [email protected].
â€¢ Email Employment Verification Letters [email protected].
â€¢ CSATF will be issuing training deadline extensions for in-person courses only. For individuals with online training requirements, those training deadlines still apply.
â€¢ To reduce the amount of paperwork passed between individuals, Contract Services will suspend its processing of Forms I-9 beginning April 1, 2020.
Crowd-sourced Guide to Los Angeles-area Resources
This continuously updated list if local services includes government benefits, worker/housing/low-income resources, entertainment, best practices, etc. See it here https://bit.ly/38Yf60w
BACK TO TOP