Brothers & Sisters,
As you know, I have been working with the Funds to develop options for you to access your annuity. The Funds work hard to protect and grow your investments. But I understand that these are difficult times and some of you may need to access these assets, and now you have the ability to do that. The following information outlines the details and deadlines. While I consider this a big and helpful step, I’m still working on other questions and concerns you’ve raised. Please remember that I hear you, and I’m here for you. Keep the faith in Local 79 and in me, brothers and sisters. Your union family is not going anywhere. We’ll get through this together.
An Important Message Regarding the New Hardship Distribution Option due to COVID-19 from the Mason Tenders Trust Funds:
The Board of Trustees has adopted a new Annuity Fund hardship withdrawal option to assist participants during this difficult time while they face unforeseen financial consequences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this option, an active (non-retired) participant may apply for a one-time withdrawal of $10,000 from their account (or their entire account balance, if the balance is less than $10,000). Eligible participants may submit an application to the Fund Office at any time from now until June 10, 2020.
Applications may be submitted by mail to the Fund Office at Mason Tenders’ District Council Trust Funds, 520 Eighth Avenue, Suite 600, New York, NY 10018-4196. Participants will be required to complete a certification along with the application. (Here is a link to the application and certification. or you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request that the Fund Office send you the application and certification.) As with all Fund withdrawals, spousal consent will be required if a married participant’s account balance is or at any time was more than $5,000.
This one-time withdrawal will not count toward the Fund’s current limit of one non-educational Hardship Withdrawal per calendar year. Applications received by the Fund Office by April 15th will be processed and paid by early May; applications received between April 16th and May 10th will be processed and paid by early June; and applications received between May 11th and June 10th will be processed and paid by early July. (The Fund Office is doing its best to process all benefit applications in a timely manner during this very difficult time so please be patient if there are delays.)
Note that some of these withdrawals may qualify for certain tax relief under the new federal CARES Act — waiver of the 10% early distribution tax penalty and payment of income taxes on the distribution over a three-year period. Participants should consult their tax advisors for advice regarding the tax consequences of any withdrawal. The Fund does not (and cannot) give tax advice.
As per the usual Fund rules in accordance with federal law, participants (and their spouse, if married) must have their signature notarized in order for their application to be processed. We recognize that some participants may be unable to go to a notary at this time but a number of states (including New York) offer virtual or remote notarization to assist individuals during this time. (This link may be helpful in that regard: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/06/remote-notarization-what-you-need-to-know.) The availability of virtual notarization should be of great assistance to members who need it.