Over the years, ICSOM Delegates’ proactive questions about the status of the American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-EPF or the Fund) led to numerous informational updates and presentations at annual ICSOM Conferences. The Players Conferences successfully led the charge to increase the number of rank-and-file Union Trustees to three working musicians, two of whom were ICSOM Officers when appointed in August 2010 by AFM President Ray Hair.
Since last year’s ICSOM Conference, when Union Trustees Brian Rood and Martha Hyde joined me to speak about the Fund, Trustees on the Communications Committee have been focused on finding new ways to educate Participants and make Fund information more accessible. This began by reworking our initial 2021 ICSOM presentation, first by cleaning up the video presentation, and later by breaking it into smaller segments presented by additional Union Trustees.
This project has produced nine videos covering the following topics: What is the AFM-EPF, How is the Plan Governed, How Does the Money Flow, What Does the Fund Office Do, How Does the Pension Estimator Work, How Can You Protect Your Loved Ones, How Do you Navigate the Application Process, What’s Happening with ARPA, and The Benefits of Diversification. These videos are available to the public on the Fund’s website by clicking on the Participants icon.
In addition, questions and issues raised at the ICSOM Conference, such as the impact of a divorce when applying for a pension, and new ones like the recent beneficiary designation form change that no longer requires a notary and for registered Participants, no longer requires a signature if submitted through the Participants portal. Information about the enhancements to complete a Pre-retirement Death Beneficiary form will be included in Pension Fund Notes coming your way shortly.
The Fund’s website currently includes Did You Know information one-pagers, Tip Sheets, and videos that cover topics and information on The Role of a Trustee, What to Do if You Get Divorced, You Need to Designate a Beneficiary, When to Contact the Fund Office, Optional Forms of Payment, When Retirement is Down the Road, Starting Your Benefit, How to Register for the AFM-EPF Website, and information about the Pension Estimator, which now offers benefit estimates up to age 72. More topics are in the works so if there are particular topics you’d like to know more about, please let us know.
Once you open the AFM-EPF website, click on “Participants” to find these materials. You will find four boxes titled: How Our Pension Plan Works, Life Happens, Retirement is Down the Road, and Retirement is Around the Corner. By clicking on each of the downward arrows under each header you will see the information links. And of course, if you are registered, log in to confirm your beneficiary designee(s) on file at the Fund office, use the pension estimator, view your covered wages and contributions, and more. Trustees believe that the wider availability of these documents and videos will help participants find information they need, when they need it. Visit www.afm-epf.org and check it out.
Please speak with any of the Union Trustees in attendance at the Conference in Grand Rapids, MI this summer if you have any questions or suggestions.