The United Scenic Artists Pension Fund is governed by a Board of Trustees made up, currently, of four trustees appointed by the Union, plus four trustees appointed by various employers. The Fund operates on employer contributions made on behalf of individuals working under a Union contract. The contract language determines the amount contributed. It’s important to note that the employer contribution is a requirement of the contract in effect, and that the contribution does not belong to the individual doing the work. For the employer, the contribution is part of the price of doing business. Also important to note is the fact that, under federal law, only an employer can make a contribution to the Fund on behalf of an individual. The Fund can only accept a contribution from an employer if there is a signed and approved contract in effect and if the named individual is identified by a Social Security number. The Fund Management staff keeps track of all contributions so that eligibility and benefit levels are properly determined.


The Local USA 829 Pension Fund is a “defined benefit” fund. A person who becomes “vested” by accruing 5 or more Vesting Service Years will receive a pension when they reach retirement age. The pension amount will be guaranteed for as long as you live. The actual amount of your pension is calculated with a combination of years of service credits and an additional percentage multiplier based on every dollar that goes into the Fund on your behalf during qualifying years. Thus the more you work under a USA 829 agreement, the higher your eventual pension will be. This may seem to be in the distant future, but it’s never too early to think about securing your retirement.

An individual’s monthly pension benefit is determined by multiplying their “Pension Credits” times $14.00 and then adding a percentage (2.67% as of January, 2011) of all the contributions made on their behalf to the Pension Fund over the course of their participation. An individual must first become “vested” in the Pension Fund. Once you have accumulated 5 years of Vesting Service, you will not lose them, because you are “vested.” You may collect a pension at age 65 with only five years of Vesting Service. 

It is possible to lose your Vesting Service, however. If you have not accumulated 5 years of Vesting Service and there’s a five-year break in service (i.e. five consecutive years in which you did not earn any vesting credit), you will lose all previously accumulated Vesting Service credits, assuming you are not already vested.

Once a member begins participation in the Pension Fund (by working under a Union contract) they will receive further information from the Fund office. The full Summary Plan Description (SPD) may be downloaded at http://usa829funds.benserconj.com.


As of April 1, 2013, health insurance for members of USA 829 has been provided by the IA National Benefits Fund (or NBF) after having negotiated a merger into the IATSE NBF’s “Plan C”.


All members have a CAPP Account (Contributions Available for Premium Payments) created when they join the Union. The  CAPP Account is a notional account that represents the amount of employer contributions received on a member's behalf for coverage under Plan C. It is maintained by the IA Health and Welfare Fund for the sole purpose of providing the member with the ability to obtain health coverage or reimbursement for qualifying medical expenses. It is not a vested benefit, like the Pension Benefit. Welfare contributions are made by the employers and go into each member’s personal CAPP Account, based on the salary or fee they earning and the benefit rate specified in the contract they are working under. The CAPP Account grows with each contribution made by an employer, and costs for coverage are deducted from the member's CAPP Account quarterly. The contributions to a CAPP Account never expire, but continue to roll forward from quarter to quarter, increasing with each employer contribution. Eventually, a member has enough money in their CAPP Account to be eligible to participate in the Welfare Fund.

Once a member's CAPP account reaches the total of $150 (an Administrative Fee) plus the quarterly cost of mid-level (C-2) single coverage (as of 4/1/14: $1,932) the member is eligible to participate, and they MUST choose a coverage option. Thus the magic number for participation as of 4/1/14 is $2,082 employer contributions into a CAPP account. Once that amount is reached or exceed by a member, participation in the Health & Welfare Fund, Plan C, begins. At that point, the IA NBF will send the member full and complete documentation about the Funds, about the benefits provided at various levels of coverage, and about the costs for the various coverage levels. The costs of welfare coverage for the level chosen are deducted from the member's CAPP account each quarter. Note that if there isn’t enough money in a CAPP Account to cover any quarter’s premium, the member must pay the difference via direct co-payment to the NBF. Also note that if, after a member has passed the current eligibility threshold, they do not choose a level of coverage, they will be automatically be enrolled in the mid-level, C-2 Single plan, and they won’t be able to change that until the next annual open enrollment period, in December/January.

Some of the benefits provided by the National Health & Welfare Fund, Plan C, include:

  • Hospital and Medical Coverage for the member and their covered dependents through Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield.
  • Prescription Drug benefits for the member and their covered dependents through CVS Caremark.
  • Dental Benefits for the member and their covered dependents through Delta Dental or, if they live in New York, through Administrative Services Only, Inc./Self-Insured Dental Services (ASO/SIDS).
  • Vision Services for the member and their covered dependents through Davis Vision.
  • A Medical Reimbursement Program for certain unreimbursed medical expenses incurred by the member and their covered dependents.
  • Life Insurance for the member through the United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York (“AIG/US Life”)
  • A Retiree Health Benefit Plan for the member and their spouse if they meet the eligibility requirements.


Under National Plan C, there are 5 benefit options:

  • Plan C-1 (Single or Family coverage) which provides the highest level of in-network and out-of-network coverage, at the highest cost.
  • Plan C-2 (Single or Family coverage) which provides in-network and out-of-network coverage at a lower cost than Plan C-1. Plan C-2 is closest to the former USA 829 Welfare plan.
  • Plan C-3 (Single or Family coverage) which provides only in-network coverage at a lower cost than Plan C-1 or Plan C-2.
  • New Plan C-4, which will be available as Single or Family coverage, as a high-deductible plan that provides in-network coverage only, at a lower cost than Plans C-1, C-2 or C-3. Members can elect coverage in Plan C-4 beginning January 1, 2015.
  • Plan C-MRP (Medical Reimbursement Plan) available if a member provides acceptable proof that they have medical coverage from another source—for example from a spouse’s employer, or from a teaching job they may have—and they certify that their other coverage complies with the Affordable Care Act.

Depending on which plan and which option is elected, the quarterly premiums that will be deducted from the member's CAPP account are as follows (as of 10/1/2015):

Plan C-1 Plan C-2 Plan C-3 Plan C-4 MRP
Single Coverage $5,325.00 $2,187.00 $1,371.00 $902.00 N/A
Family Coverage $11,757.00 $3,996.00 $2,457.00 $1,737.00 N/A

Members will be required to self-pay a portion of the cost of coverage if their available employer contributions are insufficient to cover the cost of the coverage chosen. The Fund office will mail out a statement quarterly, indicating a member's CAPP Account balance, their current coverage choice, their coverage options (if applicable) and any self-payment that may be required.

(NOTE: Pension & Welfare benefits, eligibility and contribution requirements are constantly being reviewed and adjusted. All information above is current as of October 1, 2015.  But members are strongly advised to contact the Financial Office, BenSerCo, or the IATSE National Benefit Funds for the most current information. The info above is intended only as a general guideline for non-members, not definitive information!)  


The Funds are an independent entity governed by a Board of Trustees made up of equal numbers of Employer and Union Trustees. There are four (4) Union Pension Fund Trustees, who are members' liaisons to the Fund and are available to members if they have questions or problems regarding any aspect of their benefits that cannot be resolved with BenSerCo. Any of the Union's Pension Trustees can be contacted via e-mail by clicking on their name below:

       Nancy Orr    •    F. Mitchell Dana    •    Cecilia Friederichs    •    Edward Pierce

The Pension Fund is administered by Benserco, Inc. The USA 829 contacts at Benserco are Marylou Gartland and Caroline Gordon

Benserco phone:
Benserco fax: 201-947-9192

Marylou Gartland e-mail: Marylou.Gartland@BensercoNJ.com
Caroline Gordon e-mail: Caroline.Gordon@BensercoNJ.com


For information on the IATSE National Health & Welfare Fund trustees, please visit:



IATSE National Benefit Funds phone: 800-456-FUND (3863)
IATSE National Benefits Funds e-mail: psc@iatsenbf.org 



The 401(k) Retirement Plan provides deferred income retirement savings through a combination of participant and/or employer contributions. Not all agreements provide for 401(k) participation or a matching employer contribution.

Upon initial enrollment with the 401(k) Plan, the participant will be sent a packet of information from Vanguard detailing each of their investment options, as well as a PIN number to access Vanguard’s automated system.

The 401(k) Plan is also administered by Benserco, Inc.
Marylou Gartland and Caroline Gordon are also the 401(k) Fund contacts at Benserco.

Benserco phone: 866-798-5733 
Benserco fax: 201-947-9192

Marylou Gartland e-mail: Marylou.Gartland@BensercoNJ.com
Caroline Gordon e-mail: Caroline.Gordon@BensercoNJ.com


Certain, though not all, USA 829 agreements also require an employer to make contributions to the IATSE National Annuity Fund. These funds are invested with Prudential and the participant may self-direct their contributions into the various funds available.

There is much valuable information available at the IATSE Annuity Fund website: