COVID-19 Resource Page

The safety and wellbeing of the animation community is a top priority. We have been actively reviewing California state, federal and global recommendations as we navigate this unprecedented situation. We recognize that many members may have questions and concerns and we’d like to address some of the most pressing issues. We will update this page as we receive new information.

Read our recent news post on enhanced state benefits, closures and more.

Are you working from home?

We would like to understand how you and your studio are managing he process, the expectations, efficiency, etc. Please take 5 minutes and fill out our Work From Home survey.

Mental Health & Social Distancing

The current climate of unease and unpredictability along with a need for social distancing and solitude can be a difficult combination both emotionally and mentally. Fortunately, MPI has resources that can allow you to get help online. Optum’s website—liveandworkwell.comwith Access Code MPIPHP offers online therapy through the TalkSpace App. You can read more about OPTUM services here.

Kaiser Permanente offers digital emotional wellness tools through myStrength – call to learn more about other therapy options. Health Net offers personalized wellness coaching – Certified coaches are available over the phone or via instant messaging or email to answer questions.

Telemedicine and MPI Updates

MPI is sending updates on health plan benefits, which include:

  • Early prescription refills
  • No out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 diagnostic testing

Medical Premium Waiver

Effective immediately, Participants responsible for paying active health premiums are granted a one-time premium waiver for one eligibility quarter. This waiver will only be extended to Participants enrolled in the Active Health Plan of the Motion Picture Industry Health (MPIHP) on March 1, 2020; the waiver provided is based on the number of dependents enrolled in coverage on March 1, 2020, as well as the Participants’ rate group on March 1, 2020. For health premiums that have already been paid by Participants for an upcoming quarter of coverage, MPIHP will not extend a refund; rather, a credit for health premiums for a future quarter of coverage will be provided. This credit will be applied automatically to all Participants regardless of need.

Telemedicine options

Several of the health plans offered through MPI provide an online telemedicine portal. Participants enrolled in Anthem Blue Cross will no longer be required to pay co-payments or coinsurance during this crisis. Participants may visit with a provider using LiveHealth Online (www.livehealthonline.com).

Participants enrolled in Anthem Medicare Preferred Plan (Medicare Advantage) may use telemedicine for medically necessary visits with their primary care provider or specialist for a $5 co-payment so long as the provider accepts Medicare. LiveHealth Online (www.livehealthonline.com) is also available 24/7 at no co-payment.

Participants enrolled in Kaiser Permanente or the Kaiser Permanente Senior Advantage Plan should call (833) 574-2273 to schedule a telemedicine visit. There will not be a required co-payment to use this benefit.

Participants enrolled in Health Net or the Health Net Seniority Plus Plan may call (800) 835-2362 to use their telemedicine benefit or visit www.Teladoc.com. Participants will not be required to pay a co-payment.

MPI Covid19 update

Financial Support

Many animation studios are currently allowing employees to work from home; however, those who are currently unemployed or looking for work may be struggling during this precarious time. There are some resources to turn to for temporary assistance.

MPI Individual Account Plan Hardship Withdrawl

A hardship withdrawal from the IAP is available to members who are vested in the Individual Account Plan as of December 2019 wherein they can withdraw an elected amount of need of up to 20% of their 2018 IAP account balance not to exceed a maximum dollar limit of $20,000. 

***It is important to recognize that withdrawals from the IAP have been authorized due to the extreme circumstances the industry is facing and that currently employed Animation Guild members are encouraged to evaluate their need to request these withdrawals against the value of growing a safety net for retirement

  • Participants must apply for this special withdrawal between May 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020 and payments must be completed no later than December 31, 2020 to be reported on a 2020 Form 1099-R for tax purposes.
  • The application process for this withdrawal request is as follows:
    • The Participant must complete an IAP Hardship Withdrawal Request form (tentative availability date of May 1, 2020);
    • The Participant must sign an affidavit affirming his or her temporary job loss due to theCOVID-19-related health emergency
    • Payments will be processed in accordance with instructions provided on the IAP Withdrawal Request form.

Note: We will update the site with the required form once it is made available. In the meantime, questions should be directed to MPIPHP.

The Actors Fund

Motion Picture Television Fund

Unemployment Insurance

The California Employee Development Department (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.

COVID-19 Benefits Chart

The new CARES Act is providing additional relief to workers and those who may not normally qualify for unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

The National Employment Law Project help sheet breakdown how to qualify here.

If you are a participant in the Union Plus Mortgage, Credit Card, Personal Loan, or supplemental insurance programs, you may be eligible for additional hardship assistance. Please click here for eligibility requirements.

Take advantage of online training

Spending more time at home can offer an opportunity to take advantage of free and reduced cost skills training. IATSE has expedited processing for LinkedIn Learning and you can take advantage of online classes through EIDO and partners. Learn more.

LinkedIn Learning
Click here to fill out the LinkedIn Learning application online 

LinkedIn Learning is a self-guided learning platform with over 15,000 online courses on all types of topics and software. Free LinkedIn Learning Subscriptions are available to active IATSE members and those working under an IATSE agreement. Click here to learn more about LinkedIn Learning →

Online 5 Star Training with EIDO

EIDO has set up virtual classrooms to promote online learning. Courses include Live Online Color & Composition, Sketch Up and more. You may be eligible for free classes – click here for more information on eligibility. Check out the course calendar.

Do you have any questions?

Send an email to membership@tag839.org or contact Field Rep Leslie Simmons or Business Rep Steve Kaplan.