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.

Rent relief Update

LA County’s Rent Relief program is open for applications. It is for low-income LA county – NOT CITY – residents. Starting August 17, 2020, residents can apply for assistance by contacting 211 L.A. via phone at 2-1-1 or through their website at 211la.org/lacounty/rentrelief. To be considered for this program, applications must be received August 31, 2020.  A list of Frequently Asked Questions with more program detail and additional resources for residents is available at rentrelief.lacda.org.

Returning to Work

As discussions continue on how to return to work safely, please take a look at some reports shared by the unions and producers that start charting a path towards this goal. 

The DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters, and the Basic Crafts Announce COVID-19 Testing and Protocols Adopted with the AMPTP to Allow Production to Resume Safely

A summary of the COVID-19 Testing and Protocols can be found here. The full text of the agreement can be found here.

The Safe Way Forward: A Joint Report of the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters’ Committees for COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

AMPTP Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force: Proposed Health and Safety Guidelines for Motion Picture, Television, and Streaming Productions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Safe Practices

Many studios have started the process of reaching out to their employees to determine needs and identify ways to support a gradual return to working onsite. IATSE C.A.R.E.S has released a COVID Tip Sheet to reinforce ways everyone can contribute to a safer work environment.

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. The Animation Guild is here to support the health and wellbeing of all our members, our families, and our community as a whole. Check out our Mental Health & Social Distancing page devoted to the subject.

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

Special Eligibility Hours Extension

The Board of Directors of the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan (MPIHP) have voted to grant hours to participants who were hardest hit by the COVID-19 production shutdown and are going to lose eligibility for health benefits. For more information on requesting credit extensions click here or contact MPI at service@mpiphp.org.

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 Withdrawal

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 (one-time application window is between May 1, 2020 and July 31, 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.

More information is available at MPIPHP.

Withdrawal Provisions for the TAG 401K plan

In an effort to provide financial support for participants of our 401k plan who may need it, the Trustees unanimously approved enacting new hardship withdrawal provisions. Learn more about the provisions here.

Motion Picture Television Fund

As part of the IATSE Emergency Relief Fund donations that were made, the Motion Picture Television Fund was designated as the organization to assist Animation Guild members in financial need. If you are in need of financial assistance and would like to apply, please read the IATSE Emergency Relief Fund FAQ  first then click on the link below. 

Motion Picture Television Fund

Unemployment Insurance

Did you lose your job because of COVID-19? Are currently unemployed and having a difficult time finding work? Are you unable to work because you have young children at home and no childcare? Are you sick with COVID-19 and do not have enough paid sick leave? There are several resources available to you. Click here to learn more.

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 →

LAAFA

LAAFA has put together several affordable short session LIVE workshops for $49 where you can chat with the instructors in real-time. You may also take advantage of a variety of on-demand and unlimited access self-study courses at Artschoolvideo.com starting at $29. TAG members receive a 15% discount.  Please use this code during check out: TAGASV15. Expires 5/15/2020. Additionally, a limited set of FREE on-demand video lessons are available on Artschoolvideos.com.

Do you have any questions?

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