Life Events

Important Note:
Notwithstanding any information in these Life Events pages or embedded links, for retirements that are first in pay status on or after April 1, 2017, certain Defined Benefit Plan provisions are scheduled to change in accordance with the adoption of Alternative Schedules 1 or 2 under the Second Critical Status Rehabilitation Plan.

Unemployment

An involuntary reduction in work always constitutes a serious issue. If the decrease in workload pertains to a disability or a workers' compensation claim, you may wish to read the Temporary or Permanent Disability Life Events pages on this website. If, on the other hand, unemployment is due to other factors, such as being laid off, you will need to plan accordingly. You will want to review your benefit plans as soon as possible to note how this reduction in work will affect your Pension and Health status.

Plan Checklist

Items regarding the Health Plans apply only to participants in the Southern California IBEW-NECA Health Plans. However, if you participate in another electrician health plan, it is likely that similar considerations will apply.

  • You may be eligible for Supplemental Unemployment Benefits if you meet certain eligibility requirements.
  • If your reduction in work results in insufficient hours (less than 100/125 per month) to maintain continuing coverage and after you have exhausted your hour bank, under most circumstances you may elect to self-pay on a monthly basis to stay covered under the continuing coverage provision for up to 18 months. You may be eligible for a subsidized COBRA rate for the first three months of COBRA coverage.
  • If your reduction in work was due to a disability, please review the Life Events sections on Permanent and Temporary Disability.
  • If you think that your reduction in work may cause you to leave the industry entirely, you may want to look at the Life Event page covering that topic for additional considerations.

Also Consider...

Planning Notes:

The first thing to do is apply for Unemployment Insurance. If you delay, you can potentially lose weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.

Next, you should review the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit ("SUB") Plan to see if you may be eligible for any additional benefit.

Be careful about maintaining your psychological and physical health during your period of unemployment. Make sure you get the support of your family and friends.

Don't use your credit cards unless you absolutely have to. Until you are re-employed, you may become unable to make the monthly payments. The added worries of accumulated debt or bad credit will make it harder for you to concentrate on getting another job.

You can contact your creditors such as credit card companies and banks and let them know your situation. Some of them may arrange with you for reduced payments for some period of time while you are looking for work.

If you have any retirement savings in 401k or IRA accounts, resist the temptation to access them while you are unemployed. There are severe tax penalties which may apply if you withdraw funds from these accounts before you reach the designated age.