For Participants > FAQ

Below are the answers to our Participants' most frequently asked questions. If you do not find the answer to your question below please refer to our download page, or contact us with your question.

General Questions: Health & Welfare Questions: Retirement Fund Questions: Vacation Fund Questions: Q: How do I change my address?

A: The Trust Fund Office requires all address changes to have the Participant’s signature and UBC or ID Number.  You may complete a Change of Address Form or submit a change in writing.  Signed address changes are accepted via mail to PO Box 2380, Oakland, CA 94621, via fax to (510) 633-0215, and via email to
benefitservices@carpenterfunds.com.

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Q: How do I request a duplicate Quarterly Statement?

A: To request a duplicate of your most recent Quarterly Statement you can:
Call Benefit Services at (888) 547-2054 (Toll free) or (510) 633-0333 (Local),
Write to: Carpenter Funds Administrative Office, PO Box 2380, Oakland, CA  94621,
Fax a request to: (510) 633-0215, or
Email a request to: benefitservices@carpenterfunds.com.

Please make sure your address is current with the Fund Office before you request a statement.  We cannot mail you a copy of your statement if we have a bad address on file for you.

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Q: A Participant, their beneficiary, or one of their dependents has passed away. How do I find out about what survivor benefits are available?

A: We offer our sincerest condolences if you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one.  If the Participant has passed away, please submit a photocopy of the Certified Death Certificate.  Once we have received it, information regarding any benefits available will be mailed to the beneficiary.

Annuity, Pension and 401(k) Plan benefits are paid to the Surviving Spouse, if any.  If there is no Surviving Spouse, any available benefits are paid to the last named beneficiary on file at the Trust Fund Office.  Vacation and life insurance benefits are also paid to the named beneficiary.

If a Spouse or dependent child passes away, notify the Trust Fund Office so any necessary adjustments can be made to your record.  Also, life insurance benefits, depending on the Participant’s current eligibility status under the Health and Welfare Plan, may be payable if your Spouse or dependent child has passed away.

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Q: How do I change carriers?

A: You may change carriers by completing an Enrollment Form and submitting it to the Trust Fund.  Note: You must have been in your current plan for at least 12 months.  Also, a lag month applies to the effective date of your new plan.  For example, if you request a carrier change in February, your new choice will be effective April 1st. If you are changing to an HMO carrier you must reside within that carrier’s coverage area.

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Q: Who can be covered as a Dependent on my health insurance?

A: Dependent coverage is available to your Spouse, Domestic Partner and children. Adding Dependents requires the completion of a new Enrollment Form and submission of required documentation.

  • To add a Spouse: Complete an Enrollment Form and submit a copy of your certified marriage certificate.
  • To add a Domestic Partner: Complete an Enrollment Form and a submit a complete Domestic Partner Packet.
  • To add a child age 18 or younger: Complete an Enrollment Form and submit a copy of the certified birth certificate. This option is available for your natural, adopted, and stepchildren, your Domestic Partner's children, and children for who you are the legal guardian.
  • To add a child age 19 through 25: Complete an Enrollment Form and submit a copy of the certified birth certificate (if it's not already on file). This option is available only for natural, adopted and stepchildren who do not have access to coverage through their own employer, spouse's employer, or domestic partner's employer. Children age 19-22 who do not qualify for coverage as an Adult Child may qualify for coverage if they are enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited institution. Documentation is required for your dependent to be covered as a full-time student.
  • Coverage is available to dependent children older than age 19 that are prevented from earning a living because of a mental or physical handicap, provided the disabled child was handicapped and eligible as a Dependent at the time he or she reached the Limiting Age of 23.

Except when adding a Domestic Partner and his or her dependent children, there is no additional charge for an Active Participant to add an eligible dependent.

Retirees will be subject to an increased premium when adding dependents to their coverage.

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Q: Am I currently eligible for health coverage?

A: If you want to know if you are currently eligible for Health and Welfare benefits contact the Trust Fund Office at (888) 547-2054 (Toll free) or (510) 633-0333 (Local calls).  Eligibility is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and cannot be discussed via email.

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Q: How does the Affordable Care Act affect the Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund for California?

A: Beginning January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as “Obamacare,” will require U.S. citizens to have “minimum essential” medical and prescription coverage. Minimum essential coverage may be obtained through an employer-sponsored plan like the Carpenters Health and Welfare Plan, an individual plan, Medicare or Medicaid. Persons without minimum essential coverage will be subject to a tax penalty.

To aid citizens in locating coverage, each state created a Marketplace where people not covered through an employer sponsored plan, Medicare or Medicaid can purchase, often federally subsidized, coverage. (The federal government is administering the Marketplace in some states.) By October 2013, every employer must provide a notice to all employees about the availability of Marketplaces. In California, the Marketplace is known as “Covered California.” The Covered California website is www.coveredca.com and is already available for obtaining information, answering questions and providing coverage premium estimates.

NOTE: If you are eligible for Carpenters Health and Welfare, you already satisfy the rules of the individual mandate and there is nothing you need to do.

Find additional information about ACA and its effect on the Carpenters’ Plan here. For general information about ACA, please visit www.coveredca.com, or www.ifebp.org.

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Q: What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and how do I file one?

A: Typically Qualified Domestic Relations Orders are used to determine how retirement benefits are to be paid to an Ex-Spouse when a Participant divorces, although sometimes they can be used to segregate a Participant’s funds to be paid in the form of child support.  Contact the Trust Fund Office at (888) 547-2054 (Toll free) or (510) 633-0333 (Local calls) for more information about how a QDRO can affect your benefits or you can view and print a sample QDRO from the links below.  The Trust Fund Office can in no way offer any legal advice.  The Trust Fund must also administer the QDRO as it is written, provided it qualifies and has been filed with the courts.

Sample Annuity Fund QDRO
Sample Pension Fund QDRO (Active Participant)
Sample Pension Fund QDRO (Retired Participant)

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Q: How do I apply to withdraw my Annuity?

A: If you wish to apply to withdraw monies from your Annuity Individual Account you can download and print an application from our website.  It is important to note that the Annuity Fund is a retirement account and in order to qualify for withdrawal you must be retired.  See the Application and the Summary Plan Description for more detail regarding your options for withdrawal.  The Fund does not allow loans or hardship withdrawals.  If you are an Active Participant you may be eligible to take an Early Withdrawal from your Vacation Fund, provided you have not already had an Early Withdrawal within the past 12 months and you have not already had two Early Withdrawals within the past 36 months.  See the Early Withdrawal Application and the Summary Plan Description for more detail regarding eligibility for an Early Withdrawal.

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Q: What is the Northern California Carpenters 401(k) Plan?

A: The Northern California Carpenters 401(k) Plan became effective September 1, 2008.  To participate in this plan, complete an Enrollment/Contribution Change Form and submit it to your employer.  Your employer will deduct your requested contributions from your paycheck and submit them on your behalf to your 401(k) account.  Once you begin contributing you will be able to access your account online at www.mylife.newyorklife.com.  You can stop contributing at any time and will need to submit a new form if you change employers.  One feature that makes the 401(k) plan different from your Annuity Plan is the ability to make hardship withdrawals and loans from your account if you meet certain requirements.  Visit our downloads page for more information about the plan.

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Q: How do I withdraw or rollover the monies in my Northern California Carpenters 401(k) account?

A: If you are a participant of the Northern California Carpenters 401(k) Plan you can request the forms to withdraw or rollover your account by contacting New York Life at 1-800-294-3575 or online at www.mylife.newyorklife.com.

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Q: Can I change the way my Annuity contributions are invested?

A: The Board of Trustees directs the investment of most Individual Account balances. However, a Participant has the option to self-direct his or her Individual Account within a limited number of mutual funds after participating in an online educational seminar.

The Annuity Fund's online educational seminar gives you basic investment tools in order to make more informed decisions, should you elect to self-direct any portion of your Annuity contributions into any of the mutual fund options provided under the Self-Direct program.

Once you have completed the online Self-Direct seminar and a Self-Direct Transfer Form you will be eligible to self-direct your Annuity through New York Life's MyLifeNow™ program.

The Self-Direct option was created for participants who want a little more freedom with the investment of their Annuity contributions. To learn more about the option to self-direct you can take the online Self-Direct seminar at your convenience. You are not obligated to transfer your monies if you take the seminar, but it will make you eligible to, should you desire to do so now, or in the future.

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Q: What is the difference between a Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plan?

A: For a quick, but informative, comparison of the different types of retirement plans visit the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plan's website: Retirement 101.

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Q: How is the Vacation and Holiday Plan administered?

A: A Board of Trustees comprised of four Employee and four Employer representatives administer the Vacation and Holiday Plan under the provisions of a Trust Agreement, which sets forth the rules and regulations adopted for the Plan's operation.

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Q: When are Vacation and Holiday Benefits paid?

A: Vacation and Holiday benefits are normally paid on or about January 31st of each year. Contributions received after August 31st of a Benefit Work Year will be paid, provided those contributions are received by the Fund Office prior to December 31st of that year. If late contributions are received after December 31st, supplemental payments will be issued two months after the Fund Office receives the late contributions.

Qualified Participants may elect to receive vacation benefits early by requesting an Early Vacation Withdrawal. Among other criteria an early withdrawal may not occur more than once within a 12-month period or twice in a 36-month period. Please refer to the Plan Rules and Regulations for more information.

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Q: What is an Early Withdrawal Payment and when is it paid?

A: Vacation and Holiday benefits are normally paid on or about January 31st of each year. However for specific reasons as determined by the Board of Trustees, a participant may qualify for an early payment. Participants who qualify under the rules of the Plan may request an early payment of the Participant's entire account balance. Such payments are provided within one week after an application is approved.

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Q: How do I apply for an Early Withdrawal of my vacation fund?

A: If you are an Active Participant you may be eligible to take an Early Withdrawal from your Vacation Fund, provided you have not already had an Early Withdrawal within the past 12 months and you have not already had two Early Withdrawals within the past 36 months.  See the Early Withdrawal Application and the Summary Plan Description for more detail regarding eligibility for an Early Withdrawal.

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Q: Through what earning period will my Vacation and Holiday Benefit Check apply?

A: Contributions credited for work performed between August 1st of any year through July 31st, of the following year will be paid on the Vacation and Holiday benefit check issued on or about January 31st of the following year. However, in the event of an Early Withdrawal Payment, a Participant can elect distribution of the portion of the account as of the last day of the month prior to the disbursement amount scheduled for payout the following January 31st or all contributions received as of the date the Early Withdrawal Payment is requested.

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Q: How do I obtain my Vacation and Holiday Benefit Check?

A: The distribution of benefits shall be made with a check mailed to Participants at the last known address available to the Fund Office no later than January 31st each year. In order to accommodate printing and delivery, address changes must be received by the Trust Fund Office at least two weeks prior to the 31st. Because vacation checks are mailed to the last known address shown in the Fund Office records, it is important that every Participant keep the Fund Office advised of any change in address.

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Q: What if a Participant dies prior to the Vacation and Holiday benefit payment date?

A: A Participant's Vacation and Holiday benefits will be payable, upon application by the beneficiary named by the Participant, or if there is no beneficiary named or surviving, to the person or persons entitled thereto by law.

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Q: What happens if there is a shortage on my Vacation and Holiday check?

A: It is important that you keep your check stubs or statement of earnings provided by your Employers for each Vacation and Holiday Benefit Work Year. These records provide the best proof of how much was deducted by the Employer and should have been contributed for Vacation and Holiday benefits.

You should check the total of the Vacation and Holiday deductions made by all of your Employers for the Vacation and Holiday Benefit Work Year against the amount of your Vacation and Holiday check. If the amount of your Vacation and Holiday check is less than the total of the amounts deducted, it indicates that an Employer may not have contributed the full amount due. The Fund Office issues a Combined Quarterly Statement that is a detailed accounting of the hours reported by each Employer for which contributions have been made to the Plan. VERIFY THE HOURS. It is an important record. The information recorded on the statement also reports Annuity, Pension and Health & Welfare credits under the Carpenters Annuity Trust Fund for Northern California, the Carpenters Pension Trust Fund for Northern California, and the Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust Fund for California.

If there is a discrepancy, you should file a written request for review with the Fund Office immediately, supported by copies of check stubs or other proof of employment. The Administrative Office will determine which Employer or Employers failed to remit required contributions and will initiate collection procedures for the amounts not remitted.

You will be credited with the amounts collected from the Employer for Vacation and Holiday benefits and these amounts will be paid to you as discussed in the Plan Rules and Regulations .

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Q: What happens if an Employer fails to contribute for work I performed?

A: You will receive only those amounts actually paid by your Employer to the Trust Fund and credited to your Vacation and Holiday account, except to the extent payments are replaced under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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Q: Are income taxes paid on Vacation and Holiday benefits?

A: Employer contributions for Vacation and Holiday and Work Fee Option are taxed at the time the contributions are made by the Employer. These amounts are included in your gross payroll figures reported by your Employers to the IRS and State Income Tax authorities and the necessary withholdings and other income tax deductions are made at that time. If you receive supplemental distribution of Plan income, such amounts are also taxable.

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Q: How are the expenses for operation of the Vacation and Holiday Plan paid?

A: Expenses for the operation of the Plan are paid out of investment income and other revenue.

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