What is a Benefit Credit?

A Benefit Credit is the credit a member receives when working in covered employment for an employer who has signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council (Regional Council).

A Benefit Credit is composed of up to four(4) benefit components: health and welfare credit, pension credit, annuity credit and vacation credit. The health and welfare, pension and annuity components are 100% employer contributions, while the vacation credit is payroll deducted and employee (member) paid. Each Benefit Credit is based on the hours the member works. For example, one Benefit Credit is earned for each hour worked, with possible exceptions for additional credit for overtime hours worked. Partial benefit credit may also be earned.

The health and welfare credit earned through an employer’s purchase of a Benefit Credit is what determines a member’s health and welfare eligibility, or coverage under the Health and Welfare Plan. Refer to Active Eligibility for more information on earning initial eligibility and continuing eligibility. 

Pension credit earned through an employer’s purchase of a Benefit Credit builds toward accruing a member’s pension benefit. Pension credit may be earned in St. Louis (managed by the Carpenters’ Pension Office in St. Louis) or Kansas City (managed by Wilson McShane in Kansas City), or transferred to Geneva (an option based only on the member’s original Local affiliation at the time of the Southern Illinois/St. Louis merger), depending on the Member’s Home Pension Fund. Please refer to Pension Who We Serve for Local affiliation with participating Pension Funds. There are some employers who do not participate in any Carpenters’ Pension Fund. Members employed by these companies would not have pension benefit credit as a part of their Benefit Credit.

Annuity credit is also earned through an employer’s purchase of an Annuity Benefit Credit. The Annuity Benefit is a defined contribution plan to supplement the defined benefit plan (Pension Plan) when a member reaches retirement. Based on the employer’s CBA, not all employers participate in purchasing Annuity Benefit Credits.

Vacation Benefit Credit is payroll deducted by hour during each pay period. Employers use the member’s payroll deduction to purchase members’ vacation credit. Each June, members are eligible to redeem their Vacation Benefits online on carpdc.org. For every hour payroll deducted, the member will receive that amount in either direct deposit or check form once the member authorizes his/her Vacation Benefit Statement in late May. Online redemption requires members to have a personal carpdc.org account. Accounts are available to participants only. Refer to the FAQ for directions on setting up a personal carpdc.org account.

Benefit Credits are purchased by signatory employers through Carpenters’ Estamp system. The Estamp system is an online benefit purchasing tool that allows employers to purchase member benefits weekly or monthly, based on their CBA with the Regional Council. Estamps may be purchased in any hourly increment, by hour or partial hour, depending on which version of the Estamp system the employer uses.

It is always important for members to verify the amount of Estamps purchased on their behalf match the amount of hours worked to ensure proper health and welfare, pension and vacation credit is received. Members can verify their Estamps under the Vacation Redemption menu option while logged into their personal carpdc.org accounts.  

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