Hey Apprentices

The jurisdiction of the I.B.E.W. Local 697 encompasses both Lake and Newton counties. Consequently, if you work outside those two-county lines, you will be working in another I.B.E.W. Local’s jurisdiction.

So what, you ask? Well that’s kind of a big deal if you have not completed your ERTS form. Now you may be thinking why is completing that form important? Well, it’s important because the employer contributions earned while working in another Local’s jurisdiction will not be sent back to Local 697 Benefit Funds. The end result – you may not be covered by the Health and Benefit Fund and/or your initial eligibility start date could be delayed.

PS. You’re an adult, and this is an adult situation. Handle it as such.

Health and Benefit Fund Educational Meetings

The dates are almost upon us. If you are an Apprentice, or an active journeyperson or early retiree, and wish to learn more about your Health and Benefit Fund, and have not previously registered or reserved your spot at either the September 14th or September 28th, 2023, meeting, call 219-940-6181. Both meetings will begin at 6:00 P.M.


If you are using the HRA debit card:

  • At the time of service to pay amounts a medical, dental or vision provider purports you will owe, or,
  • Pay at the time you receive a bill, but prior to the provider submitting a bill to the Fund and/or the Funds processing of that claim,

be advised that this is not a best practice as it is the primary cause of participants’ debit cards being permanently deactivated and the participant incurring taxable income.

While using the card in this manner is your prerogative, make certain that you stay on top of inputting your supporting documentation in a timely manner and that the supporting documentation is correct. Similar to writing about a better way to maximize the HRA debit card privilege, the consequences of not utilizing it properly have been written about previously. As such, there is no need to rehash that information here. Suffice it to say you can read up on the subject in the Health and Benefit Plans SPD and of course prior newsletters.

Other Insurance

If you and/or a family member who is covered under the I.B.E.W. Health and Benefit Fund has other dental, medical, Rx or vision insurance, you are required to inform the Health and Benefit Plan of that fact.
If this is you, be advised that the Fund will need a copy of that insurance’s medical identification card, the start date of said insurance, the name of the insurance provider and of course, the policy or medical identification number. You will also want to review the section of the SPD titled “Coordination of Benefits.”

Quarterly Self-Payments

The Labor Day weekend not only signals the end of summer but heralds the upcoming payment date for shortage of hours for fourth quarter coverage under the Health and Benefit Plan.

If you owe for a shortage of hours, your payment must be received by the Fund Office no later than 4:30 P.M. on Friday, September 29th, 2023. Of course, and pursuant to the rules of the Plan, if you have a sufficient balance in your HRA to cover your shortage of hours payment, said payment will automatically be deducted. If you don’t, make certain that your payment is received by the Fund Office prior to the aforementioned date.

The Retirement Calculator

You can view and/or print out your own projections of what your monthly IBEW Local 697 Pension Benefit, NEBF, I.O. and even what the Retiree Self-Payment Credit (aka - Plan P) benefit will be at various retirement ages all from the luxury of your home computer or laptop by clicking on the words “Retirement Calculator” on the Pension tab landing page.