- Published: Tuesday, 12 May 2020 20:00
The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association on May 12 held an informational webinar to explain virtual signups for the Maryland Backstretch Pension Plan, which are now available.
Given physical distancing requirements issued by state government because of coronavirus (COVID-19), the customary in-person signups at Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and the Fair Hill Training Center cannot be scheduled before the July 1 deadline for submittal of pension documents.
The MTHA Board of Directors earlier this year continued to affirm its support for the Backstretch Pension Program when it approved an increase in funding to $900,000 from $750,000. Participation in the program requires that each individual sign up annually.
“The $900,000 is a record amount for the program,” MTHA Executive Director David Richardson said. “I can’t stress what an incredible perk this is for everyone who works on the backstretch. It’s a new process this year, so everyone should enroll as soon as possible. We tried to make it as simple and as easy as we could."
Anyone employed in the care of horses on the backstretch, including trainers, are eligible to participate, but the employee must have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours during the specified year and must provide documentation with a Form W-2, Form 1099 or a tax return. Benefits become available when an employee reaches the age of 65 or at age 55 with 25 years of service.
The first step is to complete the online pension registration form, which requests the same information as in previous years. It is very important to provide accurate contact information such as a telephone number and email address so that a confirmation can be sent after registration is approved.
The registration form requires each employee’s Maryland Racing Commission badge number, but the actual badge doesn’t have to be produced as has been the case during in-person signups in previous years.
If assistance is required to complete the form in English or Spanish, contact Diana Pinones at 410-902-6844; Bobby Lillis at 410-340-8986; or Jessica Hammond at 301-776-0404.
The second step is submittal of a Form W-2, Form 1099 or a tax return documenting the earnings reported on the registration form. This can be done in the following ways:
- Text a photo of the documents to 443-805-1995
- Leave a copy of the documents in one of the secure drop boxes labeled “Pension Dropoff” located at the stable gate at Laurel and Pimlico
- Contact the MTHA office at 410-902-6844 to arrange to drop off documents
Each employee should note they are not enrolled in the program until they receive confirmation of registration. At that time, each individual who has been enrolled in the plan for at least two consecutive years will also receive a current statement.