Residuals FAQ

Residuals: Frequently Asked Questions

What are residuals?

Residuals are compensation paid for the reuse of a credited writer’s work. Detailed answers to this and other general residuals questions can be found in the “Residuals Survival Guide.” Hard copies are available, or you may find an online version here.

Do I have anything in the pipeline?

There is no “pipeline.” Since 2003, the Residuals Administrator has been using a “Rapid Residuals” system, which allows your checks to be mailed to you as soon as they are received. We are unable to verify if anything is waiting to be mailed to you.

How do I know if any residuals are due to me?

First and foremost, residuals are only due on WGA-covered projects. This means that the Company that hires you needs to be signatory to the WGA Agreement. To find out a Company’s signatory status, contact the Guild’s Signatories Department at 212-767-7837 or via email. Remember: it is a violation of Working Rule no. 8 to work for a non-signatory Company.

Typically, residuals for theatrical projects are due to the Guild on a quarterly basis. Television projects are due either within 30 days of usage (if used on a Network) or within four months (most other usage). Please see the Residuals Survival Guide for more details.

What do I do if my residuals are overdue?

Contact the Residuals Administrator at (212) 767-7814, or via email. The department will not only investigate any usage you report that may be overdue, but all exhibition markets for your project. If you wrote an episode of a series, they will check the entire series for unpaid residuals. Potential claims are researched on a first-in, first-out basis. Once they have completed their initial investigation, your claim will be assigned to a collections coordinator who will pursue any unpaid residuals and, if warranted, late fees.

I saw a clip of a project I wrote used on another television show or in a movie. What do I do?

Contact the Residuals Administrator at (212) 767-7814, or via email.

When I complete my quarterly Dues Declaration, should I list residuals checks I’ve received that don’t appear on my WGAE Web account?

No. If you’ve received a residual check, it will then show up on your online membership account but not necessarily in the same quarter in which you received the check.

I received a check but it doesn’t appear on my WGAE Web account. How do I know what it is for?

Please wait until the item appears on your account. The Guild processes checks on a first in/first out basis as quickly as possible. Because of the large volume of checks received on a daily basis, especially when the quarterly residuals are due and at the year’s end, there may be a substantial delay between the time when you receive your check and the detail appears on your member account. This is because the Residuals Administrator & residuals processing staff must confirm each and every residual that is paid to ensure the correct writer is receiving the correct amount at the correct time.

If you are underpaid, they will pursue the balance due to you; if you are paid late, they will pursue late fees. This is just one of the many ways the Guild works to protect your rights and your patience is greatly appreciated. Once your check is listed, you can click on the check number and gain access to detailed information regarding the payment, including market usage.

I went to the membership account, and there is a check listed there that I never received. What do I do?

Contact the Residuals Administrator at (212) 767-7814, or via email.

I lost my residuals check or my residuals check is stale dated and cannot be cashed. What do I do?

Contact the Residuals Administrator at (212) 767-7814, or via email.

Why does it take so long to have my check reissued?

Your residuals check is reissued by the company that issued the original check, not the Guild. Every company has its own process for check reissues and generally takes six weeks or more to reissue a residuals check once the request has been received from the Guild.

When my check is reissued, will I be assessed dues on both the original check and the reissued check?

No. The Guild will retain records of the original check only. If you access your residual records using the internet and bring up the original check, it will include information regarding the new, reissued check.

I received a check for “Foreign Levies.” What is this for?

Foreign Copyright Levies are funds received by the Guild on behalf of U.S. writers pursuant to a program established in 1990. Foreign collection societies send the WGA taxes and levies imposed by foreign governments in order to protect copyright holders of audiovisual product made available on public television, cable television, and through videocassette rentals. The primary source of these monies is “private copy” taxes on the sale of blank videocassettes and VCRs, although taxes are also imposed for cable retransmission of programs. For more information, visit Foreign Levies.

I have questions about my Foreign Levy payment. Who should I call?

Call the Residuals Administrator at (212) 767-7814.

I have questions about my W-2s. Who should I call?

Contact the company that issued your check. The Guild does not issue W-2s. If you need the contact information for your company, click here.

Why did I receive a check marked “void?”

A payroll company might void out your check for many reasons, such as if you have a tax lien or garnished wages. The check itself is your property and might contain important information for your records. The Guild will still process the gross amount of the check in order to track the fact that the Company met its residuals obligation. For check details, contact the payroll company that issued it.

I recently moved. How do I make sure my residuals are sent to the correct address?

Contact the Membership Department at (212) 767-7821 or via email.

I have questions about my Pension Plan and/or Health Fund contributions? Who should I talk to?

Call the Writers Guild-Industry Health Fund at (818) 846-1015 or visit their website.

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