These days, Americans are quick to lament the near extinction of pensions, which continue to be replaced by 401(k) and similar defined-contribution retirement plans. But it turns out some of us do have pensions — we just forgot about them.
Almost $22 trillion remains in pension plans at U.S. corporations, CBS MoneyWatch has reported. Finding out whether you are owed a forgotten pension and getting hold of the benefits are both challenging tasks.
While recovering forgotten pension funds is no simple task, resources are available to help pensioners. They include:
The website of this initiative of the Pension Rights Center is where you should start if you believe you might have a pension plan you forgot about, Leavelle says. Its questionnaire can direct you to resources.
The U.S. Administration on Aging Pension Counseling and Information Program
This program offers free legal aid to pensioners in 30 states. A list of the counseling projects that are part of this program is available on the Pension Help America website.
Pension Rights Center (PRC)
The PRC website also offers pension-related news, resources and other helpful information.
The website of this federal agency also offers resources and other helpful information. When a company that promised pensions to employees is sold, closes down or files for bankruptcy, the company is supposed to report it to the PBGC, which maintains a registry of people eligible for such pensions, CBS reports. According to the PBGC, it paid out about $5.6 billion in pension benefits to nearly 861,000 beneficiaries in failed single-employer plans last year.
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