by Sandra Wisnewski, J.D., Director of the Mid-America Pension Rights Project
The Mid-America Pension Rights Project (MAPRP) assists clients with pension and 401(k) issues. There are no age or income restrictions and there is never a charge for the services. The MAPRP works to find answers and solutions to your pension-related problem. Just ask Ms. K.
Ms. K lived in a country outside the United States. Ms. K’s husband had recently passed away. Ms. K’s late husband had worked for an Illinois company for over 12 years. When Mr. K passed, Ms. K contacted the employer in order to start her surviving spouse benefit. The pension plan told Ms. K that she was ineligible as her late husband did not vest. The plan’s records indicated that Mr. K worked for less than 1 year and to qualify for the benefit he would have had to work at least 10.
Ms. K knew that Mr. K had worked for the company for over 10 years and tried to explain this to the Plan, but she got nowhere. That’s when she decided to contact the MAPRP. Once the MAPRP received the requested paperwork, an attorney was assigned to the case. The attorney sent a letter to the plan asking for information regarding Ms. K’s pension. The plan responded with the same answer that was given to Ms. K, Mr. K did not work long enough to vest.
The attorney asked Ms. K if she had a Social Security Earnings Report showing her late husband’s employment at the company. Ms. K had obtained the report several months earlier. The attorney reviewed the report. According to Social Security records Mr. K worked for the employer for more than 10 years. The attorney sent a written request to the plan for a payment of benefits along with a copy of the earnings report.
A couple months later the plan contacted the MAPRP informing the attorney that Ms. K was eligible to receive a surviving spouse benefit. Ms. K started receiving a monthly benefit plus a lump sum retroactive payment of over $8,000.00.
The Pension Project is funded by the Federal government through a grant provided by the Administration for Community Living, and is a program of Elder Law of Michigan, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
Since the program began in 1998, the Pension Project has assisted over 13,000 clients and has recovered over 61 million dollars in pension benefits. The Pension Project assists clients in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. For more information, visit www.mid-americapensions.org.
If you need help with or information about your pension or 401(k) benefit, please call the Mid-America Pension Rights Project at 866-735-7737 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.