(Mid-America Pension Rights Project ): A Working-Class Program that Works to Solve Your Pension Problems

By Sandra Wisnewski, Director of the Mid-America Pension Rights Project at Elder Law of Michigan

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 Pension Project works to find answers and solutions to your pension-related problem. Just ask Ms. Q.

Ms. Q. worked for her former employer for approximately 7 years. Ms. Q worked for 5 years as a permanent employee and 2 years as a temporary employee. Ms. Q knew she had worked long enough with the employer to qualify for a pension benefit. At the time she left the company, they required 5 years of service to vest.  

When Ms. Q reached retirement age, she decided to call her former employer to apply for her pension. Ms. Q did not anticipate that she would have any problems receiving her money.    

Ms. Q was told, by the pension representative, that she had already been given a lump sum payout of her pension benefit. Ms. Q knew this was incorrect, she knew she had never received any of the money. Because the company believed Ms. Q had already been paid, they asked her for documents and information to research the company records. Also, to help verify her length of employment, the company asked Ms. Q to provide them with a social security earnings report. Ms. Q provided the company with everything they requested but did not receive a determination about her benefit. After three years of going back and forth with the company, Ms. Q decided to get MAPRP involved. 

Ms. Q provided MAPRP with the necessary documentation and an attorney was assigned to her case. The attorney sent a letter asking the plan for information regarding Ms. Q’s pension benefit. After a few weeks, Ms. Q received her retirement packet. Ms. Q is convinced that without MAPRP’s intervention, she would have never received her pension benefit.   

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 14,000 clients and has recovered over 69 million dollars in pension benefits. The Pension Project assists clients that either worked in or are currently living 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.

The information in this article is general and not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. In any legal matter you should always consider consulting with an attorney for specific advice.


Sandra Wisnewski is an Attorney and the Director of Client Assistance with Elder Law of Michigan. Sandra has been a staff member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since 2010. As Director of Client Assistance, Sandra manages the day to day operations of the hotline and the pension department and helps clients who call for legal assistance.