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 Mr. J.
Mr. J. worked for a company for over 10 years. After leaving the company he moved out of state. Since he knew that he was vested in the pension he did not give it another thought until he reached retirement age.
Mr. J. contacted the company to start his pension. The company told Mr. J. that he received a lump sum payout of his benefit when he left. Mr. J disagreed with the company’s determination. Mr. J. had copies of his Federal income tax filings, in the year he left, indicating there was no payout received. Mr. J submitted the copies to the employer and asked them for proof of the payout that he allegedly received.
At that point, even though Mr. J contacted the plan periodically, he received no further information. That’s when Mr. J decided to call the MAPRP. As soon as the attorney was assigned to his case, an inquiry went out to Mr. J’s former employer. After the initial contact, the MAPRP was told the same thing as Mr. J, he had already been paid a lump sum; however, the company had no proof of the payout.
The MAPRP decided to continue with the internal process by filing a claim for pension benefits on Mr. J’s behalf. After 90 days, the MAPRP received a denial of the claim indicating, once again, that Mr. J had already received payment. The MAPRP continued the process and filed an appeal. Although the claim determination was made by the company’s legal counsel, the appeal determination would be made by the board. Just over 60 days later, the MAPRP was contacted that the board sided with Mr. J! At age 65 Mr. J would receive $140.00 a month for the rest of his life.
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 15,000 clients and has recovered over 74 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 Mid-America Pension Rights Project.
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 the Director of Legal Services at Elder Law of Michigan. Sandra has been a staff member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since 2010. As Director of Legal Services, Sandra manages the day to day operations of the pension department and helps clients who call for pension assistance.