By Christine Steinmetz, Pension Attorney at 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. C.
Mr. C had worked for a textile manufacturer up until the early 1980s. The company had been bought and sold many times. Mr. C knew that he was vested in a pension benefit but could not find the plan. He had a Certificate of Deferred Benefit document from his former employer indicating that he was vested in the plan. When the client contacted the company that last purchased the business, he was told that they did not assume the pension liability when they bought the company. Mr. C was very frustrated. Would he ever find his pension benefit?
That is when Mr. C decided to contact the MAPRP. The case was assigned to an MAPRP attorney. The MAPRP started its investigation in March of 2020. The attorney started by doing research and making phone calls to find the current pension plan administrator.
Because of the pandemic, things moved extremely slow as most of the company employees were working from home. Because of dead ends in trying to locate the current plan administrator, the attorney sent a letter to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The PBGC provided the attorney with a contact number to start. The attorney followed up with the company. The attorney sent an inquiry letter to the company. Four months later the company confirmed the fact that they had employment records for Mr. C. The attorney was happy that she was able to locate the company. When the attorney called the client, she was told by his spouse that Mr. C had unexpectedly passed away. Mr. C’s wife decided that she would continue with the case because she knew that her late husband would have wanted her to continue.
A few more months passed before the company determined that the benefit was not with them; however, due to their extensive research, they knew who had the benefit. The attorney contacted that company. The benefit calculation was processed immediately.
Over a year later, Ms. C received a lump sum retroactive payment and a monthly payment for the rest of her life. The MAPRP attorney’s hard work paid off! Ms. C was very happy. She would receive her late husband’s pension benefit. Ms. C could retire comfortably knowing she could pay for life’s necessities.
If you have questions about your 401(k) or defined benefit pensions, please call the Mid-America Pension Rights Project. The Mid-America Pension Rights 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 organization.
Since the program began in 1998, the Pension Project has assisted over 16,000 clients and recovered over 83 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 http://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.
Christine Steinmetz is a part-time Attorney at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law team since 2011. As an attorney at Elder Law, Christine advises clients on pension issues.