|Because they are long-term investments
payable well into the future, pension benefits often
slip through the cracks. Company pension administrators typically make little effort to locate
lost beneficiaries who may have moved or changed name
over the years, and many companies themselves move,
change name, merge or are acquired by others, making them
difficult to trace.
Even if a former employer had an underfunded plan or is no longer in business, one should not necessarily assume benefits are lost. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is the federal agency responsible for the regulation of private pension plans. PBGC currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits earned by about 44 million American workers and retirees participating in over 35,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans.
More than 22,000 people eligible to claim $80 million in pension benefits from terminated defined benefit pension plans are currently missing. Benefits range from $1 to $295,298, averaging about $3,774. New York (4,622), California (2,617), Texas (1,606), New Jersey (1,334) and Pennsylvania (1,170) have the most missing participants. For assistance locating lost pension benefits go to: Lost Pension Search
Note: to find out if a company no longer in existence merged with or was acquired by another, go to: Company Search For information on government unclaimed pension benefits go to: Government Pension Search
|Special Note: Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are not covered by ERISA. Many states have now adopted laws which presume abandonment if withdrawals are not made by age 70½, which is when non-withdrawal would trigger a 50% tax penalty. Go to Unclaimed IRA Search for additional information and assistance.|
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