Can't get info for my pension

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Topic Author
gavinsiu
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:42 am

Can't get info for my pension

Post by gavinsiu »

So I apparently have a small pension when I retire from my former employer. In any case, the pension is basically no longer offered to new employees and they apparently stop accurring before I ended up my employment there. When I log into my retirement plan, I can see the benefits there and that I am vested, but it does not list any other info. I apparently can take pension next year with reduce benefit adn full benefits at 65 with no additional benefits if I delay retirement.

What I was trying to get is what happens if I were to pass away before I tap the pension. My employer's HR indicated that they cannot give me that information because I am no longer an employee and there is no way to get that information. If I were to pass away, my spouse can contact the HR to received pre-retirement benefits, but they cannot tell me what they are. I cannot get any benefits document because I am not an employee any more.

Is this really true? I could still get the Summary Description Plan for my former employer's 401K. It's weird that I cannot do the same for the pension. Now I wished I gotten this info while I was working there. Has anyone had this experience. What does happen if you passed away before you collect on a pension?

Final Update
I received the SPD today, which was 80 pages long. It would have been helpful if they provided this online. It appears that my former employer's goal is to provide as little support for the pension as possible. For example when I requested information about the pension, I am told that I am not allowed to have any information about the pension and they will not send me anything. When I specifically requested the Summary Plan Description (SPD), they immediately comply because they are legally bound to do so by ERISA laws.
Last edited by gavinsiu on Tue Jan 24, 2023 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
fabdog
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:59 pm
Location: Williamsburg VA

Re: Can't get info for my pension

Post by fabdog »

Well, the details of what happens specifically for you will be defined by your company's plan. So I can't give you any advice there except to call and try for someone different from HR or ask them who administers the plan benefit. Tell them you are trying to model whether to take the pension now or at 65, or take a lump sum, if that is an option. Will they give you the actual numbers now and at 65? The excuse of you don't work here anymore is fairly lame, and I could see them saying that for medical benefits or some other current benefit, but not about a pension benefit you are already vested in.

If that still doesn't work, if you still have contacts there at exec level, or can find the CFO or HR manage name/email on website reach out to them and relay your problem. They may help you get past the front line folks and get the info you need

For my company (which also stopped giving any more credit well before I actually retired) the pension info was available on the same Fidelity website as my 401, just under pension. Could model taking the pension or a lump sum at any age, but had to make as call by 65 or the pension would start. There was a link to plan docs, and my wife would have been entitled to the pension if I passed away before starting the pension. I ended up taking a lump sum this year before the interest rates changed on the lump sum.

Mike
Topic Author
gavinsiu
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Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:42 am

Re: Can't get info for my pension

Post by gavinsiu »

I will poke around the website and also look through my paper archives. I thought it was weird that that were so admant that I will not be privy to any details becaue I am no longer an employee.
tunafish
Posts: 518
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:47 am

Re: Can't get info for my pension

Post by tunafish »

gavinsiu wrote: Fri Jan 06, 2023 1:13 pm I thought it was weird that that were so admant that I will not be privy to any details becaue I am no longer an employee.
That sounds crazy to me, As suggested above, I would try talking to another hr person and if that does not work, a polite no more than one page letter to the CEO.

Or, if you don't have the paperwork, do you know current or former employees who might be vested, or if there a group on the web of such people, perhaps on facebook?
Topic Author
gavinsiu
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Re: Can't get info for my pension

Post by gavinsiu »

I poke around the site, there are links to the 401K plan and my pension. When I go to my old 401K plan, I get all sort of info like SPD and such. When I go to the pension, I get nothing. Everything is blanked out.

Isn't pension governed by ERISA and they are required to provide this info?

Where would I get the CEO"s address?
RudyS
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:11 am

Re: Can't get info for my pension

Post by RudyS »

ERISA (Employee Retirement Security Act) does indeed govern requirements for pension administrators.

This may be of interest. You might need to lean on HR for more:

"Participants who terminate their employment must receive a statement of deferred vested benefits and a statement of total accrued pension benefits and percentage vested. "
GreendaleCC
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Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:24 am

Re: Can't get info for my pension

Post by GreendaleCC »

gavinsiu wrote: Fri Jan 06, 2023 1:39 pm Where would I get the CEO"s address?
I would write to him/her at the company HQ’s address.
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LilyFleur
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Re: Can't get info for my pension

Post by LilyFleur »

Decades ago, I worked for a Fortune 500. After I no longer worked for them, I was able to call them about my pension, and I could also get an estimate from the savings plan website for taking my pension at different ages.
Topic Author
gavinsiu
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Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:42 am

Re: Can't get info for my pension

Post by gavinsiu »

So I contacted the HR again and got exactly the same person. This time, instead of asking the same HR rep to send me information about my pension plan, I specifically request the SPD for the pension plan. Surprisingly, the rep said it will be sent out in 7-10 business days. I speculated that by wording it as a request for the SPD, refusing it would result in a ERISA violation.
Topic Author
gavinsiu
Posts: 1716
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:42 am

Re: Can't get info for my pension

Post by gavinsiu »

Final Update
I received the SPD today, which was 80 pages long. It would have been helpful if they provided this online. It appears that my former employer's goal is to provide as little support for the pension as possible. For example when I requested information about the pension, I am told that I am not allowed to have any information about the pension and they will not send me anything. When I specifically requested the Summary Plan Description (SPD), they immediately comply because they are legally bound to do so by ERISA laws.
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