Traditional pension plans may be fading away in the modern American workplace, replaced by portable 401(k) plans that employees can take with them from job to job.
But traditional pensions are by no means dead yet. And people who qualified for them at companies they worked for and left years ago, may still be entitled to benefits -- IF they can track them down.
That’s easier said than done in a day when mergers and acquisitions fold many companies into partnerships and conglomerates with new names and new lines of business. Or when a company simply folds altogether
It’s easier said, but not impossible.
The New England Pension Assistance Project, based at UMass. Boston, will counsel people on ways to track down pension benefits for which they may qualify.
To get help, you have to currently live and work in New England, or have lived and worked here while you earned the pension.
Also the company you work or worked for, or the pension plan itself, has to have been headquartered in New England during the time you earned the pension.
If you don’t qualify under the above terms, you can find counseling help through PensionHelpAmerica at www.pensionhelp.org.
The counseling is free and covers many types of retirement plans.
Unclaimed traditional pension benefits, unlike those in 401(k)s or IRAs, which are considered the personal property
Since 1994, the New England Pension Assistance Project says it has helped 6,000 clients recover $41 million in benefits.
It is one of seven such centers around the country serving workers in 30 states.
They are supported by grants from the U.S. Administration on Aging with legal assistance from the National Pension Assistance Resource Center, an initiative of the Pension Rights Center In Washington, D.C.
For more information, call toll-free 1 (888) 425-6067 or 1 (617) 287-7307 or visit www.pensionaction.org.
To reach Charles Bonenti: