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How do I get my company pension started ?
Old 05-19-2023, 07:51 AM   #1
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How do I get my company pension started ?

I turned 65 this year. My former employer (well actually they bought the small company I worked for after I left in 2006) is a furtune 500 company. They changed pension administrators this year. At the start of the year the prior administrator sent me notification about my pension (including amounts) and I also received a letter from SS about my Potential Private Retirement Benefit with the same amount. Three months before I was supposed to start receiving my benefit I contacted them and they told me they will get back to me. I have contacted them by phone/secure email on the pension administrators website/chat / and even snail mail about every week or two since then. All they say is "Sorry for the delay, we're working on it".

I should have received my first pension check May 1st. What steps should I take at this point.
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Old 05-19-2023, 07:58 AM   #2
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If you keep getting ignored, contact the Fortune 500's front office directly and bypass the pension administrators.
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Old 05-19-2023, 08:24 AM   #3
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If you keep getting ignored, contact the Fortune 500's front office directly and bypass the pension administrators.
Agreed, you'll get better traction if you go above the heads of whoever you're talking to. I'd start with the leadership of the pension administrator's company to give them a chance to fix it internally, but move on to the F500 HR or front office if the administrator still fails to be useful.
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Old 05-19-2023, 08:46 AM   #4
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Call benefits office at the Fortune 500 company. Explain the situation. They will likely assist.
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Old 05-19-2023, 12:02 PM   #5
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Can't help on this but good luck.

This was one of the reasons, when my company was acquired (and I was let go), I took the lump sum immediately.

It was a hefty sum (almost seven figures) and I've doubled it over the past 18 years.
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Old 05-20-2023, 12:21 PM   #6
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I had a dispute with the outsourced firm that handled my pension. We had three mergers since I started.

The dispute was over the amount. The pension admin firm did not want to include my pay for performance bonuses in the calculation of pensionable income. They claimed that this was not part of the DB plan regs. Nine months of back and forth. I gave up on them.

I got a copy of the pension plan, plus the amendments and reviewed same.

I wrote to my employer VP Legal who sponsored the company pension plans.

Had a response in 48 hours with a commitment to review within three weeks. Well within that period I got the updated pension entitlement numbers.

The change increased my pension entitlement by 34 percent. It reduced the early penalty from 5 percent to 3 percent per annum.

Several of my colleagues who had retired in the last two years followed up with the same issue and had their respective pensions adjusted to reflect the increase in their pensionable earnings.


It pays to understand your DB pension and audit what gets sent to you when you retire!
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Old 05-21-2023, 05:34 PM   #7
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^^^ do you attribute the problem to incompetence or willful game playing?
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Old 05-21-2023, 06:25 PM   #8
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Can't help on this but good luck.

This was one of the reasons, when my company was acquired (and I was let go), I took the lump sum immediately.

It was a hefty sum (almost seven figures) and I've doubled it over the past 18 years.
Same here when I retired... Who knows who is going to acquire who, and when, and/or if they will still be viable in a decade or so. (Even w/insurance - stuff happens) I didn't want to deal with it or worry about it. No regrets here.
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Old 05-21-2023, 06:51 PM   #9
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What saved me a great deal of effort was that I kept every bit of pension related documentation that was sent to me. Hard and soft copy. Through three mergers. Not certain why....just filed it as I did with tax documents.

I knew exactly what I was entitled to, how the numbers should be calculated, etc. and who at the top to contact should I not get the correct data.

In our jurisdiction the DB plan sponsor was obligated, within a few days of the request, to send a soft copy of the DB plan, and amendments to any participant that requested it.

Details of the bi annual audit showing where the plan was on a go forward and a wind up basis were required to be sent hard copy to every participant at least every second year.

My employer was not trying to cheat me. Rather the outsourced pension administration firm was understaffed and employed too many unqualified admin folk.
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Old 05-21-2023, 07:11 PM   #10
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I found it worth getting the full pension plan when I left one company. It was over 100 pages and very detailed. I had to pay for it on a per page basis. The summary that is normally given out was not detailed enough to cover the merged companies' differences. I never trust a human to give me the correct answer for a complicated issue. Trust, but verify.
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Old 05-21-2023, 11:56 PM   #11
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Exactly.

As it turned out there were three or four of us who were in the same situation. Two had already commenced their pension, the third started a year after me.

All three checked their numbers. Two went back and happily rec'd a very nice catch up payment.

Huge believer in trust but verify....always have been. It was the nature of some of my work.
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Old 05-22-2023, 04:48 AM   #12
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Same here when I retired... Who knows who is going to acquire who, and when, and/or if they will still be viable in a decade or so. (Even w/insurance - stuff happens) I didn't want to deal with it or worry about it. No regrets here.
+1. Since the acquisition 18 years ago, my old company has been sold and shuttled around four times. Not even sure if they're still in business or who now owns the old pension.

I figured the money was safer in my hands than anywhere else and, as noted, I've doubled it over the years.

Rumor was that because so many took the lump sum for large amounts, the previously fully funded pension was depleted and those left were being offered smaller amounts. I'm not sure how all that works but thatís what I was told.
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Old 05-22-2023, 05:04 AM   #13
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I'm writing this on a Monday. I suggest at 9 AM you contact the pension admin one more time. Tell them you need answer today, in light of their prior non-action, when that first payment will be issued AND THE AMOUNT. Let them know you will take this to a higher level if you do not hear back by 4PM. If [presuming?] you do not hear back, ask your Congressional Representative to intervene. All Rep's have a local office and a designated person to help their constituents. When a company gets an inquiry from a Federal Representative, that often shakes things up very quickly.
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Old 05-22-2023, 06:07 AM   #14
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I'm writing this on a Monday. I suggest at 9 AM you contact the pension admin one more time. Tell them you need answer today, in light of their prior non-action, when that first payment will be issued AND THE AMOUNT. Let them know you will take this to a higher level if you do not hear back by 4PM. If [presuming?] you do not hear back, ask your Congressional Representative to intervene. All Rep's have a local office and a designated person to help their constituents. When a company gets an inquiry from a Federal Representative, that often shakes things up very quickly.
I've often found that a vague mention of a lawyer--even if you don't have one-- tends to get everyone focused on the task at hand.
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Old 05-22-2023, 08:30 AM   #15
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My discussions went on for a year. On and off. It took very little of my time.

I was in no rush to take the pension and we were out of the country. I retired three years previous but waited to take the pension.

The outcome in dollars? A cheque for $374k.

This was the second time that I had an adjustment. While working, after the first merger, I noticed that a matching amount in a pension option was not being processed. It was was $12K item that over time and growth ended up as a 26K amount when I finally took the pension.

So, overall I would have lost out on $400K through several persons lack of diligence had I not audited the numbers on two occasions.

Audit is a poor work and implies a lot of work on my part.

Simply put, my estimate of pension entitlement differed from that of the pension administration group . The difference was what was included in pensionable income. That calculation took all of ten minutes since it was based on the best consecutive 5 in the last 10 years.

The next easy part was checking the definition of pensionable income inclusions in the DB plan document and then reviewing the subsequent amendments to ensure that none of them referenced this definition. Less than an hours worth of work. Then it was down to emails back and forth.
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Old 05-22-2023, 09:50 AM   #16
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I dealt directly with HR regarding my pension, they handled all the forms, etc.

I second the idea to contact your Congressperson if HR and pension admin do not respond within a reasonable (1-2 day) time frame.
You have waited long enough.
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