4 Things to Do When Your Pension Isn’t Right
You worked for decades to put money into your pension and retirement plan, so you could enjoy post-retirement life. You probably have dreams of enjoying all of those activities you put off while you were working. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of hobbies l
like woodworking or finally having enough time to write the next great American novel.
When the day finally comes and you are ready to retire, there is nothing more heart-wrenching than discovering that your pension or retirement fund isn’t what you thought it was going to be or being denied for those benefits. Suddenly, all those dreams you had of how you were going to spend the rest of your life turn into worries about how you are going to make ends meet. Our ERISA lawyers know what this is like because we’ve helped countless clients through situations like these.
That’s not a good place to be on the brink of retirement, but unfortunately, it’s where some retirees find themselves because their retirement or pension plan has been mismanaged by their employer. If this situation sounds familiar because it’s happening to you, there are a number of steps you can take to start to address the problem and get it corrected.
How to Address Problems With Your Pension or Retirement Plan
Review the details of the plan. Your employer is required to provide you with the details of your plan under ERISA law. If you have concerns about your plan and the payments that you are getting, it’s important to review the details that were provided to you. If you didn’t save those plan details, your employer should be able to provide them to you. Simply contact your human resources department or your plan administrator and tell them that you’d like to review a plan summary. If you can’t find the information that you need in there, ask for the detail of the plan for review. You might find that the mistake is yours and the plan didn’t work like you thought it did when you first read it over; in that case, you may need to find alternative plans for your retirement years. Don’t assume the mistake is yours, though, until you’ve spoken with a lawyer.
Keep all documentation you receive. Whatever documentation you get regarding your retirement plan and pension benefits, make sure you keep it all in a safe place. You may need it in if you are forced to bring legal action in order to get the benefits you are entitled to get. This is especially important if your benefits are denied because the denial letter will have additional information that can be useful in an appeal and it will also let ou know how much time you’ll have to appeal the decision (usually 60 days). Make a folder where you keep all of your documentation so it’s easily accessed when needed. If you set up a consultation with a lawyer, this folder will contain everything you need to bring to the meeting.
Hire an experienced ERISA lawyer. Don’t put off hiring a lawyer. You might be concerned about the cost of hiring a lawyer when ou are already worried about making ends meet in retirement. However, a good ERISA lawyer will more than pay for themselves. That’s because they can fight on your behalf to get you the correct retirement and pension payouts, making your retirement years much less stressful. Plus, they can help you review your plan information and ensure that your employer was complying with all ERISA rules. If they weren’t, you may be able to take legal action.
Don’t panic. This is easier said than done, we know. When it comes to your retirement money, you have every right to worry. You worked hard for that money and there is no reason you shouldn’t have it now. But it’s important not to panic when something goes wrong with your retirement or pension fund. That’s because in most cases, it’s a simple misunderstanding that needs to be addressed and corrected. Sometimes it takes legal action and the help of an experienced lawyer to get it resolved. But the important thing to know is that help is available and those dreams for your retirement aren’t dead.