The Pension Rights Project
Pensions often are critical in helping older Americans maintain financial security and independence. Because many retired individuals experience problems in accessing the pension benefits they are entitled to, the U. S. Administration on Aging funds several regional Pension Counseling Projects, one of which helps Pennsylvania workers, retirees and their families with pension problems.
Any Pennsylvania resident can contact the Pension Rights Project at 1-866-735-7737 for assistance with a pension problem, at no charge. The Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Helpline is proud to be a partner of this regional pension counseling project.
In addition, people who are not Pennsylvania residents but who are seeking retirement benefits from a Pennsylvania-based company or employment can contact the Pension Rights Project for help.
The Pension Rights Project handles a variety of issues related to pension benefits, including eligibility and vesting, military pensions, union pensions, 401(k) plans, and survivor, divorce and common-law marriage pension benefits. The Project will pursue pension questions and problems through the administrative process. In cases where litigation is required, the Pension Rights Project may be able to assist people in finding a pension attorney to bring their case to court.
Lost pensions are a common problem. Individuals who worked for a company prior to a merger or before it went out of business often have no idea how to apply for pension benefits because the company has moved, changed names or closed down.
Another common problem affects surviving and divorced spouses who may not know what pension benefits they are entitled to or how to get them. In one case, a widow was told by her deceased husband’s employer that she would get nothing from her late husband’s pension. Then she contacted the Pension Rights Project. The Project told her that she was in fact entitled to survivor’s benefits and requested the benefits from the company on her behalf. As a result, the company reversed its position, and the widow began receiving her benefits.
The Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Helpline is a member of the Pension Rights Project. The Project also serves Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Special thanks to Gail Webb at Pro Seniors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping older Ohions maintain their independence by empowering them, by protecting their interests, and by helping them access resources, for her assistance with this article.