Free answers to your pension questions
I have written often about retirement benefits in general, and about pension plans and retirement plans in particular. A very helpful resource to me in writing these columns has been the Pension Rights Center, a national consumer organization that works to protect the retirement income security of workers, retirees and their families.
The Pension Rights Center also provides services, including legal help, at no cost to individuals who contact them regarding issues related to their pension plans and retirement accounts.
The center has recently revised its website (pensionrights.org), which will help those with questions or problems related to their pension plans and retirement accounts.
I recommend that you visit the center’s website and review the services it provides, and also read about some of the subjects its staff members are monitoring.
For example, they have given updates on a new law that protects workers and retirees in underfunded multi-employer plans, and summarized government warnings about allowing 401(k) plans to consider investments in cryptocurrency.
Scam warnings and more
They have also recently covered the latest scams. At the website, you’ll find an excellent blog that explains current scams, as well as resources that can provide for more information.
To avoid becoming a scam victim, don’t agree to receive or send money or unsolicited items from or to people you don’t know from your 401(k) or other sources; don’t send money to anyone you know even if they send you money first; and don’t pay money upfront to collect a prize or lottery winnings.
If someone you don’t know, such as an unsolicited phone or online contact, asks you to accept money and send it to someone else, you should refuse and stop communication.
(Further tips for identifying and avoiding what is known as “money mule scams” can be found on the American Bankers Association’s website, aba.com.)
Other services available
Here are some specifics on the services the center provides.
—The U.S. Administration for Community Living’s Pension Counseling and Information Program. One of the important areas in which the center helps individuals is dealing with problems related to their pension or retirement savings plans. This program serves individuals in 31 states [unfortunately, not Maryland, D.C., or Virginia, but see next paragraph]. Free legal assistance is provided. If you have an outstanding problem or issue, you can find help by going to pensionrights.org/find-help.
—PensionHelp America. Even if you reside outside the 31 states covered by the U.S. Administration for Community Living’s Pension Counseling and Information Program, you can still obtain help from other entities. See pensionhelp.org/help/counseling for details. You will be asked to provide detailed information, such as the company you work(ed) for, your ZIP Code, personal information such as birth date, marital status, income level and the number of members of your household. With this information, you will be referred to agencies and attorneys who can assist you.
—The National Pension Lawyers Network (NPLN). If you need an attorney to assist you regarding pensions and retirement plans, you can use this free referral service, which connects workers and retirees with private attorneys who can help individuals understand and enforce their pension and retirement plan rights.
A note to attorneys and actuaries: If you are willing to volunteer with NPLN, your services are welcome. Please contact the Pension Rights Center for information regarding volunteering your services.
Bottom line: The Pension Rights Center stays up to date with all issues related to your pensions and retirement plans. Its staff is professional and well educated. If you take advantage of its services, you will not incur any fees.
The center’s staff works very closely with legislators who are sponsoring legislation that affects your pensions and retirement plans. The center’s website is a dynamic one, and will include all of the latest information that impacts your pensions and retirement plans.
© 2022 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.