In early December, a 68 year-old woman living on a modest income in Vermont called the New England Pension Assistance Project after finding our website. She was frustrated because she thought she was entitled to a pension, but had no idea how to find it. She told us that she had belonged to the District 65 Union, and had worked as a machine operator in three union shops in New York for about 15 years ending in the mid-1980s. She only remembered the name of one of her former employers, and she had no documentation except a union card from 1980. She knew that the union office had been on Astor Place in New York City. She knew that it was no longer there, but apart from that, she could not provide us with any information about her possible pension entitlement.
The case was assigned to Renee Summers, one of our counselors. She began to investigate and found that District 65 had become a unit of the United Auto Workers in 1981. After extensive follow-up, she learned that the District 65 UAW Pension Plan had been terminated and that benefits were being paid through a third-party administrator in New Jersey. She then contacted this third-party administrator and found that the client was in their records, and was entitled to a retirement benefit of $225 per month. This benefit will be paid retroactive to her 65th birthday. It is very unlikely that she would have found this money without NEPAP’s assistance. The retroactive lump sum and the ongoing monthly lifetime benefit, with a projected lifetime value of over $60,000, will have a significant impact on our client’s life and on her economic security.