The Illinois Pension Assistance Project (IPAP) has recovered nearly half a million dollars in pension benefits for clients since its inception in July of 2012. One of the project’s areas of expertise is finding lost pensions. Workers and retirees can lose track of their pension benefits since, over time, companies may have gone bankrupt or changed ownership through mergers and acquisitions. Therefore, it is not uncommon for these companies’ retirement benefits to become lost.
For example, a 52-year old Illinois resident recently contacted IPAP asking for help locating his pension. The company he worked for from 1984 – 1999 had gone out of business and he did not know who to contact regarding his retirement benefits. The only documentation that the client had was a statement that he had received in 1995 stating that his pension plan had been frozen, as of December 31, 1994, and that he was entitled to a monthly pension at age 65.
The case was assigned to Teresa Ryan, one of the pension counselors on staff. She began to research his former employer, Sullivan Graphics. She found out that the company had changed its name to American Color Graphics in 1997 and, as of 2008, had been a subsidiary of Vertis Holdings. Vertis filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Due to the bankruptcy, The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation had trusteed the plan. Teresa was able to obtain the summary plan description and other information about the client’s benefits.
Teresa informed the client how he could obtain his benefit. It is estimated that he will be eligible for a retirement benefit of $512.98 per month at age 65. It would have been very difficult for the client to navigate his way through the investigative process that led to this positive outcome. Our client can now look forward to a more financially secure retirement.