The Pension Action Center at UMass Boston and the Center for Disability & Elder Law in Chicago have formed a new joint venture to promote and support free pension counseling services to Illinois retirees whose pension benefits have been wrongfully denied.

The collaboration is intended to improve education and outreach that will increase the number of clients served in Illinois. It will also increase philanthropic support for the pension-counseling program in the state.

“This is an exciting new opportunity to increase the visibility for our legal pension services to Illinois clients,” said PAC Director Jeanne Medeiros. “Outreach services using CDEL’s well-established network will help us assist more retirees faced with problems locating and obtaining the benefits they have earned.”

PAC, which is located in the McCormack Graduate School, extended its pension-counseling services beyond New England to Illinois in 2012.  Its services are offered through the Illinois Pension Action Project using counselors on the UMass Boston campus.

“We’re pleased to be working with the Pension Action Center and helping extend counseling services to more clients struggling to track down their pensions,” said Mark Hellner, executive director of CDEL. “For many people, the addition of even a modest benefit can make a big difference.”

PAC has been serving clients in the New England states since 1994. Over its history, the center has recovered more than $58 million in pension benefits. It charges no fees so clients receive all benefits recovered.

CDEL provides high quality legal services, pro bono, to low income seniors and persons with disabilities who reside in Chicago and Cook County. It strives to foster the spirit of pro bono service throughout the Chicago and Cook County legal communities.