Mistakes are Often Made with Your Retirement Benefits from Your Employer - Make Sure You Get All Your Benefits
Employees should not accept everything they are told by the Human Resources/Benefits Department of their corporation. It is best to investigate and check what your corporation offers you, they do make mistakes. We have encountered a number of situations where employees were given wrong information by their own Human Resources/Benefits Departments. Below are three employees we were able to help receive their full benefits. The employee names have been changed to guard their privacy.
Betty was an hourly employee of a Fortune 500 Defense Contractor working on a NASA contract. When NASA changed contractors, Betty was laid off from Contractor A and hired by Contractor B. Betty was a participant in a 401(k) savings plan for hourly employees at Contractor A. Since she was leaving Contractor A, Betty decided to Rollover her 401(k) plan to an IRA. When she contacted the Benefits Section of her recent employer she was told by their Benefits phone reps that participation in the hourly 401(k) meant that she was not allowed to do a Rollover of her lump sum savings. When Betty challenged them the phone reps were confident and adamant, “no Rollover option for hourly employees,” they repeated. Betty contacted Retirement Specialists for help with this impasse; with our help she was able to access her lump sum and perform the Rollover to an IRA.
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Luke was a technical writer for a Fortune 500 Defense Contractor. After several decades of service Luke choose a retirement date and made plans to live in Germany and enjoy retirement abroad. Luke knew that Medicare does not cover Americans traveling or living abroad so his employers Retiree Medical plan was an essential part of his retirement abroad plan.
Bob was a computer programmer for a Fortune 500 Defense Contractor. Due to the loss of a Federal contract Bob was laid off after 18 years of service. Bob met with us to make sure he made the best choices with his 401k. After helping Bob with his 401k, we recommended he check his pension benefits. “I am only 40 years old, I won’t use that pension for another 20 years, why should I worry about it now,” Bob said. “Because, records get lost, companies merge, get bought out, and go out of business”, we said. “It would be far easier to fix any problems now than 20 years later.” With our help, Bob inquired about his pension and was shocked when he was told that he only had 5 years of credited service for his pension. “Five years, I have worked here 18 years, where are my other 13 years!” Bob exclaimed. After not getting any help from the Pension & 401k office of the Human Resources department, Bob met with us a second time. With help from Retirement Specialists Incorporated, Bob was able to get the problem corrected and he was credited with 18 years of service towards his pension.
Jim was an engineer for a Fortune 500 Defense Contractor working on a NASA contract. When NASA changed contractors, Jim was laid off from Contractor A and hired by Contractor B. Because he was changing jobs, Jim desired to Rollover his pension as a lump sum into an IRA, instead of taking it as an annuity when he was older. When Jim contacted the Benefits Department of his previous employer he was told by their Benefits phone reps that participation in the specific pension plan he had been enrolled in did not allow lump sum withdrawals. The annuity payout was the only option allowed. When Jim challenged them, the phone reps were confident and adamant, “no lump sum option is allowed from this pension,” they stubbornly repeated. Jim contacted Retirement Specialists for help with this impasse. We had a copy of the Summary Plan Description (SPD) for his specific pension in our 401(k) and Pension Library. From studying the details of his pension plan, we knew that the lump sum rollover from his pension was a valid option. With our help Jim was able to access his pension lump sum and roll it over to an IRA.