Unclaimed Retirement Benefits: Missing Pension Search

Pension plan administrators are often unable to locate lost employees or missing beneficiaries who have moved or changed name over the years, and companies owing unclaimed pension benefits may have moved, change name, merged or gone bankrupt, making them difficult to trace.

To further complicate matters in many cases pension obligations have been transferred to a successor company after a merger or bankruptcy.

Because many private pension plans are federally insured, even if a company dissolved or went bankrupt it may be possible to receive unclaimed benefits. Furthermore, The Retirement Equity Act of 1984 provides for benefits to be paid to surviving spouses. Spouses of deceased workers who did not opt out, therefore, should initiate a search if they feel they may be entitled to benefits not received.

The Pension Search Program, initiated in 1996, attempts to locate those entitled to unclaimed pension benefits. More than 36,000 employees are eligible to claim $300 million in pension benefits from terminated defined benefit pension plans have not been located. The maximum benefit payable is currently over $45,000 per year.

Note: The rules for IRAs and 401(k) plans are different; for assistance tracing these types of retirement accounts go to: Unclaimed 401k Search or Missing IRA Search.

If you have reason to believe you are entitled to an unclaimed pension, either as the employee or spouse, but have had no contact with the company and have not received payment, complete the form below to initiate a search.

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