Keep Your Pensions From Job to Job

Although pensions aren’t as common as they used to be, they’re still available, and a lot of employees who are looking ahead to retirement pay consistently into these pensions through their employer. Different from other retirement plans that people are aware of, pensions don’t offer the option of being transferred, or “rolled over”, to a new plan when you start a new job. Your employer holds the reins when it comes to your pension, but depending on the details of your contract, it’s possible that you can still collect those benefits when you actually retire.

When you find new employment, you may be wondering whether you can still have access to your pension from your previous job because you’ve been counting on that money for your later years. So, if you did contribute to a pension through an employer you’re no longer serving, there are things you can to do find out whether you can gain access to the money you’ve paid in and believe you should have coming to supplement retirement.

Review Your Vesting Schedule

The vesting schedule is the first thing to check if you’re trying to find out whether you can access pension funds from an old employer. This is a time guideline that your old employer has in place to determine how long you have to serve at your job before you’re allowed to lay claim to your pension.

There are differing schedules available. At some jobs, you have to work for a lot of years and put money into your pension account on a regular basis in order to qualify. If you haven’t worked there long enough, you may lose all access to the funds in your account. Other companies will fully vest their employees as soon as a couple of years into employment, while some offer an incremental percentage that’s calculated by the number of years worked.

In order to determine whether or not you qualify to receive your pension from a past employer, you’ll need to look over the paperwork that explains the vesting schedule and stipulations that were part of your employment package when you signed on. In some cases, employees discover that despite paying into a pension plan, they didn’t work the required number of years and forfeit their rights to that money.

Be Aware of Benefits

Although it requires effort on your part, be proactive in following your benefits. If you don’t stay aware, you can find out too late that you won’t have funds you’ve planned for.

When you resign from a job, go to the HR department and ask for paperwork explaining your pension benefits so you can find out if you are vested and can access those funds later. If you change addresses or phone numbers, be sure to update that previous employer with your current information so that you’ll be privy to any updates. It’s easier to remember to follow your benefits if you make it a habit to check up on them whenever you’re handling other financial matters.

Request Benefits Through Your Previous Employer

In order to receive your pension benefits at retirement, you’ll have to take steps as it won’t happen on its own. Generally speaking, you’ll go back to the old employer through whom you’ve earned a pension and apply to receive the funds. As your retirement draws near, ask that past employer to give you the appropriate paperwork and necessary information.

Those who have paid into a pension fund through employers want to get those benefits when they retire. Sometimes they’re dependent on that money to supplement their income; sometimes they just want to have the extra cushion that money provides. As you plan for your own retirement, remember to follow the right steps in order to guarantee that you’ll be able to claim the money that you’ve put into any pensions. Stay aware of your benefits and any updates to them, and when your golden years approach, apply following the process given to you by your previous employer.

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