Do You Have a Lost Pension? Here's How to Find and Claim It

If you are like many people, you may have worked for a number of different companies during the course of your employment years. Of course, that means you very likely contributed to a variety of retirement plans or pensions at each of those places of employment. In that situation, you can easily forget that you had such a plan in which you and the company contributed funds to which you are entitled. Once your date of retirement approaches, those funds may suddenly pop back into your mind because your status triggers your memory.

At this time, you will no doubt want to recover all possible sources of income in your name. Because you paid into the retirement plans or pensions at all these other previous jobs, you are entitled to them, even if there is very little money to be recovered. They are yours and you can add them to your chief retirement plan or pension as you plan to retire. There are a few steps you must take toward being able to find your missing retirement plans or pension accounts so that you can file claims for them. They are outlined below.

Contact Your Previous Employers

Perhaps the very first step toward locating all of your lost pensions is to get in touch with your previous employers from over the years. Make an inquiry to each of them about your situation and explain in detail. Although the people who worked there when you did may be retired as well or moved on to different companies, you can always still get hooked up with human resources, which stores all the records of their previous employees. In addition, pension funds are professionally managed, which means your previous employers can give you contact information for the companies or individuals who manage your fund. This is one of the easiest steps toward recovering the retirement funds or pensions you had in your previous jobs.

Get in Touch with Previous Coworkers and Supervisors

Unfortunately, there may be times when it’s not possible to contact your previous place of employment. If the company has gone out of business or changed its name and you cannot determine what the current name is, you can instead reach out to your previous coworkers and supervisors. Perhaps you kept in touch with some of them to use them as references for other job opportunities or kept their contact information in general. However, if you don’t have their contact information readily on hand, you may be able to use LinkedIn to get in touch with them.

Check for Unclaimed Property Through Your State

If you are unable to contact your former places of employment or get in touch with your former coworkers and supervisors, there is another option you can use to locate your lost pensions or retirement funds. Use your state’s unclaimed property department to track them down. Every state has its own department for unclaimed property. Most of them also have a database on their official state website on which you can perform a search for free. You may more easily be able to locate your lost pensions this way because financial institutions are required to report any unclaimed assets to their state’s unclaimed property department. Your pension or retirement plan is considered to be an “unclaimed asset” if the financial institution has been unable to contact you via phone, mail or email over the course of the last 12 months. However, it’s important to bear in mind that you will have to search through the databases of all states in which you resided over the years. Some states have easier systems than others, so there may be different means for searching for your lost pension.

Hire an Asset Locator

If by some chance none of the other options seem to work for you, the last resort is to hire an asset locator to track down your lost pension. Of course, you will have to pay a fee for the service, but it is usually low and can deliver better results than your own efforts. If you are due to receive a significant amount of money from your pension, a small fee is certainly worth it.

By following these steps, you will have all the funds that are due to you. Some of these can really add up when combined with the pension you already have, making for a nice nest egg.

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