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Just How Accurate Is Your Social Security Benefit Estimate?

Just How Accurate Is Your Social Security Benefit Estimate?

Each year the Social Security Administration (SSA) mails about 15 million benefit estimate Statements to persons age 60 or older who are not receiving Social Security benefits and do not have an online Social Security account. The Statement is also available online to individuals age 18 or older. Among other things, the Statement provides workers with their earnings record and a personalized estimate of their future Social Security retirement benefits. But just how accurate are those benefit estimates? A recent…

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Million Dollar Pension Dispute Highlights Importance of Designating a Beneficiary

Million Dollar Pension Dispute Highlights Importance of Designating a Beneficiary

When a vested pension plan participant dies without having named a beneficiary, there is bound to be litigation as to who is entitled to the participant’s pension benefits. Kinder Morgan, Inc. v Crout, No. 19-20037 (5th Cir. May 18, 2020) is just such a case. In Kinder, Danny Lee Crout was an employee of Kinder Morgan Inc. and participated in its retirement Savings Plan until his death in 2016. As of his passing, Danny’s account balance under the Plan totaled…

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Employers Must INDEFINITELY Maintain Records Sufficient to Determine Their Employees’ Pension Eligibility

Employers Must INDEFINITELY Maintain Records Sufficient to Determine Their Employees’ Pension Eligibility

I cannot tell you how many times over the years pension plan participants have called me to complain that their employer or pension plan administrator has told them they cannot find documents needed to determine whether they are eligible for a pension and, if so, the amount. That is ridiculous! Under §209 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), employers must maintain records with respect to each of their employees sufficient to determine any benefits which are, or may…

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Beware Before You Sign a Separation Agreement: It Could Impact Your Pension Benefits

Beware Before You Sign a Separation Agreement: It Could Impact Your Pension Benefits

In conjunction with an employee’s separation of employment, employers frequently ask the employee to sign a separation agreement in exchange for a sum of money, assistance in finding another job, or some other consideration. For many employees, the lure of the money motivates them to sign the separation agreement. However, most separation agreements include a broad release of claims against the employer and its agents, affiliates, representatives, employees and other related individuals and entities. If you later discover that your…

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