Retirees everywhere know how important it is to claim those earned retirement funds you are entitled to. Those funds you receive from former employers, or monies you set aside long ago in a contributory retirement account, are all a very important part of making up your budget and retirement more comfortable.
It’s money that you earned, and you deserve to enjoy it in your retirement.
However, many people don’t realize that they might have some unclaimed funds floating out there, just sitting in your former employer’s accounts, and waiting to be claimed.
If you want to reclaim, what is rightfully yours, here is some guidance.
The number one thing you should do, is contact any previous employer’s HR Department because unless you claim these assets you will likely be lost… This could be tricky though, because in some cases, your former employer might not even exist anymore.
Companies change, close, get acquired, go out of business and getting access to those benefits can then become increasingly difficult, so the earlier you act the better.
It’s also important when you contact your former employer to stay on the phone with them until all your questions are addressed and you know what happened to your pension.
A second way to find these forgotten benefits is through the internet. There are many websites and resources out there for you to find these forgotten retirement accounts.
One website is the National Registry of Unclaimed Benefits. This is a free service that will identify if you have any unclaimed benefits out there. Also be careful of companies soliciting that for a fee they can do the detective work for you. The costs can sometimes be rather large for the small and rather simple administrative task performed by them.
Instead, go online or call the unclaimed funds office at the State Comptroller’s office where you lived or worked, to see if assets belonging to you, or a deceased spouse could be just sitting there looking to be claimed.
Often times after five years, when a company can does not reach you, they will convey these to regulators to oversee until the owner steps forward.
American Retiree recently spoke to a young women in the State of Connecticut, whose mother had passed away about 7 years earlier. During the parent’s career as a counselor working for different hospitals and non-profit groups, she had set aside sufficient funds in contributory plans for retirement, but sadly did not live to enjoy it.
While estate attorneys will try to search for and identify all assets for survivors, sometimes they can miss something. In this case it was two different accounts which were found through a basic search on the New York State Comptroller’s Missing Funds Division. The family had previously lived in the Empire State.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has in fact identified this as an important role of his office and that there is $17 billion in so-called “missing funds” owed to current or former New Yorkers or their heirs.
His office returns $1.5 million to verified claimants every single day, with over $336 million and counting returned in 2021 alone.
And finally, if all of this feels a bit overwhelming, you can always contact financial advisor to help. Often financial advisors know exactly where and how to look for these forgotten benefits and can help you in the quickest and most efficient way.
No matter what, make sure that no benefit goes unclaimed. Find those benefits and collect your checks.