RELEASE E. William FitzGerald, Director
October 4, 2000 Communications &
Gary Pastorius, Public Affairs Officer
Pension Search Program Finds 6,600 People Owed $21 Million; $27
Million Still Unclaimed
launching its Pension Search Directory
on the Internet in December 1996, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
(PBGC) has located some 6,600 people eligible for $21 million in
pension benefits. This includes about 4,800 people owed $10 million
who were found in the past year. In that period, 6,800 new names
were added to the Directory, for a total of 12,000 missing pension
plan participants. Altogether, they have $27 million coming from
plans that companies terminated before all beneficiaries could be
of Internet technology helps PBGC carry out its fundamental mission
-- making sure workers receive every dollar of their hard-earned
pensions," said PBGC Executive Director David M. Strauss. "As
more and more people have access to the Web, many are getting the
chance to check out the Pension Search Directory to see if theres
unclaimed retirement money waiting for them or someone they know."
The 6,600 people
located to date by the Pension Search Program come from 48 states,
the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Over half are from five
states: 1,089 in New York; 969 in California; 399 in Ohio; 376 in
Pennsylvania; and 374 in Texas. Benefits for those found averaged
$4,200, ranging from $2.00 to $111,000.
Of the 12,000
missing participants in the Pension Search Directory, over half
are from six states: 2,038 in California; 1,901 in New York; 840
in Texas; 609 in New Jersey; 608 in Michigan and 607 in Illinois.
Their benefits average about $2,600, ranging from under $1.00 to
$196,000. The Directory also includes unlocated people who may be
able to document that they are owed a benefit, even though current
PBGC records show that no benefit is due.
find their names in the Pension Search Directory, they provide more
personal details to PBGC for verification of identity, including
proof of age and other vital statistics. The identification process
generally takes 4-6 weeks. After PBGC receives a completed application,
people eligible for a benefit begin receiving checks within two
months. Those entitled to future benefits will receive them when
they reach retirement age.
Many of the
names in the Pension Search Directory are workers with pensions
whose former employers closed pension plans and distributed benefits.
Others are workers or retirees missing from underfunded pension
plans taken over by PBGC because the plans did not have enough money
to pay benefits. To avoid becoming a missing pension plan participant,
workers should hold on to any pension-related information and make
sure to tell their employer when they move or change names.
missing participants, the Pension Search Program combines the efforts
of the general public using the Internet with those of PBGC staff
working with the latest electronic technology and software. PBGC
does not endorse firms that offer to find missing pension benefits
for a fee because the information is available free from many sources
including the Pension Search Directory. Other free sources are listed
in "Finding A Lost Pension," a booklet that explains the
kinds of information needed for a search, suggests potential allies
and details numerous information sources. It is available on the
Click on Lost Pensions. You may also write PBGCs Communications
and Public Affairs Dept., 1200 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20005-4026.
PBGC is a federal
corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security
Act of 1974 to guarantee payment of basic pension benefits earned
by about 43 million American workers and retirees participating
in nearly 40,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The
agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are
financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor
pension plans and investment returns.
-- PBGC Pension Search Program, State Data as of October 4, 2000
PBGC No. 01-03