South Central Pension Rights Project helps widow claim survivor benefit from Monsanto
Naomi Francisco’s husband worked as an engineer for Monsanto for 35 years and began receiving his pension in 1985. When her husband passed away, the payments suddenly stopped. Wondering why, Naomi contacted Monsanto’s benefit center and was told that her husband had elected a single-life annuity with no survivor benefit. Naomi was shocked because she knew that her husband had chosen to receive a joint-and-survivor annuity, which would continue paying her benefits after his death. After receiving Monsanto's response, Naomi contacted her financial advisor. The financial advisor wrote several letters to the plan administrator and was told the same thing – Naomi was not entitled to a benefit.
Stumped, Naomi's financial advisor contacted the South Central Pension Rights Project and provided them with several documents. One of these documents, a “Statement of Estimated Benefits”, had been provided to Naomi's husband when he reached retirement age and confirmed that he had chosen a joint-and-survivor annuity, not a single-life annuity. After reviewing the documents, the South Central Pension Rights Project contacted the plan administrator on Naomi's behalf, claiming a right to a survivor benefit.
After being contacted by the South Central Pension Rights Project, the plan administrator admitted to misfiling plan documents and providing Naomi with inaccurate information. As a result, the plan administrator told Naomi that she was entitled to a survivor benefit. In December 2010, less than three months after Naomi's financial advisor first contacted the South Central Pension Rights Project, Mrs. Francisco received a retroactive payment of more than $5,500 and began receiving monthly payments of $801.70, nearly doubling her monthly income.
Looking for help with your retirement plan?
If you have a problem with your retirement plan, free help may be available from the U.S. Administration on Aging's network of Pension Counseling and Information Projects. Find help now.
PensionHelp America connects people who need help with their pension, 401(k), and other retirement plans with the pension counseling projects, legal services providers, and government agencies that can help answer their questions. Visit www.pensionhelp.org.
Get E-mail Updates
Retirement USA is a national initiative that is working for a new retirement system that, along with Social Security, will provide universal, secure, and adequate income for future retirees. Visit the website.
Did You Know?
A lump sum distribution is a method of paying benefits from a pension plan in which a participant's entire beenfit is paid out in a one-time payment. Lump sum distributions are sometimes called cash outs.