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.
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A 401(k) plan is a retirement savings plan in which the benefit is based on contributions to an individual account and the investment return on those contributions. Typically, employees make contributions to the plan and, in many cases, employers match the employees' contributions. These plans are called defined contribution plans. In most 401(k) and other retirement savings plans, the employee is responsible for choosing among the investments offered by the plan. Other types of retirement savings plans are 403(b) and 457 plans.