Western States Pension Assistance Project wins survivor's benefit for widow
When Vicki Lloyd’s family learned that her husband had a terminal illness, they wanted to make sure that Vicki was taken care of after he died. So they contacted her husband’s pension plan to ensure that Vicki would receive the 75 percent joint-and-survivor annuity that her husband had chosen. Vicki and her family were stunned to learn that, according to her husband’s pension plan, Vicki was not eligible to receive her husband’s pension because he had not begun receiving it prior to his death.
Unsure of her rights, Vicki’s son conducted an online search and found the Western States Pension Assistance Project. After learning of Vicki’s case, Western States Pension Assistance Project attorney Justin Freeborn sent a letter informing the pension plan that failing to honor Vicki’s husband’s benefit election was a violation of the Internal Revenue Code, which requires pension plans to honor participant benefit elections.
Less than a month later, and after her husband had died, Vicki was contacted by the pension plan and was informed that that it would honor her husband’s benefit election. As a result of the work of the Western States Pension Assistance Project, Vicki will now receive a monthly survivor’s benefit of $200 for the rest of her life.
Learn about the Western States Pension Assistance Project.
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Each state retirement system has its own rules relating to the division of state employees' pensions in divorce proceedings. Learn the rules for each state by reading our fact sheet, State Retirement Plans and Divorce.