By Emily Spreiser
May is Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme is “Age Out Loud.” The theme reflects the fact that today’s older Americans are vocal, engaged, and play essential roles within their communities. They are taking charge by speaking up and advocating for themselves and for others.
To help older Americans advocate for themselves, the Pension Rights Center provides a number of online resources that enable individuals to be proactive about protecting their rights to their earned retirement benefits. They educate individuals about the laws relating to retirement plans, help them search for lost retirement benefits, and connect them with attorneys who can work with them to challenge retirement benefit denials.
These resources include the many fact sheets available on the Pension Rights Center’s website on topics such as what documents to hold on to, what happens to retirement benefits during a divorce, and how to keep track of a pension. They also include PensionHelp America, an online tool that helps retirees get in contact with a variety of organizations that can help them stand up to plans that have denied them retirement benefits they have earned.
Another excellent resource for older Americans seeking to understand or exercise their rights under the laws regulating retirement benefits is the 30-state Pension Counseling and Information Program, which provides legal services to anyone entitled to a retirement plan benefit. The PCIP has recovered more than $228 million in retirement benefits for its clients. The PCIP consists of attorneys and staff who have amassed a wealth of knowledge through years of working in the complex field of pension law.
PCIP staff provide free legal assistance to future and current retirees on their rights, help clients locate documents so they can understand their benefits, advocate on behalf of their clients through retirement plans’ internal claims and appeals processes, and, when appropriate, connect them to private attorneys for further advice and assistance.
Today’s retirees aren’t just sitting back when they aren’t sure they’re receiving all the retirement benefits they earned. They’re acting out loud by making sure that they stay informed about their rights and getting in touch with their retirement plans to inquire about their benefits.
Older Americans Month is sponsored by the Administration for Community Living. Throughout the month we will post facts and statistics about retirement on our Twitter and Facebook pages. We hope you will follow along.