Missing Pensions Costly to Retirees

Think you're owed a pension, but no check is in the mail? Here's how to track down your benefits.

Image of selective focus shot of magnifying glass and hundred dollars bills
(Image credit: TheaDesign)

People who have earned a defined-benefit pension seem to be in an enviable position -- retiring with the promise of a steady income stream for life. But it's not so enviable if the promised benefits don't show up. And an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor is finding that many retirees aren't getting the benefits they've earned.

Since last summer, the Labor Department has opened investigations into more than four dozen large pension plans, with eye-opening results: Some do a very poor job keeping track of retired participants and paying benefits when they're owed. In some cases, plans don't even have the names or ages of many of their participants.

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Eleanor Laise
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Laise covers retirement issues ranging from income investing and pension plans to long-term care and estate planning. She joined Kiplinger in 2011 from the Wall Street Journal, where as a staff reporter she covered mutual funds, retirement plans and other personal finance topics. Laise was previously a senior writer at SmartMoney magazine. She started her journalism career at Bloomberg Personal Finance magazine and holds a BA in English from Columbia University.