How Can I Find if I’m Owed Pension Money?

How to Find Out If You Are Owed Pension Money

In the maze of retirement planning, one common question is how to determine if you are owed pension benefits from previous employment. This is especially pertinent if your former employer went out of business or if the pension plan was terminated. Fortunately, there are resources designed to assist individuals in tracking down any pension money they might be owed.

Contact the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a U.S. government agency that protects the retirement incomes of over 35 million American workers in private-sector pension plans. If a pension plan is terminated because the employer falls into financial hardship, the PBGC steps in to take over the payment of pension benefits. Here’s how you can reach out to them:

  • Phone Inquiry: You can call the PBGC at 1-800-326-5678 to inquire if they are holding any pension benefits under your name.
  • Email Contact: Alternatively, you can send an email to [email protected]. When sending an email, include essential information such as your full name, address, daytime phone number, Social Security number, date of birth, and details of your former employer including the name and address. This information helps the PBGC to accurately identify any benefits that may belong to you.

Using the PBGC’s Online Search Tool

The PBGC also offers an online search tool where you can check if you are entitled to unclaimed pension benefits. This searchable database is freely accessible on the PBGC website and can be used to search by name, company, or state where the company was located. This tool is particularly useful if you have worked for multiple employers or if you have lost track of a pension that was earned years ago.

Consult an Independent Fee-Only Financial Adviser

Understanding your pension entitlements can sometimes be complex, especially if you have multiple pensions from different employers. An independent Fee-Only financial adviser can be invaluable in helping you navigate this area. They can offer personalized advice and assistance in reviewing your current pension benefits, understanding your rights, and even in tracking down any lost or forgotten pensions.

What to Do If You Find Unclaimed Pension Money

If you discover that you are owed pension benefits:

  • Verify your identity: You may need to provide documentation to prove your identity and your claim to the pension.
  • Decide on payment options: Depending on the plan, you might have options on how you want to receive your pension benefits, such as a lump sum or as regular payments.
  • Consider tax implications: Discuss with a Fee-Only financial adviser or a tax professional to understand how receiving these benefits might impact your financial situation, especially concerning taxes.


Finding out if you are owed pension money can provide a significant boost to your retirement resources. Agencies like the PBGC play a critical role in protecting pension benefits and assisting individuals in claiming what is rightfully theirs. Always ensure your employment history is well-documented and periodically check if there are any benefits you might be entitled to, particularly if any of your previous employers have ceased operations or encountered financial difficulties. An independent Fee-Only financial adviser can also help you review your current pension benefits. 

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