CHICAGO – A partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has recovered almost $1.5 million for participants in two terminated Chicago-based pension plans.
EBSA’s Chicago Regional Office and PBGC are focusing on tracking down about 1,200 participants entitled to benefits under the Hartmarx Retirement Income Plan and the United Airlines Ground Employees’ Retirement Plan. As part of bankruptcy proceedings, PBGC took responsibility for the Hartmarx plan when it terminated in 2009, and for the United Airlines Ground Employees’ Retirement Plan in 2005. Of the 1,200 missing participants, 100 are age 65 or older, and currently eligible to receive their benefits from the plans.
“There are more than a thousand participants owed pension benefits whom we’re working to locate,” said Jeffrey Monhart, EBSA’s Regional Director in Chicago. “Teaming up with PBGC enhances our efforts to find eligible participants in these two retirement pension plans, as well as other plans to ensure they receive the benefits they are rightfully entitled to and worked so hard to earn.”
Together, EBSA’s Chicago Regional Office and PBGC is also working to locate participants in northern Illinois, northern Indiana and Wisconsin who earned benefits under terminated pension plans that are now administered by PBGC. Read more about how EBSA and PBGC helped one retiree to recover his pension here.
Jennifer Messina, director of PBGC’s Participant Services Department said: “The partnership between PBGC and EBSA’s Chicago Regional Office has increased our ability to reunite pensioners with their benefits. This collaboration leverages the capabilities of both agencies to fulfill our collective mission to ensure that people receive the pensions they are owed.”
EBSA is one of several federal agencies responsible for administering provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 which provides certain protections and guarantees for participants and beneficiaries in private-sector employee pension and welfare benefit plans.
Under ERISA, PBGC serves as an insurer of private-sector defined benefit pension plans. Participants can be “missing” when employers transfer private-sector pension plans to PBGC because the plan did not have current contact information for these participants or these participants have changed addresses since the transfer. In some instances, the participants may not even be aware they are entitled to benefits.
If you believe you are entitled to benefits under the Hartmarx Retirement Income Plan, the United Airlines Ground Employees’ Retirement Plan, or any other retirement plan and would like assistance, please contact PBGC’s customer contact center at 800-400-7242 or EBSA’s Chicago Regional Office at 312-353-0900 or toll-free at 866-444-3272. For more information or to search the unclaimed pension search, please visit https://www.pbgc.gov/search/unclaimed-pensions or http://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa.