After decades of devoting your time and talents to a particular company, your pension benefits help to ensure you are provided for in the future. Unfortunately, these types of benefits are becoming increasingly scarce among employers. Those who do offer them are finding themselves in the predicament of not being able to pay. For years now, Illinois and other states have faced a looming pension crisis, which was only made worse by the coronavirus pandemic. For workers, it is important to be aware of the seriousness of the situation and your rights in the event you are denied your pension benefits.
Pensions were once one of the most common types of benefits provided by employers. Today, many companies no longer offer them, opting instead to make contributions to 401k and other types of retirement plans. One of the reasons jobs with pension plans are hard to come by is that there have been increasing concerns over difficulties employers face in funding these programs, which leads to problems in making payments.
Illinois has been experiencing an ongoing pension crisis for the last several years, much of it focusing on state employee plans. According to the non-profit group, IllinoisPolicy.org, state pension debt reached a record of $111 billion in 2015. This prompted lawmakers to attempt to modify the amount to which retiring state workers were entitled. The effort failed and the problem has continued to grow. Tax increases may be required in order to satisfy the debt and to pay off any new pension claims.
While government workers are among those most at risk, other pensioned employees could face problems, as well. Decreased profits due to the coronavirus pandemic only make funding pension benefits more difficult. As a result, more employees are likely to find their pensions either denied or reduced.
Fortunately, federal laws in place help to protect your benefits and provide you with recourse in the event problems arise. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 provides guidelines for how employers manage and administer various types of employee benefit programs, including pension benefits.
ERISA provides guidelines for appealing denied pension claims. It also created the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which acts as an insurance program, protecting pension benefits. Employers pay a certain amount to participate and in return, the PBGC guarantees protection for pension plan participants.
At Bartolic Law, we provide the trusted legal guidance and aggressive representation you need to get the pension benefits to which you are entitled. Contact our Chicago ERISA attorney to request a consultation today.