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Pension Counseling and Information Projects

A predictable and secure pension provides peace of mind and improves your life in many ways. Pension income increases your financial freedom and expands choices related to your health, lifestyle, and independence well beyond retirement age. Pension counseling and information projects provide free legal assistance and can help you understand your rights, make informed decisions, and claim earned benefits.

Run by local nonprofits, pension counseling and information projects are funded in 30 states under the Older Americans Act through a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging. Legal training and support are provided by the National Pension Assistance Resource Center, an initiative of the Pension Rights Center.

Counseling Benefits

Pension plans and laws are complex and difficult to navigate without assistance from a knowledgeable source. Corporate mergers, bankruptcies, and changes in personal circumstances can complicate things further. Pension counseling projects fill a unique and unmet need—direct, specialized assistance provided at no charge and regardless of your age or income. Trustworthy counselors are professional and well trained.

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Plan Diversity

Pension counseling projects can help you regardless of the type of work you performed and the type of pension plan you have. Counselors can assist with retirement income plans offered by private and government employers, including the common plans below.

  • Traditional “defined benefit” pension plan
  • Cash balance or other “hybrid” pension plan
  • 401(k), 403(b), or 457 “defined contribution” plan
  • Money purchase or other profit-sharing plan

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Personalized Assistance

Pension counselors provide assistance based on your unique needs. In addition to tracking down benefits from past employers, they can correct pension miscalculations and help you appeal denied claims. Counselors can also obtain and explain complex retirement plan publications and forms. They can address questions about pension laws and provide referrals to lawyers, actuaries, and other professionals as needed.

Common Questions

Pension counseling projects can address a vast range of questions, including:

  • Am I entitled to a pension?
  • What happens to my pension when I change employers?
  • Can I claim my pension from a company that has merged with another or gone bankrupt?
  • What happens to my pension when I die? What happens to my spouse’s pension?
  • Can I receive pension benefits from my ex-spouse?
  • What if my pension is miscalculated or denied?

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Contact a Project

You may contact the pension counseling project serving the state where you live or work, where you lived or worked while earning the pension, or where the company or plan is located now or when the pension was earned. Find the project for you at

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Learn More

Pension Rights Center

Pension Help America

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