Once you have found your trusteed pension plan and determined that you may have earned a benefit, the next step is to gather your documents and send them to PBGC. PBGC requires a copy of your Form SSA-L99-C1, Notice of Potential Private Retirement Benefit Information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or a letter from SSA stating they have no information. See Important documents to learn how to obtain one.
PBGC must verify certain information about you before we can consider whether you are entitled to a benefit payment. In particular, we will need to know your employment history, whether you were eligible to participate in the pension plan, whether you were vested in the plan benefit , and, importantly, make sure you have not already received your benefit in a lump sum payment.
Before contacting PBGC, please use the checklist below to gather as much of the following information as possible.
You must provide the following documents for PBGC to respond to your inquiry.
Tax returns for the year you terminated employment and the following year, as well as any year you may have received a lump-sum distribution.
Please provide at least one of these documents:
- A Notice of Potential Private Benefit Information (Form SSA-L99-C1) from the Social Security Administration that shows you earned a benefit in a defined benefit plan that has ended.
- A letter from your company stating you earned a vested benefit from a defined benefit plan.
If you do not have any of the above documents but are sure you earned a benefit in a defined benefit plan that has ended, please provide the following documents:
- Detailed earnings information from the Social Security Administration. (SSA charges a fee for this information, and PBGC cannot reimburse you. If you have a benefit in a terminated defined benefit plan, PBGC may be able to obtain this information for you.)
- Pay stubs.
- W-2 forms.
In addition, please let us know:
- Your name and Social Security number.
- Your date of birth.
- The name of the company where you worked.
- The employer identification number (EIN), which can be found on pay stubs and W-2 forms.
- The location of the company.
- Name of your union and local number, if union membership was required for participation in the plan.
- Your approximate date of hire and date your employment ended.
- Whether your employment was hourly or salaried employment.
- Name of one or two coworkers.
Once you have contacted PBGC and it has been determined that you have a benefit in a terminated pension plan, PBGC will collect additional information from the Federal Record Center, Department of Labor, and SSA. This process can take six months to a year, depending on the age of the records.