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Tips for Finding a Lost Pension Benefit

If you earned a pension benefit in a defined benefit plan and need help determining if you have unpaid pensions benefits from a terminated plan, PBGC might be able to help. 

To see if PBGC took over your pension benefit payments, see the full Trusteed Pension Plan List. This list contains all single-employer defined benefit pension plans trusteed by the PBGC since its creation in 1974.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before contacting us:  

Did you earn a benefit from a private-sector employer with a defined benefit plan that has terminated?  
If your pension plan is ongoing, please contact the Department of Labor at 1-866-444-3272. PBGC can only assist with terminated plans.  

Did you meet your pension plan’s requirements for a benefit?  
Not everyone who worked for a company is eligible to participate in a plan and earn a vested benefit. Typically, individuals must work at least five years and meet other requirements to earn a benefit.  

Did you cash out from the pension plan when you left your job? Was an annuity purchased from an insurance company on your behalf? 
Many workers, especially younger ones, get a lump-sum payment or roll over their benefit to an IRA when they change jobs. It’s easy to forget such payments because they are often small amounts and may be paid with other benefits and paid many years ago.  

A pension plan’s records are generally accurate because plan administrators have a legal responsibility to maintain accurate records. PBGC will review these records to determine whether a lump sum was previously paid. In some cases, an employer will purchased an annuity from an insurance company and PBGC may be able to provide contact information for the insurance company 

Did you earn your benefit from a 401(k) or other type of defined contribution plan?  
PBGC insures traditional defined benefit plans. If your employer’s plan was a 401(k), profit-sharing, employee stock ownership or money purchase plan, you should contact the Department of Labor at 1-866-444-3272.  

Contact PBGC if you may have an unpaid pension benefit from a terminated defined benefit plan
If you believe PBGC can help you find an unpaid benefit in a pension plan that has ended, call us at 1-800-400-7242. Please be prepared to provide information including your employment history for our questionnaire. A PBGC representative will be able to assist you during this process and will ask you to send us copies of documentation. 

Other Resources 

U.S. Department of Labor 
EBSA Office of Outreach, Education and Assistance  
200 Constitution Avenue NW, Room N5623  
Washington, DC 20210 

Toll-free hot line: 866-444-EBSA (3272)

Website: DOL.gov/agencies/ebsa 

Regional Offices: DOL.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/about-us/regional-offices

Last Updated: September 8, 2021