More Resources Now Available for Finding Lost Retirement Plan Benefits

More Resources Now Available for Finding Lost Retirement Plan Benefits


By Jane Smith 

There is a new resource for the many people who are entitled to retirement plan benefits but can’t locate their former employer to claim those benefits.  

Those searching for benefits can start by checking out the “Find Unclaimed Retirement Benefits” search tool on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) website. This tool has a searchable database of “missing participants” that includes people who could not be located when an employer terminated a private-sector plan. It also includes recommended steps to take to find lost benefits. The “missing participant” database mainly includes the names of people who participated in defined benefit pension plans. However, the database does include “missing participants” from some, but not all, terminated 401(k)-type plans.   

The PBGC also has a separate searchable list of employers with ongoing defined benefit pension plans that are insured by the PBGC—Plans Paying PBGC Premiums. 

This list includes contact information for plan administrators.  So, those in a traditional pension plan who can’t find themselves listed under the PBGC’s “missing participants” tool can check this list of ongoing plans to locate and contact the plan administrator.  

If you still can’t find your plan or employer in any of the PBGC’s databases, never fear, the agency offers additional tips on their website for finding your benefits 

We hear from people all the time who aren’t able to track down an old employer or plan that’s holding their retirement benefits. Employers frequently change names, addresses, or merge with other companies and therefore are hard to find years later. We often refer people to the Pension Counseling and Information Program of the U.S. Administration on Community Living or find them other assistance. We also have tips on our website for finding a lost plan. 

Additional help for people looking for a lost plan may be coming soon.  As part of the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022, Congress has directed the Department of Labor to develop a searchable retirement plan registry. This registry should be an important tool for finding lost plans. 

Not sure where to start but have questions?

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