My article of September 21, 2010 regarding pension overpayment recoveries produced several e-mail responses and inquiries, particularly concerning the 76 year old female Alzheimer’s patient who had been receiving a pension for 11 years.
I can now provide a few additional facts.
The pension in question started with a 1999 letter from the employer’s pension administrator that opened with, “This will confirm that you are entitled to receive a vested accrued benefit under the…Plan in the amount of $… per month…for your lifetime.” Then, as I reported previously, on September 17th of this year, she received a letter from the bank currently administering the pension advising that she had been overpaid and they were asking her to repay $42,814.42.
The bank in question is Wells Fargo. To be precise, the letter came from Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust in Minneapolis, MN. Wells Fargo recently took over administration of the pension after acquiring Wachovia. The underlying pension is an employer plan subject to the rules and regulations of ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act).
The pensioner’s 81-year-old husband, as Power of Attorney, has filed an appeal of the decision in accordance with ERISA. In addition, he has contacted an attorney familiar with this area of the law.
I also became aware of an advocacy group for pension rights and I am including a portion of a recent e-mail from that organization:
“Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. As you may have seen in the Wall Street Journal article you mentioned in your blog, we work in conjunction with several legal assistance projects across the country. The lead attorney for the Western States Pension Assistance Project was also quoted in that article. This project, with funding from the U.S. Administration on Aging (AOA), provides free pension assistance to individuals who live in California (among several other states).”
Pension Rights Center in Washington, DC (www.pensionrights.org).
That’s all for now. I will keep you up to date as circumstances warrant.