At least 1.3 million pensioners might not be receiving the benefits they’re entitled to1. Are you one of them? The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), an agency within the Department of Labor, helps America’s workers, retirees, and their families make the promise of a financially secure retirement a reality.
EBSA helped one man go from homeless to accessing more than $100,000
Sounds too good to be true, right? But it is true, and it’s just one example of how EBSA helps people in big ways every day.
It all started with a letter EBSA Benefits Advisor Toya Robinson sent to an elderly homeless Michigan man. That one correspondence led to a series of steps that changed his life forever.
Robinson had information about a monthly pension benefit owed to this man from a retirement plan he participated in through a prior job. In 2018, Robinson sent a letter to his last known address – a homeless shelter – to let him know he was entitled to a monthly pension benefit. By the time the postal service delivered the letter, the man had moved.
However, as fate would have it, the individual who ran the shelter held onto the letter! When the man returned to the shelter in 2020, they gave him the letter. He immediately called Robinson about his benefits.
The process of connecting the man with his benefits turned out to be quite a challenge. By 2020, the pandemic was in full swing. The man had no identification or internet access, and many offices that could have helped were shut down. Still, Robinson worked tirelessly to get the man retirement benefits he earned from working throughout his life.
Robinson even went above and beyond by reaching out to the Social Security Administration and other federal agencies to see if he was owed any benefits. Through Robinson’s efforts, the man was able to obtain an ID, set up a bank account, and apply for both his workplace-based pension and his Social Security benefit.
As a result of Robinson’s assistance and determination, the man received a pension payout of over $82,000 in past missed monthly payments. He will continue to receive a retirement payment of $772.11 every month, along with approximately $2,400 per month in Social Security payments. That’s almost $3,200 in monthly income – over $38,000 per year – plus the lump sum payment of $82,000. That adds up to over $100,000 he did not know he could access.
The man is now actively looking for a senior living facility to call home.