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Pension Problems

Q. I’ve been working for a physician for more than 20 years and have a profit-sharing/pension plan. I’ve never been given a statement on how much I have in this plan. Recently, my boss said he stopped contributing to the plan. I’ve asked for more information but he never responds. What should I do?

A. A profit-sharing plan is a defined contribution plan in which the employer determines how much the business will contribute annually. The amount allocated to each individual account is usually based on the worker’s salary level.

When employees change jobs or retire, profit shares can be paid out immediately as cash or company stock, or they can be deferred and employees can draw from them in later years.

A summary plan description outlining the details of the plan should be available to each participant. But since your boss hasn’t responded to your requests for more information, you should contact the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, which enforces laws governing the conduct of most retirement plans.

Not all retirement plans are covered by EBSA, but a benefits adviser can help you determine what to do about your situation. Call toll-free at 1-866-444-3272 or go online at to learn more about your rights and responsibilities.

Source: Jean Setzfand, AARP


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