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Can Social Security tell me if a former employer owes me pension benefits?

The Social Security Administration keeps a database of people whom the Internal Revenue Service has identified as having qualified for pension benefits under private retirement plans. When you apply for Social Security benefits, you'll be notified about any such information on file about you, or about any deceased worker on whose record might qualify you for benefits.

Another way to get the information is to send a written request to: OCO Office of Earnings Operations, Attention: ERISA Correspondence Group, P.O. Box 33007, Baltimore, MD 21290-3307. Include the following information:

  • Your name and Social Security number.
  • Your date of birth and parents' names.
  • The address to send the information to.

Also give any information you might have concerning possible private pension benefits, such as the names of companies you worked for. Add the Privacy Act penalty statement: "I certify that I am the person to whom the record pertains, or that person's parent (if a minor) or legal guardian, or a person who is authorized to sign on behalf of that individual. I know that the knowing and willful request or acquisition of records under false pretenses is a criminal offense subject to a fine of up to $5,000."

Published October 10, 2018