► TSP and Government Pensions
Records on two million former Civil Service workers are not automated, but rather stored in some 35,000 file cabinets by alphabetical order. This system does not permit sorting by age, a likely indicator of unclaimed and unpaid benefits. Because many government employee records at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Retirement Operations Center are not computerized, it’s difficult to determine when a federal retirement benefit has gone unclaimed and unpaid.
Federal retirement benefits include Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) distributions, a defined-contribution plan similar to a 401(K) created by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 to supplement FERS benefits. As of 2012, TSP accounts for 4.5 million participants – including federal civilian employees in all branches of government, U.S. Postal Service employees and members of the uniformed services – totaled $313 billion.
Unclaimed government retirement funds are not declared abandoned unless unclaimed by the employee’s 115th birthday or 30 years after death; but virtually no effort is made to find lost employees owed government pension benefits. … MORE
► Veteran Pension Benefits
VA helps Veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs. VA offers two broad categories of Pension benefit programs: Veterans Pension: Tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime Veterans. Survivors Pension: Tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.
Veterans and survivors who are eligible for pension benefits and are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person may be eligible to receive additional monetary amounts. … MORE
► Railroad Retirement Benefits
The Railroad Retirement Act replaces Social Security for railroad employees, providing payment of retirement, disability and survivor benefits. Monthly benefits are payable to surviving widows, children, and certain other dependents at the time of death of a covered railroad employee. The Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act also provides unemployment and sickness benefits for railroad employees, replacing unemployment insurance.
The Railroad Retirement Trust Fund is valued at approximately $18 billion. Currently 818,000 railroad retirees and heirs are eligible for benefits, but five percent of addresses on file are not current, because workers or family members have not made the proper notification. … MORE