No lump sums from pension group

QUESTION: I was laid off nine years ago after working for an insurance company for 25 years. I had $140,000 in a cash balance plan. I had the option of moving my money out, but kept it in the company pension plan because I was earning 4.6 percent interest.

ANSWER: Then I got a letter announcing that the company was going out of business and that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. was taking over the underfunded pension plan. I wanted to take my money out. But the PBGC said that I couldn't because the money was no longer mine. In addition, I had estimated that when I retired at age 65 I would get from $1,400 to $1,500 a month. But the PBGC projects my benefit at $1,000 a month. Do I have any recourse for getting my $140,000 back?

ANSWER: The PBGC, which takes over the terminated pension plans of companies that cease operating, doesn't pay lump-sum benefits, the agency said. And the benefit you eventually receive could be lower than you expected because you stopped accruing benefits and interest.

- Newsday

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