South Central Pension Rights Project Protects Widow’s Right to Survivor Benefit

The South Central Pension Rights Project has successfully advocated for a Missouri widow who was told she was not due a survivor benefit from her husband’s pension. The Project’s work means that the widow will receive $212 per month, which will total more than $48,000 over her expected life time.

Ms. Miranda Jones’ (not her real name) husband passed in October last year and when she contacted the pension fund office, she was told he elected a single life annuity, and therefore she was not entitled to a survivor benefit. She remembered that her husband told her she would get half of his benefit, and she knew that she did not waive her right to a survivor benefit, which is required by law.  She contacted the South Central Pension Rights Project, and the Project contacted the pension fund office. After reviewing their files, the fund office discovered that Mr. Jones originally elected a single life annuity, but before he began receiving his retirement benefit, he changed his election to provide a benefit for his spouse.  The fund agreed to pay Ms. Jones a retroactive benefit to her husband’s date of death and to continue the payments going forward for her lifetime.

The South Central Pension Rights Project (SCPRP) is overseen by Texas Legal Services with assistance from the Missouri Area Agencies on Aging. Since teaming with Missouri Area Agencies on Aging in 2010, SCPRP has recovered more than $4.3 million in benefits for Missourians and has assisted more than 550 Missourians with retirement benefit issues.

SCPRP is funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging to assist individuals in Missouri, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas who have any kind of issue with their retirement benefits.  It operates in cooperation with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. SCPRP provides attorneys and legal assistants that offer basic advice about pension laws and rights, help people locate their pension plan’s administrator, advocate for people who believe they have been unjustly denied their benefits, and provide referrals to other services as needed.  SCPRP helps all individuals regardless of age or income, and all of SCPRP’s services are completely free.

To contact SCPRP call: 800-443-2528.

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