By law, if you hold a job in the United States, you are entitled to be paid. With that job, you might even be eligible to receive a pension or retirement benefits. The amount of money you earn varies depending on your job and your company, but you must at least make the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour.
However, sometimes things happen and you just never collect that last payroll check. Or, maybe the pension payments that you are due never show up once you retire. Keep reading to learn how to collect what you are owed in unclaimed paychecks and unclaimed retirement benefits.
Finding Unclaimed Wages
If you left a job on bad terms or if you subsequently changed your address, you may have uncashed payroll checks that you can claim. The first step is to contact the employer’s human resources or payroll department to see if you have any unclaimed paychecks.
If it has been more than a year since you left the job, you may be able to find unclaimed paychecks in your state’s unclaimed assets database. You may also have uncashed paychecks waiting for you in the Department of Labor’s database.
Sometimes, an employer breaks labor laws and the DOL may require them to pay wages that are due under the law. You can find out if your previous employer owes money by searching the DOL’s “Workers Owed Wages” website. Just search for the employer name first and if there are unclaimed paychecks from that employer, you can input your name to see if one of them is yours.
Finding Unclaimed Pensions and Retirement Benefits
Some jobs provide pension or retirement benefits to employees who have been with the organization for a certain period of time. These benefits usually come in monthly or in lump sums.
However, if the company went out of business or ended a defined pension plan, these benefits could be in limbo. You can search for lost pensions at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which is a federal government agency. To find lost pension benefits, call the PBGC unclaimed pensions line at 1-800-400-7242 (TTY/ASCII: Dial 711).
You will need to provide some information before you can find or collect any money that may be owed to you. Typically, you’ll need the following:
- Your full name
- Home address
- Day and night phone numbers
- Social Security number
- Company name
- Dates of employment