Planning for retirement is not something a worker can do overnight. It takes careful consideration and prudent decisions to establish a fund that can support a retiree’s needs as well as offer some options for the golden years. For many in Tennessee, investing in a retirement plan through an employer is ideal, especially if the plan is protected by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. However, those participants in AT&T pension plans say their company has violated the terms of ERISA.
When an employee retires, AT&T’s plan pays a monthly benefit for the rest of the employee’s life, starting at age 65. An employee who retires earlier than age 65 receives a reduced amount. However, this amount must be the actuarial equivalent to someone’s benefits who retired at age 65. Apparently, AT&T’s plan did not comply with this rule. Both single and joint life annuity recipients typically receive hundreds less per month than the actuarial equivalent.
The participants have filed a complaint and are seeking class-action status for their case. They allege the company uses decades-old formulas to calculate the value of early retirement benefits, despite that Americans are living longer. AT&T disagrees with the allegations and released a statement describing their pension plans as generous and in compliance with ERISA.
Meanwhile, plan participants wait to learn if they will obtain the benefits they claim they involuntarily forfeited. Tennessee workers must protect their futures by protecting their rights under ERISA. Those who feel their plan providers are violating those rights can reach out for legal advice and guidance.