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Return to sender or wrong address


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A plan sends out monthly benefit statements to participants and retirees. Every time the plan does a mass mailing they receive hundreds of envelops returned as undeliverable or "return to sender" with no forwarding address. The plan continues to mail mailings to the old addresses, what is the process/requirements that would enable the plan to stop mailing to that particular address? After some many attempts or years can the plan just stop mailing to the bad address and keep the statement in the members file rather than waste the postage to send to an address the plan now knows is wrong?

thanks.

Benjamin Smith

Senior Manager - Indirect Tax

Ernst & Young

317.681.7495

Benjamin.Smith@ey.com

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Set up a policy and follow it. If we get something returned we mark it bad address and nothing else is mailed to that address. At that point they are added to missing list and our AA has access to two people finder databases to find new address. We keep plugging away until we find them and move them back to mailing list.

You say monthly mailing? Are you talking about retirees getting the advice that tells them what the direct deposit was?

JanetM CPA, MBA

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The plan continues to mail mailings to the old addresses

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

I recommend following JanetM's advice.

...but then again, What Do I Know?

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Have you considered that you might have wrong addresses ? This could be caused by many things and anything including a software glitch.

Have you used the "Address Correction" and/or Forwarding services ?

JanetM's advice is good.

George D. Burns

Cost Reduction Strategies

Burns and Associates, Inc

www.costreductionstrategies.com(under construction)

www.employeebenefitsstrategies.com(under construction)

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Set up a policy and follow it. If we get something returned we mark it bad address and nothing else is mailed to that address. At that point they are added to missing list and our AA has access to two people finder databases to find new address. We keep plugging away until we find them and move them back to mailing list.

You say monthly mailing? Are you talking about retirees getting the advice that tells them what the direct deposit was?

How complete of a search r to what lenghts do you go to locate missing addresses? How often do you search?

thanks

Benjamin Smith

Senior Manager - Indirect Tax

Ernst & Young

317.681.7495

Benjamin.Smith@ey.com

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When anyone shows up with bad address we serch immediately. First a quick check - if person is recent termination from company we call the location they worked at and ask local HR to see if friends/family know where they moved. We quickly solve many bad addresses that way - we get friend/family to ask them to call us and give us updated address.

If we don't find them on the inital search we add them to the the list and search for them on about quarterly basis. The data bases we use also will give family members and other information. We have sometimes sent letters to children and parents asking them to have the participant call us.

We don't do a specific number and stop looking. We do cut the search for them to annual if we haven't found them in five years.

JanetM CPA, MBA

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Kabert

The DOL has issued detailed guidance about finding lost participants. Also, there are participant-search companies out there that do an excellent job locating people and they do so very quickly and for a low charge (that can be paid for out of plan assets). The more participants you send them, the cheaper their per-participant finders fee. Typical is about $9/person. But, if you have 500 people to find, the charge may be just $5/person. These companies can also do a "death audit" to find out whether any have died. By the way, I don't use the generic people search firms; instead, I use the ones that are employee benefits-focused. There's one called, I think, Pension Benefit Information or Pension Benefit Services, that I've used many times. Time to stop the madness and get some help finding these people! I hope none are age 65+ (or worse, 70-1/2), so they should have commenced.

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  • 4 weeks later...

We have had inconsistent results using the USPS' NCOA service. We recently got a bunch of incorrect death confirms from NCOA. Hundreds of active employees were reported to us as deceased. We did have a big list to start with, but still enough to give us pause.

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Yes, we were very careful when sending out letters to those reported on that report as deceased. It appeared that some of the oldest participants'/pensioners' spouses did not have a unique SSN, so when they died, they got on the deceased report file as the pensioner instead of as their spouse (and vice-versa for survivors of pensioners).

However, that report was also valuable in its ability to catch a long-deceased pensioner whose life annuity was still being paid. First-time users of the report are often amazed to find that type of fraud, but it does happen.

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