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Disclosure of Pension to Alternate Participant


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My Ex-Wife and I have mostly identical QDRO documents for each of our pensions.

How can I go about finding out the expected value once I start receiving payments from her pension and also how do I find out if a lump sum distribution option is available.

Will her plan administrator supply that information to me?

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The plan administrator would be the best place to start. It might not be possible to answer your questions yet. You do not provide enough information.   It is not the administrator’s duty to give you a tutorial about the QDRO works in your case. You should be able to learn if a lump sum distribution is available to you, but you could just be referred to the summary plan description and the terms of your QDRO for your answer.

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QDROphile,

Thank you for the reply. Yes, I agree...It is not the plan administrator's duty to educate me on the terms of the QDRO.

What my main question is this. Since it is my Ex-Wife's pension, if I were to call the plan administrator of her plan, are they going to supply me with expected payout amounts (based on an expected payout date) over the phone? Are they required to give me any information?

I know with my pension, I have a website I can go to to get payout models, plan balances, etc.. With her plan, I have no idea what is in the plan. 

Thanks,

Carl

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The first answer is not particularly helpful: an alternate payee has the rights of a beneficiary.

The second answer is that it depends on several factors, including the terms of the order and status of the interest relative to accrual of benefits and eligibility to start benefits. From some inferences, I would say don’t count on it.  In particular, don’t count on a calculation of the value or prospective payment amounts of your portion of the benefit.

The third answer is that many plan administrators are accommodating and will provide you the information with respect to your interest, or will at least convey information from the last benefit statement to the participant. It depends on the practices and policies of the plan and the personality of plan administration personnel.

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If the plan administrator chooses not to communicate with you, you can play hardball by submitting a claim for benefits. That will force them to either agree with your claim or explain why your claim is inaccurate. Do not take this step lightly. It will not win you friends.

 

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A formal claim for benefits is certainly a powerful device for engaging the plan administrator concerning alternate payee rights and benefits. However, depending on the nature and posture of the benefits, a claim can easily be denied, without providing much information. For example, if benefits are not distributable, the claim can be denied by saying benefits are not distributable, and the denial need not include a calculation of benefits that are not distributable.  A carefully crafted claim could be more revealing, even if the claim were denied. But that is the crux of your problem. You do not seem to either know enough or have enough understanding of the QDRO or the plan to be able to craft a sophisticated claim.  No matter what, you need to review the terms of the QDRO and the plan’s summary plan description to form a base of understanding to be able to engage fruitfully.

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