AoA Awards $1.6 million to help Older Americans Understand and Exercise their Pension Rights
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
- Organization: U.S. Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services
- Source: Texas > Texas Lawyers Help
Pension counseling grants promote protection of the rights, financial security, and independence of older individuals
HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee has announced more than $1.6 million in grants to help older Americans understand and exercise their pension rights.
Awards of $200,000 each have been made to six regional pension counseling projects, covering 27 states, with proposed expansion to include two more states (Indiana and New Mexico) over the three-year grant period. In addition, a National Pension Assistance Resource Center (Resource Center) which will provide critical training and technical support to the projects, as well as to state and area agencies on aging, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, and legal services providers, has been awarded $421,253.
“We know that many seniors across the country are concerned about their pensions and their retirement savings,” said Assistant Secretary Greenlee. “These pension counseling projects will increase the number of older Americans educated about pension and other retirement benefits, with particular emphasis upon underserved and hard-to-reach seniors, including those with limited English proficiency. By promoting the financial security of older persons, we empower them to make better choices in planning for their future needs including long term care.”
Services provided by the Administration on Aging’s (AoA) pension counseling projects include direct legal assistance to individuals pursing pension claims; locating pension plans that have been lost as a result of mergers, acquisitions, and terminations; answering questions about complex provisions of pension plans; and making targeted referrals to other professionals for assistance. The Resource Center will assist individuals living in areas not currently served by an AoA pension counseling project by expanding and maintaining a nationwide dataset of pension information and assistance resources, as well as a web-based pension assistance and referral system.
The AoA first funded pension counseling and information projects in 1993 and the projects became a permanent program under the Older Americans Act in 2000. Since their establishment, the projects have directly served more than 35,000 individuals, resulting in nearly $100 million in retirement benefits recovered for individual claimants.
The following organizations have been awarded pension counseling grants:
Elder Law of Michigan, Inc.
Mid-America Pension Rights Project
Areas served: Michigan , Ohio , Pennsylvania , Kentucky , Tennessee (with expansion into Indiana)
Legal Services of Northern California
Western States Pension Assistance Project
Areas served: California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii
Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging, Inc.
(MN) Upper Midwest Pension Rights Project
Areas served: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota
South Brooklyn Legal Services (NY)
Mid-Atlantic Pension Counseling Project
Areas served: New York, New Jersey
Texas Legal Services Center, Inc.
South Central Pension Rights Project
Areas served: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma (with expansion into New Mexico)
University of Massachusetts
Boston New England Pension Assistance Project
Areas served: Connecticut , Massachusetts , Maine , New Hampshire , Rhode Island , Vermont
Pension Rights Center (DC)
National Pension Assistance Resource Center
Areas served: Nationwide