How to Claim Retirement & Pension

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Retirement benefits and pensions from companies are basically annuity payments that are funded by employers and managed by insurance companies. These kinds of benefit payments are becoming increasingly rare. However, if your company offers a pension benefit plan, make sure you claim your benefit. Any unclaimed benefits could go to your state's unclaimed benefits office. You will never lose your benefits, but you will also not receive the money to which you are entitled.

Step 1

Contact your company's human resources department. The HR department typically keeps all of the necessary paperwork for filing a claim for your pension benefits.

Step 2

Fill out the pension benefit forms. You will need to make several important decisions. First, you need to decide when you want to receive your pension benefits. Second, you need to specify how you would like to receive them.

You can receive your pension benefits as a single life option, which will pay you an income for the rest of your life. When you die, your spouse gets nothing.

You can also elect a 50 percent joint and survivor benefit. With this option, you receive a reduced benefit payment, but your spouse receives 1/2 of your normal pension if you die before she does.

A 100 percent joint and survivor benefit option means that you receive an amount that is less than the full pension benefit amount, just as with the single life option, and this benefit payment will pay you and your spouse until you both die.

The last common payment option is a lump sum amount. With this option, your company will pay you a lump sum and you can decide how to invest this money on your own.

Step 3

Turn the paperwork in to your employer and wait for the paperwork to be processed. This may take several weeks and possibly up to one month, depending on your company's policies and when you have set your retirement date.