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SMART MONEY, A COLUMN BY BRUCE WILLIAMS

Retiree can’t get help over cut in pension

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - 1:47 pm

Q.: My husband worked at a steel company for 37 years and retired in 2000. About two years ago he was sent a letter saying they had overpaid him and were cutting his pension from $1,800 to $1,104.30 a month. Can this be done?

Our council representative could not help him. He has called the pension office, but only gets the answering machine. The company went bankrupt and another steel company took over.

Recently, we spoke to his nephew, who also worked at the company and retired with 30 years of service. He received a $10,000 check from the pension office claiming he was underpaid. His pension now is $1,450 a month.

We have a son on disability who has the same name as my husband, and we thought maybe they got him mixed up with my husband. – Shirley, via email

A.: Your union rep should be able to help.

The pension office approach is complicated by the fact that your company went bankrupt and its business has been transferred to another entity. The situation with your nephew doesn't have anything to do with you. As to your son, it's very unlikely but possible he's been mixed up with your husband.

Given the numbers and the time period, you should seek counsel.

Send questions to bruce@ brucewilliams.com. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.