MYTH: The new pension law (Employe Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA) gives you a pension.
FACT: You may get a pension as a result of the new law only if you meet certain conditions, notes the Pension Rights Center. You can be sure of getting a pension as a result of ERISA only if, after 1976, you work fulltime for a company that contributes to a pension plan and you keep on working for that company for 10 or more years without stopping for any reason and you live until age 65.
You also have a good chance of getting a pension if you can answer "yes" to all of the questions in this checklist:
1. Do you work for a private company, not a government agency? (ERISA only applies to private pension plans; federal employes get a right to a pension after five years.)
2. Does your company contribute to a pension plan?
3. Are you at least 25 years old and have you worked 1 year?
4. Did you start work more than five years before your plan's "normal retirement age?"
5. Did you work after the date in 1976 when your plan was required to comply with the new law?
6. Do you regularly work more than half-time or more than half a year?
7. Have you worked at least 10 years:
a. For your present employer (or employers if yours is an industry-wide plan that credits all work done in the industry)? And,
b. After the age of 22?
8. Has your employer contributed to your plan (or an earlier plan) for at least 10 years?
9. Have you worked for your company at least 3 years after 1970?
10. Was your work for the company continuous without a break in service -- or -- if you had a break in service, was it:
a. Before 1976 and not considered a break under the plan then in effect?
b. After 1976 and less than 9 months?
c. After 1976 and shorter than the period you worked before the break?
11. If you haven't yet worked 10 years for an employer (or employers) contributing to a plan, will you?
For information about pension plans, contact:
The Pension Rights Center, Room 1019, 1346 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, 296-3778. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope and 25 cents for their "pension fact sheets" and/or $1.75 for their "retirement income report."
The Citizens' Commission on Pension Policy, P.O. Box 40123, Washington, D.C. 20016, 785-3523.
U.S. Department of Labor, pension and welfare benefit programs, Room N4659, 200 Constitution Ave., Washington, D.C. 20016, 523-8776.
For free booklets, "What You Should Know About the Pension and Welfare Law" and "Know Your Pension Plan," write or call the Labor Department listing above.