My father had a pension and passed before it was started, am I entitled to his pension?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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My father had a pension and passed before it was started, am I entitled to his pension?

He worked for the ammunition plant and had a pension through them. He passed 17 years ago before he started the pension. He keeps getting letters in the mail about the pension plan but when I call to inquire about it, I am told he does not get the pension, or that I, his only child would not receive benefits. I provided his death cert. He was not married and I am his only child.

Asked on May 31, 2018 under Estate Planning, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A pension is not like a 401(k) or IRA account, where any remaining money in the account (if vested) goes to the deceased employee's heirs and beneficiaries. A pension is personal to the worker; only the employee gets it unless the terms of the pension or some other written employment contract provides that if the employee passes away, it goes to some specified persons(s). It is not uncommon  for a spouse to get the pension (or at least a portion of one), but an adult child, almost never. (Probably "never," but since a company *could* choose to let an adult child receive it, I'll hedge my bet and say "almost never.") You would not be eligible for his pension.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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