Harry Gross: Ideas for collecting those benefits

Dear Harry: I am a former employee of a major defense contractor. I worked for the company almost five years. The company offered an employee stock-ownership plan with benefits payable when an employee left employment with them. The plan had a murky provision that said that I would get distribution within six years of the end of employment. It's now more than four years. In September 2011, I received a letter from the company's benefits manager that the plan was being terminated, and all participants would get their distributions as soon as they got IRS approval. The letter also said that the IRS usually responds well within six months. In May 2012, I contacted the administrator and I was told that they are still waiting for IRS. I sure could use that money (almost $7,000). Any way to speed them up?

What Harry says: Possibly. First, try the Employee Benefits Security Administration, at 215-861-5300. They have been successful in many similar situations. A long shot would be to contact the IRS's Taxpayer Advocate at 877-777-4778. They may not be able to help because you're not with the company that filed the request.

 


Email Harry Gross at harrygross@phillynews.com or write to him at Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, Box 8263, Philadelphia, PA 19101.