Pension plans and laws are complex and difficult to navigate without knowledgeable assistance. To help solve this problem, the U.S. Administration on Aging has established a grant program to fund pension counseling projects across the United States.

The South Central Pension Rights Project helps people in Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico with questions about their retirement benefits. They also serve people who worked in one of those states or whose pension plan is headquartered or has operations in the region.

Since it began operations in October 2008, SCPRP has recovered more than $2.5 million in benefits and has assisted more than 300 individuals with their retirement benefit questions. There is never any cost to their clients, who are provided assistance regardless of age, income or the value of the pension involved.

Corporate mergers and bankruptcies, and a volatile stock market, mean that more people than ever are in need of help with their retirement benefits. SCPRP answers questions about complicated pension issues, locates and explains hard-to-find retirement plan documents, corrects pension miscalculations, tracks down benefits from past employers, and provides referrals to lawyers, actuaries and other retirement benefit professionals as needed.

SCPRP can assist with retirement income plans offered by private and government employers. They can help clients make more informed decisions about their retirement benefits by making sure they understand and can exercise their legal rights.

Individuals can contact SCPRP for assistance at 800-443-2528, or visit their website at www.southcentralpension.org.

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