Wednesday, October 9, 2019

New Law Requires Police and Fire Pension Funds to Take Additional Action on Unclaimed Benefits and Contributions

Police and fire pension fund managers outside of Chicago should take note of recently passed P.A. 101-0546. The law clarifies what managers of these funds must do to locate owners of unclaimed pension funds while also requiring annual reporting to the State Treasurer.

The law requires police and fire pension funds to file a report with the State Treasurer which lists fund beneficiaries who either cannot be located and provided benefits. The beneficiary’s last known address and Social Security Number must be provided to the Treasurer, along with the amount of money the fund owes the beneficiary. This report must be filed by November 1 each year (starting in 2020) and must cover the preceding July 1st to June 30th.

The law also requires that funds to try additional measures to contact beneficiaries it cannot locate through mail, telephone, and email. It also requires funds to ask the beneficiary’s former employers to search their records for the beneficiary’s contact information. In addition, if the beneficiary is owed more than $1,000, the funds must use credit reporting agencies and skip tracers to try to locate the beneficiaries.

One positive aspect of this law for pension funds is that it does not allow the funds to turn over unclaimed benefits to the State Treasurer. Under many circumstances, the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act requires governments in possession of any unclaimed property to turn it over to the Treasurer. Luckily for pension funds, unclaimed pension benefits do not need to be turned over.

Ancel Glink has decades of experience advising pension funds, with many attorneys who are experts on the subject. Contact us if you have questions about your fund.