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vested rights
Jun 3, 1997

I worked for IBM for 12 years and was fully vested. I worked for two other companies and was paid my full pension. I have full blown aids and have tried to contact and they refuse to pay. Do I have any recourse?

Response from Ms. Franzoi

Without having a copy of the SPD for your retirement plan, it is hard to answer this question. However, if IBM is saying that you are not eligible to receive payment now, that is probably correct because they would have to follow the provisions of the plan. However, I will give you an idea of what might be available depending on the terms of the plan and your age.

If the plan provides a benefit payable at normal retirement age with benefits commencing as early as early retirement age (which often is age 55 with 10 years of service) and you are at least the age required for early retirement and had completed the service requirement as of your termination date, you would be eligible to start benefits. If not, you are probably not eligible for any benefits until you reach the earliest age at which you could retire.

Some pension plans have a lump sum benefit option. However, this option is usually available either upon termination of employment or upon retirement.

Your other plans might have paid you a lump sum settlement at termination because you either elected it because it was an option under the plan or because the value of your benefit was less than $3,500 and they automatically paid you out in a lump sum.

You should read your SPD and find out what the terms of the plan are for commencing benefit payment - early retirement, normal retirement, upon termination, etc. If you can provide me with more information or have any additional questions, please let me know.

- Lynn Franzoi

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