Help With Pension Problems


Iowa Legal Aid can help Iowans who are entitled to receive pensions based on their work history or the work history of their spouses. Iowa Legal Aid is now part of the Upper Midwest Pension Rights Project. The Project provides free pension counseling, claims assistance, and counseling to help people collect pension benefits and improve their standard of living. The Project will focus on cases involving divorce, the death of a spouse and employers who went bankrupt or otherwise no longer exist. The statewide toll-free number for the Pension Rights Project is 1-800-992-8161. Des Moines area residents also can call 282-8161.

The Upper Midwest Pension Rights Project provides information, counseling, and representation regarding pensions sponsored by employers, unions, and governments, including defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans such as 401(k) plans. Services we provide include:

  • Contacting pension administrators on your behalf;
  • Locating pension funds when companies go out of business;
  • Helping you apply for pension benefits based on your work history or the work history of your spouse;
  • Helping with appeals if your pension is denied;
  • Obtaining survivor benefits;
  • Correcting benefit miscalculations;
  • Assisting with pension issues in divorce situations;
  • Providing materials about pension issues involving social security, divorce, and other pension rights and
  • Referring clients to pension attorneys and actuaries when litigation may be necessary.

Although it is anticipated that most pension clients will have issues involving pension plans sponsored by private employers, the Pension Project will also help people who are having problems with IPERS and other government-sponsored plans, such as local police and fire retirements pensions.

The Upper Midwest Pension Rights Project is funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging and the Retirement Research Foundation. Although the Project is funded by the Administration on Aging, there is no age limit the clients must meet, just as there are no financial eligibility criteria that must be met. The Project is required, however, to target services to people in social and economic need. The Project provides services in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Last Review and Update: Feb 20, 2020

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