Could Your Failing Company Take You Down Too?

ABC News left multiple messages for Phelan and his attorney seeking a response, but never heard back.

How to Tell if Your Health or Retirement Plan Might Be In Jeopardy

Noticing these warning signs early helps a lot, because the sooner the Employee Benefit Security Administration can get to work, the better the chances that it can freeze funds that belong to you and your co-workers before the company and its owners declare bankruptcy -- or disappear.

Be on the lookout for loans from the employee plan to the company or its offices.
You may also notice that the company is not forwarding your contribution to the plan in a timely manner, or at all.
Frequent or unexplained switches in plan managers can be a tip off.

Web Extra: Additional Warning Signs

Your account balance does not appear to be accurate.
A significant drop in account balance that cannot be explained by normal market ups and downs.
Investments listed on your statement are not what you authorized.
Your 401(k) or individual account statement is consistently late or comes at irregular intervals.
Retired employees of the company may be having difficulty getting the benefits they're entitled to.
If you know that your company is having financial difficulty, that is the biggest indicator of all and the time to start searching for all the other signs above.

If you suspect your company may be mishandling your health or retirement funds, The U.S. Department of Labor wants to hear from you as soon as possible. You can contact the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefit Security Administration HERE. Or call EBSA's toll free number at (866) 444-3272 and ask to speak to a Benefit Advisor.

For more information about your rights to your health and retirement benefits when you are dislocated, here are educational materials prepared by the Department of Labor:

Job Loss Tool Kit
Dislocated Workers Brochure
Information on the ERISA law. ERISA stands for Employee Retirement Income Security Act and governs companies' obligations to safeguard these funds for their workers.
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation If it is your pension that you are worried about, this federally chartered corporation guarantees payments of certain private pensions.

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