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Do away with the red tape that blocks retirees from their pensions

“It just disappeared,” David Lettvin, Denise Lettvin’s husband, said of her John Hancock monthly annuity. “We had no idea why.”JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF

Thank you to Sean P. Murphy for shining a light on what people go through when they encounter a problem with their retirement income (“The annuity that fell into a black hole,” The Fine Print, Page A1, April 22). I’m the director of the Pension Action Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s McCormack Graduate School. We provide free pension counseling and advocacy to people in the six New England states and Illinois.

As pension advocates, we hear every day from people whose retirement plans are upended by corporate red tape that makes getting their money next to impossible. Paperwork is lost. Internal record keeping is full of mistakes. Poorly trained call center staff either cannot answer questions or, worse yet, respond with information that is wrong.


This retirement income black hole is holding on to millions of dollars that should be in the pockets of older Americans. They shouldn’t need an attorney or a consumer rights reporter in order to get their own money. Retirees need protections to make sure that they benefit from the income they’ve planned for and earned.

Anna-Marie Tabor