U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren praised the New England Pension Assistance Project (NEPAP), based at the University of Massachusetts Boston, during a recent Senate subcommittee meeting on Capitol Hill.
Warren highlighted the work of NEPAP during a meeting of the Senate HELP Committee's Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging. The project, based at the Pension Action Center in the McCormack Graduate School's Gerontology Institute, is part of a program that has recovered $175 million for nearly 50,000 clients since it was founded in 1993.
Counseling programs recover $8 for every $1 in federal funding spent on the program, Warren said. But not every state has pension counseling available.
Warren questioned how much more money could be recovered for seniors if similar services were available nationwide.
“If we expanded the program, how much money could we potentially recover for our seniors?” Warren asked.
Nancy Altman, chairman of the board at the Washington-based Pension Rights Center, told the Senate subcommittee that many of the states not covered by pension counseling projects, such as Florida, Maryland, and Virginia, have large retiree populations. She estimated that expanding the program nationwide would double the amount of recoveries.
Warren stressed the importance of connecting retirees with their lost pensions. “[T]his is not a subsidy; this is money people earned and it’s just trying to help them get the money they earned.”
A video clip of Warren and Altman discussing the New England Pension Assistance Project and the nationwide Pension Counseling and Information Program is available on UMass Boston’s YouTube channel.
To learn about the New England Pension Action Assistance Project, visit https://www.umb.edu/pensionaction/nepap.