My Parachute Has a Hole in It

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Corporate America is shortchanging departing workers by losing track of their pension benefits, a government audit reported Monday. The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. told a congressional panel that 13.7 percent of participants were being underpaid. That more than quadruples the 1.7 percent found in a 1988 audit, an alarming jump that some attribute to the sharp increase in job hopping during the 90s. As more workers cash out pension benefits, harried pension department workers are making more mistakes, errors that are compounded by complex pension laws. Republican Senator Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging offered his own solution: check your own benefits. If your next egg looks too small, a "pension detective" like the National Center for Retirement Benefits will investigate. The downside: these detectives demand a 30 percent slice of any money they recover.