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How can I access my ESOP account online? I use to work for Save A Lot until the store was damaged in the April 27, 2011 tornado that came through Alberta City near Tuscaloosa, AL.

Apr 27, 2013 by ANGELA from Duncanville, AL in  |  Flag
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I believe that store was owned by Houchens Industries, Inc out of Kentucky. You should try calling their listed phone number, (270) 843-3252, and ask for the Human Resources Department. They should be able to provide any information you need.
If that doesn't work, go back and refer to any statements you may have received from them in the past. If you have moved since that time, call Human Resources to change your information so as to receive statements into the future. If that doesn't work, please reply to this message for additional help. Best Regards, Rod

Comment   |  Flag   |  Apr 27, 2013 from Springfield, MO

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Herbert N Glass Level 18

Hi Angela, I am sorry to hear that the Save A Lot store was damaged last April by a Tornado in Alberta City. Although if the tornado destroyed any of the payroll or ESOP records that may have been maintained at the store, the company's reporting to the participants may have been disrupted which understandably could have an effect of delaying the normal timing of being able to keep the employees informed of the values of their account balance information.

In addition, because the value of the participants accounts in an ESOP are directly affected by the value of the company's stock that is held in their accounts, if the damaged store was either the company's only store or one of just a few stores that the company operated, and that store either was closed for a long time while it could be repaired and reopened, or that store was completely destroyed and it was decided that such store would not be repaired and reopened at all, then before the company could value its stock properly, the management would have had to make an insurance claim for the loss to the company. When a claim of this type and magnitude is made, negotiations with the insurance company and your company could take quite a long time. Often Attorneys and Private Adjusters get involved in the negotiations and sometimes a lawsuit is brought against the insurance company.

So, based on the above description of some possibilities that could have occurred in this circumstance, it is not hard to understand that even if you could access your information online or otherwise, accurate information regarding the value of your account could easily be delayed.

Now, with respect to you being able to "access your ESOP account online," the first thing to understand that your ESOP information does not necessarily have to be made available to you online unless your company or the plans TPA chose to make such information available online. They are not obligated to make it available to you online, although they are required to make such information available to you at least in writing periodically. Therefore, if you are not getting any information online or in writing, I suggest that you first contact either someone that is or was in the company's management, perhaps in the personnel department, or its finance/bookkeeping department and ask them to tell you what has gone one with the ESOP and what is the current situation with the ESOP regarding its ability to report accurate information, etc. You should also ask them if you can access your ESOP information online and how. If there is no online information, then ask them to send you as current as possible information to your current address.

At the same time, make sure they have your current address as well. If you want to be paid out from the ESOP (if you are eligible) then ask that they send you the proper paperwork to request a distribution from the ESOP so you can either transfer it to an IRA, another Qualified plan that you may be in now with another employer, or you may want cash and/or stock which you are willing to pay the income tax on plus if you are less than 59 1/2 years old, you may have to pay an additional 10% income tax.

If you are unable to contact any management person, then if you can remember the name of the company that may have taken care of the reporting and record keeping for the plan, you should try to contact them and make the same inquiry of them as explained above that you would have made to a management person

Angela, I am sorry that you find yourself in this position. But, I think if you take the steps recommended in this answer to your question, you will eventually get the information you need. If not, then I suggest that you call your local Department of Labor (DOL) office and explain to them your dilemma and ask them to please help you. They are normally quite helpful to participants who are not being treated properly and are not being given access to the information that they are entitled to. If everything I have suggested so far does not work out as being helpful to you then the last thing I suggest is that you hire your own attorney to continue to work on your issue on your behalf.

Good Luck,

Sincerely,

Herbie Glass, Certified Pension Consultant MBA, CFP, ChFC, CFG, CLU, LIC Glass Retirement Strategies, Inc. Bingham Farms, MI 48025 Website: www.glassretirement.com

Comment   |  Flag   |  Apr 27, 2013 from Franklin, MI

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Angela, if the company is still in business, call HR and get the number of the plan administrator. If not, you can search for unclaimed pensions at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) website http://search.pbgc.gov/mp/mp.aspx I would also check with your states 'Unclaimed Property' fund.

Comment   |  Flag   |  May 06, 2013 from Delray Beach, FL

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