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St. Clare's pension plans canceled, over 1,100 people affected

October 23, 2018 08:33 AM

SCHENECTADY - Imagine this, you arrange for retirement only to find out your pension is being taken away. That's happening to more than 1,100 people who used to work at St. Clare's Hospital in Schenectady.

At least 1,104 retirees received a letter in the mail on Thursday that said their pension plans with St. Clare's will be terminated on November 1.

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NewsChannel 13 spoke with people on both sides of the issue. A St. Clare's retiree also spoke to NewsChannel 13, but didn't want to reveal his identity.

"If something goes wrong it would cause a major strain," the retiree said.

He said he worked for the hospital for nearly 30 years before applying for retirement in 2016.

Later in 2016, he received a letter that said benefit funds were estimated to run out sometime between 2024 and 2028.

He thought he had more time to put some money away.

"The cut-off date on the plan as it sits now was November 2015," the retiree said. “You had to be 62 at that point and if you were not 62 at that point and receiving the benefits at that point, then you get nothing at the end."

He was just a few months shy of 62 on that deadline. Now he's out about $500 a month.

"This is going to put a strain on if something happens because it's almost 1/3 of the income," the retiree said.

A spokesperson for the St. Clare's Corporation released a statement that read in part:

"We regret that termination of the Plan is necessary, and we recognize the difficulty this is likely to present for Plan participants and their beneficiaries. There simply are not enough assets in the plan to provide the benefits to all current and future participants..."

The retiree said this type of treatment from St. Clare’s has become a pattern.

“The hospital for years and years did this and we stuck by them but they didn't stick by us," he said. "You know I really feel badly considering that it was a Catholic-run facility."

Attorney and Albany Law professor David Pratt said lots of cases just like this one being tried in courts across the country. He said the outcomes have been about 50/50, some siding with the companies that canceled the plans, others siding with the participants. Pratt said he is working on finding out whether or not the St. Clare’s retirees have a case.

If you are a St. Clare's retiree affected by this cancelation, you can get in touch with other retirees and Pratt by contacting Barbara Kennedy at barbiespets@hotmail.com

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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