The State of Unclaimed Pensions in the U.S.

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A large number of pensions go unclaimed each year simply because people do not realize they are owed one. Below you’ll find a series of maps depicting the state of unclaimed pensions in the United States

If you’re not familiar with the term, a pension is a retirement arrangement between an employer and employee in which the employer agrees to pay the employee a regular payment from the day of their retirement until the day the employee dies. The pension amount is dependent upon the employee’s salary and the length of time the employee works for the company.


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As seen in the map below, the states with the most unclaimed private pensions, greater than 10,000, are Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas:

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Number of Unclaimed Pensions per 1,000 People

The high number of unclaimed pensions in these states is not simply explained by the fact that they have a higher population as evident by the visual below that breaks down the number of unclaimed pensions per 1,000 residents. California and Florida, two of the highest populated states, are not included in the short list.
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Amount of Unclaimed Pensions per State

In 2015, the median private pension benefit of individuals 65 and older was $9,376 a year. We used this data to then calculate the estimated amount of dollars in unclaimed pensions out there for each state. The total amount of unclaimed pensions was over $100,000,000 in 4 states, a considerable amount of retirement funds that are left outstanding.
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[Animation] Unclaimed Pensions and Union Membership

Could there be a connection between states with higher percentages of union members and higher numbers of unclaimed pensions? As you can see in the morphing image below, there does appear to be some correlation between the two.
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