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U.S. Retirement Plan Overview -- Pensions, 401(k)

Advice and reference info from members. (Updated May 22, 2021.) Questions or comments to: info@hpalumni.org

"Potential Private Retirement Benefit" letter from Social Security. The key word is "potential." It reports the most recent transaction in a benefit plan that you were once enrolled in. If both "Type" and "Frequency" are coded "A" -- it means that during the "Year Reported" you rolled the money into a different plan, or  bought an annuity, or took the cash. For details or if coded otherwise, go to Potential Benefit Letter.

If you are leaving the company, see our ASAP Checklist for additional information on this topic.

This topic can be discussed in the HPAA Finance Forum.

How to Choose a Financial Advisor. Member advice on sorting out the different types of financial salespeople and advisors.

Classification as "Retired."  If an employee left at 55 or older with at least 10 years of service, or left after 2010 with age-plus-years-of-service of at least 80, or left under an early retirement program -- HPInc and HPE generally classify the employee as "retired" -- regardless of how they left and whether or not they have any retiree benefits. This is reported to outside payroll and employment verification services, but doesn't seem to have any negative consequences. Inquiries from state Unemployment Dept. claims examiners go to a specific group in HR, which replies via letter. Over the years, members have reported that HP did not block their UI claims. 

Which HP-related companies am I a retiree or former employee of? (Not always obvious.) Given HP's complex history of acquisitions, divestitures, and spinoffs, the company or companies that you are legally a former employee of may not be obvious. If any doubt, check here: Which Company

For details of a retirement plan, obtain a copy of the legal "Summary Plan Description" -- usually by logging into your account on the plan administrator's website. Decoding SPDs


The continuing HP 401(k) plan, which started in 1984:

- Name: "HP Inc. 401(k) Plan"

- EIN: 94-1081436 -- Plan number: 004  ("EIN" = IRS Employer Identification Number)

- Abbreviated as: 94-1081436-004

- Documents downloaded by members on July 6, 2020:  HP 401(k) Plan Summary Plan Description - 2017    2020 Summary of Modifications to 401(k) SPD   (May be out of date. Ask the Plan Administrator for a current copy.) 

- How to decode an SPD. (For example, many of the postal contact addresses given in SPDs are extinct.)  Decoding SPDs

- Administrator: HPInc Retirement Service Center administers pension and 401(k) accounts for HPInc (formerly named Hewlett-Packard Company.) Also administers any pension or 401(k) accounts that Hewlett-Packard predecessor companies (such as Compaq, Digital, and EDS) may have had. Operated by Fidelity Investments.
1-800-457-4015, M-F 7:30 AM to 11:00 PM Central Time. Outside the U.S., call 1-508-787-9902 collect. Website: https://nb.fidelity.com/public/nb/hp/home    

- Be sure you have a valid beneficiary designation on file at Fidelity.

- Benefits under 401(k) plans are not insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC.)

- Note: HP originally gave its 401(k) program the confusing name "TAXCAP" -- "Tax Savings Capital Accumulation Plan." 1984 HP Annual Report   1998 Measure Article (pages 8-10)   2004 SEC filing

- Members report that there was a one-year waiting period to enroll in TAXCAP. Beginning Feb 1, 1998, new employees were automatically enrolled at the 3% level unless they changed the setting.  

- 401(k) plans -- history, how they work, consequences: 401(k) Basics    How the 401(k) has evolved    How the 401(k) has replaced pensions


Legacy HP retirement plans (which many HPE retirees have.)

- HP DPSP: Closed to new participants in Nov 1, 1993.

- HP RP: Closed to new participants on Jan 1, 2003.

- HP CAPP: Closed to new participants on Jan 1, 2006.

For details on the legacy HP RP, DPSP, and CAPP retirement plans -- including a thorough discussion of the key question: Should you take a lump-sum or a monthly pension?
-- see Legacy Retirement Plans


HPE: The HPE Retirement Service Center administers pension and 401(k) accounts for Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Also administers any pension or 401(k) accounts that companies acquired by HPE since the HPInc/HPE split (Cray, Nimble, etc.) may have had. Operated by Fidelity Investments.1-800-409-4015, M-F 7:30 AM to 11:00 PM Central Time. Outside the U.S., call 1-508-787-9902 collect. Website: https://nb.fidelity.com/public/nb/default/home


SPDs: How to find the legal "Summary Plan Description" documents for HPInc and HPE: Finding SPDs  How to decode an SPD. (For example, many of the postal contact addresses given in SPDs are extinct.)  Decoding SPDs

Service at predecessor companies.

Of HP's many predecessor companies, as far as we know: Only HP and DEC had retiree healthcare programs. Only HP, Digital, and EDS had pension plans. Over the years, HP, DEC, and EDS set aside money in dedicated trust funds to pay for those programs. Compaq, Tandem, Autonomy, Palm, etc. did not have retiree healthcare or pensions among their benefits programs. Their employees did not have those expectations and there were no corresponding trust funds to pass on to an acquiring company. Therefore, employees of those companies do not get credit under HP's retiree healthcare or pension programs for service at the predecessor company. (Predecessor service does count for FTO.)  Details: DEC Benefits  EDS Benefits

The non-profit Pension Rights Center has advice on tracing lost pension plans.

Report disability or a death to the company


2015: HPInc/HPE Breakup.

"Overall, HP's pension plans are well funded and we continue to make contributions to pensions based on local funding requirements.  HP is committed to maintaining funding in accordance with relevant pension funding rules, and this will not change following the business separation. Keep in mind any vested HP pension benefits you maintain are obligations of the pension plan itself, rather than HP. [Emphasis added] HP has made contributions to fund these benefits in a separate trust over time, and pension benefits are subject to minimum funding requirements that will continue even after the separation."

--Posted March 17, 2015 under "Retiree News" on the official HP Continuum password-protected retiree website operated by HPInc.

Rest assured, you will not lose any retirement benefit value as a result of the separation, and you will not need to take any action.  If you still have benefits remaining in an HP pension plan or the HP 401(k) Plan, the value, timing, and method of your payments will not change, and you will not need to take any action. For more details about how your individual retirement benefits will be affected by the separation, watch for a personalized retirement announcement that will be mailed to your home in early September.

--From HP's August 27, 2015 message to U.S. retirees


Related topics...

Future of retiree healthcare: HP never made any explicit commitment to provide retiree healthcare in the entire history of the company. Of the many Hewlett-Packard predecessor companies, only DEC had retiree healthcare. Prices paid by retirees will continue to rise due to the cap put in place in 2010.  Details

Time to untangle your stock! No one but you really cares about your employment-related stock. You may have had stock in up to seven HP-related companies. Your stock may not all be in the same place or be registered to your current postal address. You may need to retrieve lost stock, dividends, or cash payouts, find stray accounts, or estimate your cost basis. An HPAlumniteam has developed a step-by-step process to find and protect your stock. Employee Stock

Other benefits issues -- such as Social Security, Pension, 401(k), Stock, Medicare, annual enrollment, COBRA, troubleshooting retiree health coverage, etc:. HPAlumni Benefits Menu


For more mutual help on this topic and many others, join the independent HP Alumni Association. If you were formerly a regular, direct employee of HP, HPInc, or HPE -- or are in the process of leaving -- join the HP Alumni Association. No charge, thanks to HPAA members.

As financial, legal, and personal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and finances and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided here should be used as a substitute for the personalized advice of competent financial, legal, and personal advisors.


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