Will Fudging My Age Backfire in Retirement?
Employee Rights Attorney
Mission Viejo, California
Q: “I have been employed by a large corporation for almost 13 years. Prior to obtaining my position, I had encountered age discrimination.
“While my present employer did not ask my age at the time I was interviewed nor was it requested on my application, I have continuously subtracted 11 years from my age on various documents, including 401(k), insurance and medical forms.
“When I reach 65 years of age (real age), assuming I have achieved the years of service required for retirement benefits (currently 20 years for full benefits), would I be entitled to these benefits if I choose to retire, even if official company records indicate that I am 11 years younger?”
A: “Employees who make significant misrepresentations to their employers face substantial risks, including being fired for dishonesty.
“This may not become a problem for you, however, if you are planning to leave the company anyway.
“As to retirement benefits, there probably would be no negative impact when you state your correct age to obtain the benefits, since most 401(k) plan contributions and benefits are not determined by age, according to Roger Renfro, an employee benefits attorney.
“If age was a factor in determining how much your employer contributed to the pension plan, however, you may be subject to some penalties.”