Saginaw man: Still no death benefit 6 months after mom's death - WNEM TV 5

Saginaw man: Still no death benefit 6 months after mom's death

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Do you have a financial plan for when a loved one passes away?

It’s a difficult and inevitable situation.

Managing a family member’s affairs can be complicated and if not done properly, very costly.

One Mid-Michigan man is sharing his story in hopes others can learn from his experience.

“It’s already been six months and no one’s given me any answers,” said Pete Kastros, Saginaw resident.

His mother, a former employee at Covenant Hospital, passed away in December.

Before she died, she told him per her retirement he would receive a $2,500 death benefit.

“I’ve heard it for years from her and finally I was skeptical and I called them. And I talked to the HR lady in charge there and confirmed it. And all I needed to do was let them know,” Kastros said.

After she died, Kastros called again. He said a new HR representative told him the matter was being looked into.

So far, he has not received a dime in death benefits.

“If they say, you will receive X dollars and you’re going to have a death benefit, get that in writing,” Attorney Robert Miller said.

Miller works for Shinners and Cook. He said it’s important to start planning for a loved one’s death early on.

He said the most common mistake people make is taking someone at their word.

When it comes to getting your affairs in order, Miller recommends getting that contract signed first.

Always get a copy of the written agreement, read it and if you don’t fully understand it, go talk to a lawyer and have him or her read it and tell you what it means,” Miller said.

Meanwhile, Kastros said his mother’s funeral was instead covered through her life insurance policy. He said he still wants an answer from Covenant.

“It’s not about the money. It’s a matter of principle now where I think Covenant should step up,” Kastros said.

Covenant Healthcare issued the following statement:

When Covenant Human Resources receives an inquiry, they are handled with high regard. Questions are thoroughly reviewed, taking time to find the correct answer for the employee or beneficiary.

As with any organization, employee benefits are continuously reviewed and change year over year. As a longstanding employer, there are some benefits (such as the one mentioned) that were put into place before Covenant was formed in 1998 from the Saginaw General and St. Luke’s merger. At times, these legacy benefits can take time to sort out; finding old records, former policies, or past insurance carriers.

While we cannot address this specific instance publicly, Covenant is committed to providing accurate information and working with the individual who made this inquiry. We take the privacy of our employees seriously and therefore it is our policy to keep employee records, including benefit information, confidential.

Covenant respects and thanks our retirees for the service they have provided.

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