ERISA – The Legal Avenue for Working Americans to Receive the Benefits They are Entitled to Claim upon Their Retirement

Posted by on Jun 24, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), passed into law by the 93rd United States Congress on September 2, 1974, provides federal guidelines for employers’ pension and health benefit plans. While ERISA regulations do not require a company to provide workers with either of these types of benefits, they do create a minimum standard for benefit plans at those companies that do elect to provide these benefits. Under ERISA, employees have a wide range of rights to help ensure that plans communicate vital information to participants and they can receive the benefits they have been promised.

Unfortunately, many face the repercussions of ERISA violations. It is because of this why one of the most common bases of many legal battles in federal courts is with regard to employment concern, particularly concerning ERISA.

ERISA was passed for the purpose of making sure that the millions of working Americans, upon their retirement, will be able to enjoy the assets or funds deposited in their retirement plan during the years when they were employed. This Act particularly benefits employees in companies where their employer has sponsored, on their behalf, health insurance coverage or any other type of benefits, such as a pension plan.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the branch of the U.S. Department of Labor that has been charged with the administration of ERISA, makes sure that the interests of ERISA-covered employees, along with their beneficiaries, are protected by the Act and informed, through the same, about all the vital information relating to the plans sponsored on their behalf.

ERISA also sets the minimum standards on how employees would qualify for the availment of the benefits offered by the plans. These standards include:

  • Specification of the length of employment required for an employee to qualify as a participant in the plan;
  • The number of years required before an employee can rightfully enjoy non-forfeitable interests in their pension plan;
  • The length of time an employee is allowed to be away from his/her job without his/her benefits being affected; and,
  • The right of the employee’s spouse to the pension in the event of the employee’s death.

Often, however, despite an employee’s qualification into the program and eligibility in already claiming the benefits stipulated in the plan, his/her application ends up getting denied. Pension plan providers are afforded 90 days for the processing of applications, though, they can request for an additional 90 days if more time is needed.

Denial of claim or getting approved for a benefit but which is lesser than the amount stipulated in the plan policy entitles the employee to file a written appeal with the plan provider, usually within 60 days after the application has been denied.

There are a number of different areas that has led to ERISA violations, including bad faith litigation and breach of fiduciary duty. In these and other situations, the support of a skilled attorney can help workers get the justice and benefits they deserve.


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