ERISA (Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) according to a Santa Clara ERISA lawyer is a federal act that directs how companies in private industry should manage their employee pension schemes and group health insurance plans.
The law specifically provides direction on:
– Specific information an employer must provide to participants and how often;
– Details on how and when a participant’s interest in the plan vests;
– Protection from misappropriation or mismanagement of the plan;
– The process for suing an employer for breach of fiduciary duty;
– Guarantee of certain benefits should the plan be terminated.
– Disclosure an employer must provide to participants including information on benefits offered, plan limitations, and rules for obtaining benefits;
– A required written policy that outlines the way in which claims should be filed;
– The required written appeals process;
– Protection of participants from discrimination in the collection of plan benefits.
Information Your Company Must Disclose to you When you Enroll in a Retirement Plan
Many employees have questions about the employer-sponsored retirement plan they enroll in, and rightly so as their hard-earned money goes into those plans. Much of the control and administration of the plan is left to others and participants are entitled to specific information about the plan if it falls under the jurisdiction of ERISA – which applies to most private employer pension plans.
Within the first 90 days of enrollment in a pension plan, you should receive a Summary Plan Description that clearly describes the rights, obligations, and benefits of the plan in a language that is easy for you to understand. You should carefully review the document and be given the opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you may have with the plan administrator.
ERISA Attorneys can Help
Employer-provided retirement and health insurance plans are designed to handle the diverse requirements of a large group of employees and consequently, it can be overwhelming for any individual to understand all the intricacies and how to handle the often convoluted processes involved.
Individuals participating in a company pension plan or group health insurance scheme who believe that their benefits are being mismanaged, or have been denied benefits, should talk to an attorney who is experienced in handling such cases. ERISA attorneys know the law and how it can be applied in individual cases to ensure that claims are properly filed before statutory deadlines.
Although this article has helpful information, even common legal matters are complex and can be stressful to handle. If you suspect that your pension or health benefits are being misappropriated or mismanaged, an ERISA lawyer qualified in these particular matters will explain the law to you, address your particular legal rights, and if necessary, represent you in a court of law.