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What is the federal benefits protection program ERISA?

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2021 | Employee Benefits & ERISA

The acronym ERISA, stands for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA is a federal law that establishes the standards for private employee benefit plans. The program does not require employers to sponsor benefit plans for their workers. If employers choose to do so, however, ERISA requires that they comply with the act’s federal regulations.

What are some key ERISA regulations?

If you work for a private company and your employer provides retirement benefits, your plan most likely falls under ERISA regulations. Below, you will find a partial list of these regulations. ERISA:

  • Mandates that those who manage retirement funds (fiduciaries) act solely in the best interests of all plan members
  • Requires that detailed reporting and accountability are made available to the federal government
  • Regulates the conduct associated with managed care and additional fiduciaries to deter mismanagement of funds
  • Prohibits discrimination against individuals qualified to receive plan benefits
  • Ensures plan participants receive written information about their benefits including, a plan summary, how to get benefits, limitations of the plan and more

Unfortunately, employers may not be aware of their responsibilities when offering retirement plans under ERISA. Other times, a fiduciary in charge of managing retirement funds may misuse them. In either case, qualified plan members may not receive all the benefits they are due. When you are harmed by violations of the act, filing an ERISA claim can ensure that you find a satisfactory remedy for your situation.

Although ERISA is complicated, it exists to ensure that your retirement funds are there when you need them. If you suspect that your plan is functioning outside of federal regulations, consider seeking a legal opinion.