Your right to certain employment benefits doesn’t just come from your contract with your employer. There are also federal laws that help protect you regarding certain kinds of benefits.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has helped protect employees dependent on employer-provided benefits from fraud and unfair denials since 1974.
How does ERISA affect your benefits?
Under ERISA, companies that offer benefits covered by ERISA and the businesses that provide the plans have to provide workers who receive certain benefits with information about how the plan works and how the company funds it. They also have to provide transparent information about benefit accrual.
Whoever manages the benefits has a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries, and the company providing the benefits should also provide workers with clear information about how to file a grievance or request an appeal.
The law also gives workers the right to go to court for benefits they believe they deserve and to hold their employer or the company managing the benefits responsible for a breach of fiduciary duty. Which benefits are subject to the rules of ERISA?
ERISA regulations apply to specific worker benefits
As the name implies, ERISA primarily establishes protections for workers who depend on their employers for pension benefits or other retirement-related benefits.
However, the law also applies to health plans and even supplementary disability benefits offered in addition to workers’ compensation or to augment whatever benefits a worker might qualify for if they applied for Social Security Disability benefits.
It’s important to understand that ERISA only applies to private industries and does not cover workers employed by governments entities or churches. Learning more about how ERISA protects you can help you connect with the benefits you deserve.
What should you do if you think your benefits plan is being mishandled?
Edelson Lechtzin LLP is a national class action law firm with offices in Pennsylvania and California. In addition to cases involving employee retirement plans, our lawyers focus on class and collective litigation in cases alleging violations of the federal antitrust laws, securities and investment fraud, wage theft and unpaid overtime, consumer fraud and consumer protection, and dangerous and defective drugs and medical devices.