In 1974, the United States Congress enacted the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, known as ERISA, in order to protect the interests of participants and plan beneficiaries under welfare and pension plans provided by employers.
Prior to the ERISA legislation, the Internal Revenue Service allowed employers certain tax deductions when they provided benefits to employees. The intent was to incentivize employee benefit plans but unfortunately, and probably unsurprisingly, many employers took advantage of employees and plans and would sometimes mismanage plan assets or give employees poor advice. ERISA was designed to curb these issues.
As it stands today, a plan participant may file a claim against their benefit plan administrator and even take them to court if their plan falls under ERISA laws. While punitive damages are not provided, a person harmed by a plan administrator’s actions may seek restitution and other equitable forms of relief in court.
Generally, two types of plans are covered under ERISA legislation. Those two kinds are known as Employee Welfare Benefit Plans and Employee Benefit Pension Plans. Within each category, there are many complicated subcategories that can be summarized in the following manner:
As with any complicated law, there are exceptions. For example, benefit plans falling under the category of a “government plan” are exempt from ERISA. As it sounds, a government plan is a benefits plan provided by a governmental employer. Additionally, payroll practices like overtime or holiday pay will be exempt from ERISA regulation.
Determining whether or not a certain benefit provided to you by your employer falls under the laws of ERISA is not always an easy determination. If you have a question about ERISA coverage, you should contact an experienced ERISA lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been denied benefits by your employer, the consequences can be devastating. Believing that you will receive a certain aid or post-employment compensation will undoubtedly impact decisions you make in seeking healthcare or developing a retirement plan. The first step in disputing benefits denied is making sure that your benefits plan is covered under ERISA. Kenilworth’s dedicated ERISA attorneys at Michael Bartolic, LLC will evaluate your case for free because we understand that benefits deprivation is already a costly issue. Please contact us today at (312) 635-1600 and let us see if we can help you.