Apr 23, 2015

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The Right of Employees Who are Denied by Pension Providers

One common basis of many legal battles in federal courts is with regard to employment concern, particularly concerning ERISA, which stands for Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA was passed into law by the 93rd United States Congress on September 2, 1974, for the purpose of making sure that the millions of Americans, upon their retirement, will be able to enjoy the deposited assets or funds in their retirement plan during the years when they were employed. This Act, however, is to benefit only those employees in companies where their employer has sponsored, on their behalf, a health insurance coverage or any other benefits, such as a pension plan.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), a branch of the US Department of Labor which has been charged with the administration of ERISA, does not require employers to sponsor plans for their employees. Its main task is to 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 his/her 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. According to the website of Cary Kane LLP, pension plan providers are afforded 90 days (by the law) 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 that is less 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.

An employee has the right to file a lawsuit against the pension provider in the event of a denied claim. But it is important that the employee is represented by a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer who will make sure that all pertinent documents are prepared and filed on time.

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