Disability lawyers and ERISA Any reputable disability lawyer will tell you that when ERISA is concerned you have a full range of legal rights, but the procedures for enforcing those rights are very complex.  Many plans have arbitration clauses that limit your ability to get relief in court.  The best way to avoid hidden dangers and successfully pursue your claim is with a qualified ERISA and disability lawyer.  Here are some common questions about ERISA:

What does ERISA stand for?

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.  It was enacted to ensure that employees receive the pension and other benefits promised by their employers, and to encourage employers to provide benefits for their employees.

When do I need an ERISA attorney?

If you have a legal conflict involving any benefits under an employee benefit plan, you need an ERISA attorney. The most common cases involve disability benefits, health benefits, pension benefits, and life insurance benefits.

Who administers and enforces the provisions of ERISA?

The U.S. Department of Labor, through the Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”), is responsible for enforcing the fiduciary, reporting and disclosure provisions of Title I of ERISA. The goal of Title I of ERISA is to protect the interests of participants and their beneficiaries.

What if I work for the government?

ERISA regulations do not apply to any government employees at any level – local, state, or federal.

What if I work for a non-profit?

ERISA governs most disability plans sponsored by non-profits, with the exception of churches and certain other religious institutions.

What if my employer doesn’t have a plan document for health and welfare benefits?

ERISA only requires employers to follow certain rules once a disability plan is established. However, the act does not require employers to start a disability plan.

What is a fiduciary?

A fiduciary is any party who exercises discretionary authority or control over the management or administration of an employee benefit plan or its assets. Fiduciaries include a plan’s sponsor, trustees, employees and administrator, as well as directors of a company to the extent they perform fiduciary functions. These individuals can be specifically designated as fiduciaries or they may be deemed fiduciaries by their conduct.

What is a beneficiary?

Any employee or former employee of an employer who is or may become eligible to receive a benefit of any type from that employer’s employee benefit plan. A beneficiary is a person designated by a participant or by the terms of a plan who is or may become entitled to a benefit under the plan.

The disability lawyers at Fisher Stark, P.A. have handled numerous ERISA claims against major carriers and retirement plan administrators.  We have litigated matters in both state and federal courts, through trial and appeal.  We can help you when you first apply for benefits or after your claim for benefits has been unfairly denied.  Call today for a free case evaluation at 828.505.4300.

Last updated 7/5/2015