Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

Set Text Size SmallSet Text Size MediumSet Text Size LargeSet Text Size X-Large
Share
Updated: 3/18/2003 2:37 pm
The Employment Retirement Income Security Act, also known as ERISA, was enacted by Congress to set uniform standards for the administering of employee benefit plans by private employers and insurance companies. This federal law doesn't require an employer to provide its employees with any particular benefits. Instead, it requires that once an employer decides to offer a benefit plan, it must follow certain standards designed to protect the interests of employees and other plan beneficiaries, such as family members. These standards mainly provide that benefit plans must be operated in a fair and financially sound manner. ERISA covers a wide range of benefits from pension plans and disability insurance to scholarship funds and training programs. ERISA, however, doesn't cover plans that are required and administered by state laws, such as workers' compensation or unemployment compensation. Generally, your health plan is covered by ERISA if you purchased it through your work. However, you're not covered if your employer is a government agency, if you're self-employed, or if you work for any kind of religious organization. Furthermore, if you bought your plan personally, outside of work, ERISA usually doesn't apply. The paperwork involving your benefits should indicate whether or not it's an ERISA program. It's important that you determine if your benefits are covered by ERISA as employers participating in the program have an obligation to provide promised benefits and satisfy ERISA's requirements for managing and administering private pension and welfare plans. For example, if you're a 55-year-old new employee and your plan requires you to retire at age 60, ERISA can give you until age 65 to retire. The U.S. Department's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, together with the Internal Revenue Service, are in charge of enforcing the laws under this act to ensure that workers receive their promised benefits. Keep in mind, however, that ERISA-covered plans are exempted from state laws and regulations. This means that if you file a claim to recover unpaid benefits owed to you, you must do so in federal courts and your damages will generally be limited only to the amount of the unpaid benefits. You won't be able to recover anything more, even if you've lost your house, your credit, or had to file for bankruptcy because your claims were not paid. As a result, unless your claim involves a large amount of money, it may not be economically feasible to file a lawsuit over the denial of a claim.

©2006 Crossroads Mobile. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Share
Most Popular
Police: Kids Stole Popsicles, Shot At Ice Cream Truck Driver
Lexington Police said a group of juveniles stole from an ice cream truck and shot at the driver. And officers said the same kids later tried to break into a nearby home. Video Video
1 dead, 2 injured in motorcycle club shooting
One man is dead and two others were injured after they were shot at an eastern Kentucky motorcycle club.
Woman Accused Of Stealing From Elderly Couple
Tiffany Whitaker is accused of stealing close to $1,000 for a couple she was working for as a caregiver.
Women Chained To Dog House Protests In Frankfort
A woman chained to a dog house rallied in Frankfort against Kentucky's animal chain laws. Amira Thayne said Kentucky needed to better protect animals by banning animal chains. The stop in Frankfort was part of her 'Dogs Deserve Better' campaign. Video Video
36 Blitz: Rowan Co. Vikings
Ray Graham Returns To School He Led During Early 80s Stint Video Video
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.

WTVQ.com supports children's privacy rights. All persons under the age of 13 MUST have parental permission to use this website and direct parental supervision is strongly recommended.