DATE POSTED 23. 08. 2016, By

FAQs About ERISA Disability Plans

Even if you have a disability plan through your employer that is regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), you may not fully understand many facets of the law and your rights under your benefit plan. The following are some frequently asked questions about ERISA disability plans.

What is ERISA?

ERISA is a federal law that was enacted to protect the rights of private employees when they are offered certain benefits by their employer. While the law does not require employers to provide benefits, it does regulate employee rights if benefits are provided. ERISA regulates long-term disability insurance plans, as well as health care plans, life insurance policies, retirement plans, and more.

When Does ERISA Apply To My Disability Claim?

If you participate in a long-term disability plan, your claim is likely governed by ERISA unless any of the following are true:

  • You paid the full premium and your employer did not contribute to your premiums;
  • You work for a public employer or a church;
  • You purchased your policy through a professional association or outside of work.

What Rights Are Provided By ERISA?

ERISA provides many rights to employees. For example, if your employer offers benefits, it must offer them equally to all eligible employees. You also have the right to the following:

  • To be kept apprised of any developments regarding your plan;
  • To be free from discrimination based on benefits;
  • To be free from interference with benefits;
  • To be free from retaliation for making a benefits claim.

These are only some of the many rights you have under ERISA. It is important to understand that ERISA also provides certain rights for your employer and for plans/plan administrators, as well. Therefore, the law does not always work completely in an employee’s favor.

Can I Appeal a Denial of ERISA Benefits?

If you make a claim for long-term disability benefits under an ERISA plan and receive a denial or only receive partial benefits, you definitely have the right to appeal that denial. However, you must follow certain procedures to do so and the process can be tedious. First, you must appeal directly to the plan administrator. Your appeal can involve medical evidence of your disability and information from medical and occupational experts demonstrating that you cannot work. If you are not successful with the administrative appeal, you then have the right to file a legal claim with the court to try to appeal the decision.

Call For A Free Consultation With An ERISA Lawyer Today

It is only natural for you to have many questions about your rights under ERISA. This is a complex law with many requirements, though it can be very beneficial if you understand the rights it provides. At Roberts Bartolic LLP, our experienced ERISA attorneys can not only help you understand your rights in regard to your ERISA disability plan, but can also stand up for your interests if those rights are violated by your employer or plan administrator. Please call for more information at 312-635-1600 today.

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