As you know, ERISA is supposed to protect employees covered under disability insurance and other employee welfare benefit plans provided by an employer. The Act also establishes the minimum standards for plan administration.
As an ERISA participant, you have rights, and your employer has obligations. When an employer fails to fulfill these obligations, they may face punishments or penalties.
What are your employer’s ERISA obligations?
In general, employers in New Jersey and elsewhere have three obligations
- They must provide you with accurate details about your plan
- They must fulfill their fiduciary duties in the way they administer the plan
- They must create grievance and appeals procedures for their covered employees.
It may help to look deeper at the typical employer’s ERISA obligations. Common best practices for employers providing ERISA coverage include:
- Keep copies of all plan documents onsite and available for employee review
- Provide employees with information to make informed decisions
- Deliver any employee-requested ERISA or plan information promptly
- Make decisions that protect the best interests of the plan
- Outline the procedure for filing an ERISA appeal for workers
If you suspect that your employer is failing to meet their obligations or is interfering with your benefits, you have the right to seek a legal remedy. For example, if your employer denies your benefits illegally or improperly, you have the right to file an appeal. If the appeal is denied, you have the right to file a lawsuit.
Employers that fail to meet their obligations can face an array of penalties. Importantly, these penalties may help you receive a payment to mitigate the harm you suffered by employer mismanagement or ERISA violations.
We urge our New York and New Jersey neighbors, to improve their understanding of proper ERISA management. Taking such a step can ensure you have access to your benefits when you need them the most.