If you are covered by any of the employer benefits plans (pension, life insurance as well as health and retirement benefits), then chances are your plan is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) regulation. Established by Congress in 1974, ERISA provides a range of provisions to employees participating in a benefit plan that is covered by the regulation. It also provides a cause of action for enforcing those provisions.
Having the right facts beforehand can help you pursue your ERISA disability claims without much hassle. Unfortunately, not many employees are adequately informed. As a result, they end up hitting a snag and missing out on the disability benefits that they deserve.
Here are two common misconceptions about ERISA claims that you need to be aware of before filing your claim.
Your employer must have an ERISA plan
This is not true. ERISA only regulates health, life, disability and similar employer-funded benefits. ERISA laws do not enforce the provision of such benefits. However, if an employer provides them, then they have to be governed by ERISA laws.
Additionally, ERISA laws only apply to private employers. This means that ERISA benefits are not available for government employees. A few exceptions may apply to employees who are hired by associations like churches.
Your employer should help you pursue ERISA benefits
Again, this is not always true. While most benefits, like disability benefits, are employer-sponsored, they are insured by the insurance company that issued a group policy to your employer.
This means that while the employer funds the kitty, they do not determine eligibility for the benefits. Rather, it is the insurance that is responsible for settling your disability benefits. Thus, when you initiate a disability claim, it is up to the insurance company to review and grant or deny the claim.
ERISA claims can offer a much-needed financial lifeline if you are disabled. You may want to know how you can safeguard your rights and interests while pursuing ERISA disability claims.