The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is one of the most important federal laws for the protection of workers’ benefits. ERISA creates a fiduciary duty for those administering certain employer-sponsored benefit programs. It protects the rights of workers to appeal benefits decisions and helps to ensure a certain degree of transparency.
Although people often focus the most on retirement benefits when talking about ERISA, it is also a key law protecting those who have employer-sponsored disability benefits. Not every worker has the kind of work benefits that ERISA regulates. There are certain kinds of businesses that are more likely than others to provide disability insurance coverage as part of their employee benefits package. What employees have the strongest association with ERISA-governed benefits packages?
Manufacturing workers and other blue-collar employees
Workers in high-risk industries who also use their bodies to do their jobs often receive benefit packages from their employers that include ERISA-governed disability benefits and retirement or pension benefits. They may be more likely than others to struggle to support themselves if an injury or medical condition limits what job functions they can perform.
If these workers become unable to continue their employment because of an injury or illness, the ERISA-governed disability benefits provided by their employer can help them cover their household expenses until they return to work. According to the Social Security Administration, manufacturing companies are among the businesses most likely to provide workers with disability coverage.
Highly-compensated professionals, including executives
Higher-paid workers are more likely to receive comprehensive benefits packages including ERISA-governed retirement or pension benefits. Companies also frequently provide supplemental disability insurance to high earners as a way to provide them in their loved ones with some degree of economic stability.
Overall, it is likely blue-collar workers who may require assistance managing an ERISA claim or filing an appeal. Injured workers who need long-term disability benefits often need assistance with the process, especially if they encounter pushback when making their claims. Seeking legal guidance if ERISA may govern a worker’s benefits claim might help those who are worried about the process ahead when they need to make use of their employer-sponsored disability coverage.