ERISA, Your Retirement Benefits And When You Need A Lawyer

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that was enacted to ensure that Americans who paid into retirement plans during their working years would be able to collect upon retirement.

Retirement plans that are governed by ERISA are varied and include:

  • Defined benefit plans
    • A monthly benefit fully funded by your employer available at retirement. The amount may be either a specific amount or it may be calculated using a formula. In either case, in defined benefit plans your pension is promised and funded fully by the employer.
  • Defined contribution plans
    • In defined contribution plans, either you or your employer or both contribute to a retirement account. Employees have more say in the monies in the retirement investment accounts are invested.
      • 401(k) - A 401(k) plan is one of the more popular versions of a defined contribution plan.
      •  IRA- An IRA is also a version of the defined contribution plan.

Additional plans such as profit-sharing plans or employee stock purchase plans are also be governed by ERISA. The government cannot require companies to offer a retirement program, however ERISA does determine how such plans will be governed once they are created.

When Do I Need A Lawyer?

The important thing to remember about employee retirement cases is that the federal government requires pension plans to be managed under strict rules. However, the retirement plans and employee claims are not always managed according to the expectations laid out in ERISA.

As such, skilled litigators familiar with this complex area of law often step into to ensure that retired and disabled employees who have put in their time and who meet the requirements, will have access to their retirement funds. Lawyers can challenge how the plan is being managed, how the fiduciaries are carrying out their job duties and how and why a claim was denied or delayed.

Retired individuals and disabled employees who are attempting to access their retirement and have been denied their benefits are in need of an attorney. The personal injury lawyers at Greg Coleman Law have helped retirees such as yourself gain access to their rightfully earned retirement funds. 

For comprehensive information about ERISA issues, consult the federal governments site