Millions of Americans participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans, though many people know little about their plans or their rights under the law. When individuals work for a private sector employer, these plans are almost always governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which is a federal law that purports to protect the rights of employee-plan participants and beneficiaries. However, knowing your rights and how to protect them can be complicated, and you should never hesitate to seek help from a Philadelphia ERISA retirement plan lawyer who can help you understand what you are entitled to.
Types of Plans
There are different types of ERISA retirement plans, and you should know what type of plan or plans you are enrolled in. These might include:
- Defined benefit plan
- Defined contribution plan
There are several types of defined contribution plans, as well, and you should be familiar with the details of yours. Some details that are important include:
- Does your employer make contributions or match contributions?
- Do you have to contribute to participate in a plan?
- Who manages the plan funds? Do you play a role in managing this investment?
- What type of benefits will you receive when you retire and how much?
- Are you guaranteed benefits from the federal government?
- What happens if you leave the company prior to retirement?
If you understand the answers to these questions now, you will have a much better idea of what to expect when it comes time to start receiving benefits under your retirement plan.
Review Your Plan Information
You can request more information about your company’s offerings from the plan administrator or human resources representative. You should always have access to the formal plan document, as well as the Summary Plan Description (SPD). The SPD is a booklet that aims to explain the plan in a manner that is easy to understand. You should also receive notices if the plan changes, as well as have access to the annual financial report of your plan.
Why Stay Informed?
It might seem easiest to simply let your retirement plan carry on without giving it much concern or staying apprised of the details. However, knowing the ins and outs of your retirement plan helps you protect your rights under ERISA. These rights include proper management of the plan (when applicable), receiving notices when required by law, and receiving the full benefits you deserve.
If you believe that your rights under the law might be violated due to improper plan management or benefit disbursements, you should speak with an ERISA lawyer who can determine whether you should take legal action. The better you understand your retirement plan, the more likely you are to recognize possible ERISA violations and that you need legal assistance.
Consult with a Philadelphia ERISA Retirement Plan Claims Attorney Today
The Garner Firm, Ltd. helps clients protect their rights under ERISA regarding employer-sponsored retirement and insurance plans. If you have any questions or concerns about retirement benefits, do not hesitate to contact us today for assistance.