Being declined pension benefits is stressful and impacts your future. Over the years, employees with a pension benefit anticipate a smooth transition to retirement. Receiving a claims denial letter is an unwelcome beginning to that dream.
If you are denied expected pension benefits, there are steps you can take to protect and move your claim forward.
Contact a Pension Lawyer
If you held employment from a private employer or employers, your route to recovery of benefits is governed by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). ERISA is a complicated set of federal laws setting forth regulations for policyholders, employers, and insurance companies.
While it makes little sense to spend money chasing money you already earned, experienced legal counsel will help you avoid mistakes that could cost the entirety of your pension benefit. Your choice of pension lawyers should have:
- Significant successful experience with ERISA / non-ERISA pension claims
- The ability to aggressively represent your interests in administrative and courtroom settings
- The ability to communicate what you should expect and how to achieve your goals
Review Your Documentation
After your insurance company has conducted a pension review, a letter denying your claim should arrive within 90 days of your application. If you have not already done so, carefully compare details of the denial letter with your pension benefit plan, called a Summary Plan Description or Individual Benefit Statement. These documents should provide specific details about entitled benefits and why your insurance company rejected your claim.
If you do not have your plan description, or did not receive a response to your application for pension benefits, write the administrator of each pension plan under which you believe you were vested. Send each letter certified with return receipt requested. Include the following information:
Carefully Follow the Process
You have 60 days from the notice of denial of your claim to appeal your claim to the plan administrator. The denial letter from the plan administrator should set forth defects they believe inherent in your claim. Work with your pension lawyer to review your insurance file, and correct omissions that may be present in your file. This administrative file is the sole record upon which your appeal, and a future lawsuit, will be based.
Contact a Qualified Pension Plan Lawyer for Help
If you worked for years expecting a pension benefit and those benefits are now in dispute, we can help. A skilled pension fund lawyer, Laurence F. Padway has over 30 years experience successfully pursuing ERISA and non-ERISA benefits claims just like yours. Contact us or call 510.814.6100 today for a free consultation.