Many people look forward to a pension, money set aside by their employer in a pension fund or other investment tool. The Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), enacted in 1974, is a federal statute outlining responsibilities of beneficiaries, insurance companies, and employers concerning pension and benefit plans.
A federal law, ERISA governs benefit plans sponsored by private employers, rather than religious or governmental entities. The primary differences between ERISA and non-ERISA plans are the avenues of dispute resolution and the jurisdiction of lawsuits following unsatisfactory administrative appeals.
Different Types of Pension Plans
There are different types of pension plans, including:
- Defined benefit plans: A defined benefit plan guarantees a certain amount of money to the retirement account of an employee calculated on a formula that considers length of employment service, salary, and other factors.
- Defined contribution plans: By contrast, a defined contribution plan does not guarantee a specific monthly amount of money to an employee, but contributes a fixed amount into an employee account established with an investment entity, such as a trust.
Pension and other benefits become complicated quickly. While few people read their health plan benefits booklet, fewer still glance at the fine print of investment strategies supposedly safeguarding their retirement years.
Even without a dispute on your horizon, seeking the advice of a pension attorney long before retirement is smart. A good pension plan attorney provides considered and practical advice. Investment features like annuities, beneficiaries, and asset allocation can be complex, and an attorney focused on pension and benefits law can help you make appropriate decisions for your future and that of your loved ones.
Resolving Disputes over Benefit Payments
Oftentimes disputes arise over benefit payments from pension funds. Resolution of both ERISA and non-ERISA claims for pension benefits require successful experience with ERISA regulations. The Law Offices of Laurence F. Padway provide highly qualified representation to clients with pension and other benefits disputes. Tips for using pension attorneys include:
- Early start: Getting early legal help, either upon application for, or denial of benefits, gives you a greater chance of eventually collecting your expected pension.
- Cost: Help from a good attorney can help you avoid mistakes that might limit or lose your pension altogether. Good advice is worth the price.
- Essential services: The file built by your insurance company is the administrative record on which your administrative appeal and any potential lawsuit is determined. Retaining a pension attorney to review your file is vital if your pension application has been denied.
Get Help from a Pension Fund Attorney
Successfully representing plan recipients with pension claims for over 30 years, the Law Offices of Laurence F. Padway offer skilled trial and administrative advocacy relating to ERISA and non-ERISA benefit disputes. Contact us or call 510.814.6100 today for a free initial consultation.