Even after completing law school, most lawyers have no idea what ERISA is other than a vague understanding that it involves employee benefits and that they should consult an expert if they encounter it. If you are not a lawyer, the first time you hear “ERISA” would likely be if you’ve been denied some type of benefit from work.
So what the heck is ERISA?
ERISA is an acronym for “Employee Retirement Income Security Act”, a federal law enacted in 1974 that sets minimum standards for employee benefit plans: pension, long and short term disability insurance, health, welfare, life insurance. It requires plans to provide participants with certain information, such as features of their plan such as what benefits there are, how to apply of benefits, and how to appeal a denial of benefits. It also provides fiduciary responsibilities for those who manage and control plan assets, meaning they have to act in the best interests of the plan participants as a group. ERISA also gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.
What Does An Attorney Specializing in ERISA Do?
As attorneys specializing in ERISA, we help people obtain benefits through their employee plans. This could mean helping a person with a disabling condition who can no longer work obtain disability benefits, help a widow or widower get the life insurance proceeds from an insurance policy, or helping a retiree get pension benefits they worked very hard to earn. Here at the Law Office of Katherine MacKinnon enjoy helping people get the benefits they need and are entitled to receive.