If you have a retirement account such as a pension plan or a 401(k), the administrator must adhere to certain standards set forth under ERISA.
However, if you feel the fiduciary is mismanaging your plan in any way, you may wish to seek legal guidance to consider options for protecting your funds.
Several government entities oversee the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). These include the U.S. Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation(PBGC). ERISA protects the interests of those who participate in employee retirement plans and welfare benefit plans. In addition, plan sponsors must perform their duties according to ERISA standards.
Title I and more
Of the four parts that comprise ERISA, Title I is likely of most interest to employees since the goal is the protection of their benefit plan interests. Title I requires a plan administrator to adhere to standards of conduct taken from the common law of trusts. The administrator must provide sufficient plan information to participants and ensure that they receive benefits. Title II deals with tax treatment and Title III addresses jurisdictional matters. Title IV, administered by the PBGC, covers benefit pension plans.
Since 1986, the government has passed legislation that has continued to add to ERISA standards relative to healthcare coverage. The latest example is the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which brought changes affecting plan coverage and benefit limits.
ERISA allows for participants to hold plan providers responsible if they mismanage retirement funds or healthcare-related benefits. If you feel the administrator of your plan is negligent in any way, do not hesitate to seek legal guidance to determine what steps you can take to protect your interests.