Houston ERISA Lawyer
ERISA, officially known as the Employment Retirement Security Income Act of 1974, is a federal law that regulates the administration of employer-backed benefits. It deals with health insurance, retirement, disability, pension, and any other benefits offered to an employee by an employer.
Although ERISA provides protection to employees, its laws and the policies offered by employers are difficult to understand. Fortunately, if a policy-carrier denies benefits to an employee, the employee has a right to take legal action against them after an appeal is filed. If you recently had your claim denied or you suspect your employer is violating ERISA in any way, you may want to contact a Houston ERISA lawyer.
Common ERISA Violations in Houston
ERISA, as mentioned above, is a federal mandate that requires employers to follow certain regulations in regards to employee benefits. ERISA regulates everything from claim processing times to the steps involved in an appeal and if a company does not follow ERISA regulations, it can face serious criminal and civil penalties. ERISA also states that employers must provide their employees with an adequate amount of information about their plans.
Individuals may need to consult a Houston ERISA lawyer if one of the following situations arises:
- A claim is denied for no reason or for obscure reasons
- An employer changes coverage options without telling their employees
- An employer takes investments into consideration when making benefits decisions
- An employer fails to provide an employee with information about their benefits and how they work
- The carrier of a plan takes longer than usual to issue a claims decision
All of the actions above violate ERISA and it is possible for a person to take legal action against an employer if they have experienced any of them.
Short and Long-Term Disability
As mentioned above, ERISA also covers both short and long-term disability benefits if they are provided by an employer. These benefits, unlike workers’ compensation, provide compensation to a worker if they are injured or become ill outside of work and are unable to return to their job. However, to qualify employees must work for an employee for a certain period and disability coverage is usually only available to full-time employees. If a disability claim is approved, an employee will usually begin to receive a certain percentage of their salary on a monthly basis until they are able to return to work.
Unfortunately, obtaining disability is not always easy and insurance companies often deny claims for a variety of reasons. Even when an employer-provided plan pays benefits, the carrier will usually attempt to provide the benefits for the shortest amount of time possible.
ERISA and Retirement Funds
ERISA requires employers to follow strict investment guidelines and regulations for retirement benefits, but some employers simply refuse to adhere to these regulations. This is unfair to workers, but there may be a way to hold an irresponsible employer liable for their actions.
If a claimant is wrongfully denied their retirement or pension funds, they may need to take legal action. Often, claimants are denied access to their funds because of a miscalculation of service time and the actions of their employers and filing an appeal can help them get the benefits they deserve.
How a Houston ERISA Attorney Can Help
If you believe your employer-sponsored plan has failed to provide the coverage it promised or if you believe your employer has violated ERISA, there is no need to despair. ERISA allows employees to file suit against their employers and plan carriers and you may still be able to obtain the benefits you deserve.
Call a Houston ERISA lawyer to schedule a consultation. They can sit down and help you fully understand your claim to help you determine your next steps.