Dealing with retirement plans can be confusing. The language used and options offered may be unfamiliar or seem complex, and on top of that, you may be concerned about making the right decision for yourself and your family in New Jersey. You may have encountered the acronym ERISA in association with the retirement plan that your employer offers, but what does ERISA have to do with retirement, and what does it mean for you?
What is ERISA?
ERISA stands for Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Congress passed this act in 1974 to ensure that if you are working for a private employer who offers a retirement plan or health insurance, they meet certain standards that will protect you. ERISA helps reduce the risk to you by enforcing fiduciary responsibility from plan administrators, prohibiting discrimination and keeping you adequately informed about your account among other requirements.
ERISA and retirement plans
While ERISA does offer substantial protection for your retirement, there are situations in which an employer may have a type of plan that is not covered under ERISA for good reasons. For example, if you make a lot of money, a non-ERISA plan could allow you to save more toward retirement. If you work for a nonprofit, they may want to save money on plan administration by having a non-ERISA plan.
ERISA and disability
ERISA may also help ensure that you have access to disability benefits. However, applying for these benefits can be a complex process. For example, you need to make sure that you have adequate documentation. Insurance companies may also try to check your activity to ensure that you are being honest with them.
If you need to apply for disability benefits or have other ERISA-related issues, you may want to consider working with an attorney. An attorney may be able to explain the process to you, help you prepare paperwork correctly and assist you with the appeals process, if necessary.