General Information: The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for retirement and health benefit plans in private industry. ERISA does not require any employer to establish a plan. It only requires that those who establish plans must meet certain minimum standards. ERISA covers retirement, health and other welfare benefit plans (such as life, disability and apprenticeship plans). Among other things, ERISA provides that those individuals who manage plans (and other fiduciaries) must meet certain standards of conduct. ERISA does not cover plans sponsored by the Federal government, or plans sponsored by a State or local governmental plan (such as a public school, a public college or university or a police or fire department). Additionally, Title I of ERISA generally does not cover church plans.
Requests for Assistance or Complaints involving alleged violations of Title I of ERISA are handled by Benefit Advisors in our national and field offices. Those who file complaints with us can expect a prompt and courteous response from our staff. Every complaint received will be pursued and, if determined to be valid, resolution will be sought through informal dispute resolution. You can expect to receive a status report from the assigned benefits advisor every 30 days. If your valid complaint cannot be resolved informally, it may be referred for further review by our enforcement staff. While we cannot ensure that every complaint will result in an investigation, at the conclusion of enforcement activity, if requested, we will furnish an understandable explanation of the outcome of our review and investigation.
Important Note: Title I of ERISA provides Participants and Beneficiaries with certain rights to request documents and file claims and appeals related to obtaining benefits. Although EBSA can assist you in understanding these rights and in attempting to informally resolve problems, it is important to review your plan documents and follow procedures for making requests and filing claims and appeals timely.