Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for retirement and health plans that are voluntarily established by private sector employers to provide protection for individual participants in these plans.
ERISA requires plans to provide participants with information regarding plan features and funding; imposes fiduciary duties on those who manage and control plan assets; requires plans to establish a grievance and appeals process for participants to seek disputed benefits from their plans; and gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.
ERISA protects plans from mismanagement and misuse of assets through its fiduciary provisions.
ERISA has very strict claims and appeals procedures. Failure to follow those procedures can result in a loss or reduction of benefits.
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