Employee Benefits Lawyer
When employers offer benefits like a 401(k) plan, health insurance, or life insurance, employees have legal rights in the event of a dispute.
The federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, commonly referred to as ERISA, governs employee benefits and protects the rights of all plan participants.
Disputes falling under ERISA guidelines are complex and quite specialized.
Whether you’re an employee who needs to file a claim or an employer who needs assistance setting up a plan, you need to speak with a skilled employee benefits lawyer.
Types of Employee Benefit Plans
ERISA regulations cover a wide variety of employee benefit plans. At Peace Law Firm, we can assist with all types of employee benefits plans.
Retirement and Pension Plans
We can provide legal counsel on many aspects of covered retirement plans offered by private employers. Defined-contribution and defined-benefit plans are subject to ERISA regulations.
However, government and religious organization retirement plans do not fall under ERISA guidelines.
Those covered plans can include pensions, 401(k)s, profit-sharing, and deferred-compensation plans. To qualify, the plan must meet federal requirements for participation, funding, vesting, and benefit accruals.
Long-term disability insurance plans and subsequent employee claims are not the same as Social Security disability. SSI and SSDI do not fall under ERISA litigation. At Peace Law Firm, we handle only claims related to ERISA disability plans, not SSI or SSDI claims.
When compared with individual plans, ERISA long-term disability plans tend to define disability more narrowly. The claims process is very precise and has strict filing deadlines.
Employees looking to file a claim will be required to exhaust all internal and administrative appeals before filing an appeal in court.
Life Insurance Policies
Insurers often deny claims under life and accidental death policies. Some insurers may claim the person’s injury or death was not an accident. Others may point to negligence on the part of a third party.
Like other claims under ERISA, life insurance ones are specialized. This process is different when compared with presenting a claim under an individually owned life insurance policy.
In most cases, beneficiaries will have only 60 days to appeal, so it’s important to act fast when receiving a claim denial.
Welfare and Health Benefits
Health insurance and related welfare benefit plan offerings can be quite diverse. There are also several potential issues that must be addressed when creating and administering these plans. Employers need to take things like HIPAA privacy rules and COBRA plans into consideration.
If you are an employer who needs assistance with welfare plans, a South Carolina employee benefits lawyer is the person to call. We can assist with all ERISA issues related to establishing and administering various welfare and health benefit plans.
Executive Compensation Plans
Executive compensation plans are often available for certain company executives. These benefits are not available to all salaried employees. These programs are not protected by the same rules, nor are they typically backed by a trust. This means that in the event the company becomes insolvent or files bankruptcy; an executive might lose their benefits.
Two main types of executive benefit plans can include non-qualified deferred compensation plans and supplemental employee retirement plans, or SERPs. Non-qualified deferred compensation plans let executives voluntarily defer their salary and bonuses until retirement, death, or a certain date. SERPs are supplemental to traditional retirement plans.
Designing executive compensation plans can be complex, and typically include a number of components, including salary, short-term incentives, and long-term incentives. To make sure you have the right executive compensation plan in place, we recommend speaking with qualified legal counsel.
Fiduciary Matters Related to ERISA Litigation
Employers have a fiduciary duty to plan participants. An employee benefits attorney can help companies learn how to navigate all the legal requirements of potential benefits packages.
We can provide information on what is prohibited under ERISA and how to make sure employers also follow the Department of Labor regulations.
When an employer breaches their fiduciary duty, an employee might have a claim.
If you are an employee who feels that your employer violated their duty, then you need the assistance of an experienced ERISA litigation attorney who can help.
Filing an Employee Benefits Claim
The claims process under ERISA is pretty standardized. However, insurance companies have learned how to sway the process in their favor. The end result is a large number of claims that may be delayed, denied, or underpaid.
Applying for benefits is not as straightforward as you might assume. That is why you need an attorney who understands the process. Making sure you provide the plan administrator what they need can mean the difference between receiving benefits or navigating the complicated appeals process.
When you retain Peace Law Firm as your ERISA benefits attorney, we can assist with a variety of claim-related tasks, including:
- Completing the necessary forms needed for your application;
- Preparing a comprehensive record of your treatment, illness, or disability;
- Requesting any missing documentation;
- Ensuring your claim records are comprehensive; and
- Minimizing any potentially damaging information that could affect your case.
Getting all the information right in your initial claim is critical. It’s not necessarily easy to go back and add additional information. That is one reason hiring an employee benefits lawyer from the start is recommended.
There’s a much higher chance of being denied for benefits if you apply on your own.
Contact a South Carolina Employee Benefits Attorney Today
Understanding employee benefit plans can feel overwhelming. For employers, finding the right plans, understanding how to set them up, and administering them can be confusing. These are not topics that most people deal with regularly. And once everything is in place, making sure to adhere to all legal guidelines requires the proper training undertaken by an experienced attorney.
For employees, getting the benefits they are owed under these benefit plans is crucial. When the plan unfairly denies a claim or an employer breaches their fiduciary duty the employee may not know how to collect the benefits they are owed.
If you want to file a claim for benefits, you need an employee benefits lawyer who understands every aspect of the various types of ERISA-governed plans. Employers can also benefit from the expertise of a Greenville employee benefits lawyer who can help them choose and administer their benefits plans.
Contact Peace Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about how we can help.