Pension & Retirement Benefit DisputesHelping Employees Secure the Benefits They Are Counting On for Retirement
After years of dedicated service to your employer, you should be able to count on the pension benefits promised to you at retirement. Yet, when it comes to collecting pension benefits, it is all too common for employees to encounter glitches. For example, your pension benefit amount is different than what you had expected, certain years of service have not been counted, contributions have not been made, or perhaps you are being told you never qualified for coverage under a pension plan you were relying on.
Hawks Quindel’s pension and retirement benefit attorneys understand the importance of your retirement benefits to your financial future. As knowledgeable and experienced counselors in employee benefits, they will exercise all legal means to protect the benefits you deserve.
Types of Pension Plans
There are many different types of pension benefits, but generally pension plans fall into two broad categories, defined contribution and defined benefit. Defined contribution plans include 401(k), 403(b), profit sharing and thrift savings plans. These plans involve regular contributions from the employer, employee or both. The monies are invested into individual accounts and reap the gains or losses of the market. Defined benefit plans promise a specific benefit to employees at retirement. The benefits are calculated based on a formula, which usually takes into account the employee’s age, years of service and salary or work earnings. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) typically applies to these employer-sponsored plans, unless you work for the government or a church-related entity.
Your Employer Must Comply with ERISA Regulations and the Plan Terms
Congress passed ERISA to protect employees’ rights to their pension benefits. Employers must comply with ERISA’s minimum standards. For instance, employers are required to allow participants access to information, such as the plan documents, financial statements and annual reports. They must adhere to the standards for participation, vesting and funding. The fiduciaries who administer the plan must do so in the participants’ best interest, and they must act prudently in their investment choices. Further, employers must obey all of the plan terms so long as those terms are consistent with ERISA.
If you have questions about your pension benefits, Hawks Quindel can help. The employee benefits attorneys will provide a thorough review of your eligibility for benefits and take all steps necessary to secure the pension benefits wrongfully denied to you. Contact us today to discuss your rights.