As a plan participant you have certain rights under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The act provides that you are entitled to:
- Examine all plan documents, including insurance contracts, and annual reports and plan descriptions filed with the US. Department of Labor.
- Obtain copies of all plan documents and other plan information upon written request to the plan administrator. The administrator may make a reasonable charge for copies.
- Automatically receive a summary of the plan's annual financial report.
- Obtain once a year, upon written request, a statement of the retirement benefits to which you are now entitled, payable at age 65.
Plan fiduciaries – those who are responsible for the activities of a plan – have an obligation to act prudently and in the interests of plan participants and beneficiaries.
If a claim for benefits is denied, you are entitled to receive a written explanation of the reason, and have the right to have the claim reconsidered.
No one may dismiss or discriminate against you to prevent you from obtaining benefits or exercising your rights under ERISA.
There are steps you can take to enforce the above rights:
- If you do not receive materials requested within 30 days, you may file suit in federal court. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the administrator may be required to pay you up to $100 a day until you receive the materials.
- If a benefits claim is denied or ignored, you may file suit in state or federal court.
- If fiduciaries misuse plan money, or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the US. Department of Labor or file suit in federal court. When a suit is filed, the court will decide who should pay court costs and legal fees. If you are successful, the court may order the person sued to pay costs and fees. If you lose, for example if your claim is frivolous, the court may order you to pay costs and fees.
If you have questions about any College benefit plan, you should contact the Director of Human Resources.
If you have any questions about this statement or your rights under ERISA, you should contact the nearest Area Office of the US. Labor-Management Services Administration, Department of Labor.
In accordance with ERISA, the President of the College and the Chief Financial Offers of the College have been designated by the Board of Trustees as the named fiduciaries of the employee pension and welfare benefit plans subject to ERISA. The Director of Human Resources has been designated as Administrator of the subject plans.
As of January 1, 1986, the following plans were subject to ERISA:
- Health Insurance Plans
- Retirement Plan
- Tax-Deferred Annuity Plan
- Life Insurance Plan (with accidental death and dismemberment benefits)
- Total Disability Insurance Plan