People in Washington, D.C., may face unexpected and unpleasant results when they seek to file a claim on their disability benefits in the workplace. In one case, a man is suing his former employer as well as the insurance company involved, alleging that they are violating his rights by denying his long-term disability benefits. The man says that the companies' actions violate the protections for workers found in the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA.
It can be particularly important for public and federal sector workers in the District of Columbia to understand the protections and rights attached to employee benefits. Since benefits packages for public employees can often be quite valuable, they are a major incentive convincing people to prefer a government job to a corporate alternative. The dedication to community -- and, at times, lower salaries -- of government workers are rewarded with secure, generous benefits that include health insurance, disability protection and extensive retirement plans.
The Department of Labor has changed a rule about health benefits that could affect workers in the District of Columbia and across the country, particularly those who work for small businesses. The rule change was prompted by a 2017 executive order by President Trump and is intended to promote the creation of Association Health Plans or AHPs. These plans are designed to provide a form of group health insurance for small employers who come together to form an association. Because they can be considered large group policies rather than small group or individual policies, they are exempt from some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Workers in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country filed 107 401k lawsuits in 2016 and 2017. That was the highest since 2008 and 2009 when 169 such suits were filed. Excessive fees, self-dealing and poor investment choices are the three main reasons why a 401k lawsuit could be filed. In some cases, a lawsuit is the result of relatively vague guidance given to fiduciaries.
Workers in Washington, D.C., whose retirement plans are managed by TIAA might have a stake in the lawsuit filed against the company by one investor. The attorneys for the plaintiff are pursuing a class-action suit on the grounds that TIAA allegedly made over $50 million a year by keeping interest from payments made by retirement plan participants who took loans. According to the lawsuit, the company should have credited interest paid by borrowers to their retirement accounts instead of keeping some of the money.
Your employer offered health, disability, retirement, life or COBRA insurance or other benefits and now the insurance company is trying to deny them. These benefits are supposed to be provided based on the plan's terms -- not the plan's financial situation or other factors. If the benefits were offered and you qualify for them, they should be paid out, right?
Located in Washington, D.C., the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the Department of Labor returned over $1.1 billion to employee benefits plans in 2017. The funds were restored to health plans, retirement plans and life and disability insurance benefit plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.