Many District of Columbia workers depend on private employer-sponsored retirement plans. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 directs the operation of defined contribution plans, but some view the law as in need of a legislative overhaul. Until such a correction might be forthcoming, retirement plan disputes must be settled through private talks or litigation. Inconsistent decisions in lower courts, however, have inspired a deluge of petitions to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Lawmakers in Washington D.C. created the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to direct the design and operation of retirement plans for private-sector employees. ERISA does not apply to retirement plans operated for employees of government agencies, and workers at Indian tribal governments largely fall into the non-ERISA category. An amendment to the act in 2006 altered this landscape for plan sponsors at Indian tribal governments and granted ERISA protections to workers employed within tribal commercial enterprises.
Many District of Columbia residents have built their careers in the public sector. One thing that can make these jobs so appealing is the exceptional benefits they offer, often significantly superior to those available to workers in the private sector. Government and other public service employees often have strong insurance packages that include disability, retirement and health benefits. However, even people who believe they can rely on great benefits may be shocked by an unjust denial or a dismissed benefits claim.
The nation's highest court may rule in Washington, D.C., on which party is responsible for proving loss causation when a dispute over the management of defined contribution benefit plans goes to court. One company currently involved in such a case appealed to the Supreme Court to settle the disparate approaches taken among federal appeals courts about who must prove losses when plan members file suit over fiduciary breaches of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which protects employee benefits from misuse or fraud.
Governmental agencies employ many workers in Washington D.C. These organizations generally qualify for the government exemption to operational rules for pension and benefit plans imposed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. A brewing class action lawsuit brought by a group of current and former hospital employees has challenged the health care organization's assertion that ERISA rules do not apply to its health plan because it is a governmental entity.
Metropolitan Life Insurance is being sued by participants of its retirement plans for alleged underpayment. The plaintiffs claim that the company's benefits committee purposefully used outdated mortality rates to pay out less money. MetLife, which has customers in Washington D.C. and other parts of the country, faces this lawsuit in New York federal court.
A number of changes have been made to the procedures involved with ERISA benefits claims that may affect workers and employers in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. It is important for workers and their employers to be aware of these changes because they could impact the way in which disability claims are handled.
For workers in Washington, D.C. and across the country, employee benefits can be a critical part of their compensation and their preparation for the future. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) aims to protect workers' pensions, insurance plans and other benefits from being squandered. However, the procedures for filing ERISA benefits claims can be complex.
Workers within the federal and public service sectors in Washington D.C. focus their careers on community-oriented goals. As a reward for serving social needs like teaching, you earn extensive benefits that include retirement savings, health insurance and disability insurance. You work hard with the expectation of falling back on these generous programs in your time of need, and a benefits denial hits especially hard when you have given years of service to an organization. You might need outside legal advice to get clear information about the appeals process that would not be forthcoming from your employer.
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.