In 1975, Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in response to widespread abuse of employee pension plans by employers. While ERISA does not require any employer to establish a pension program, it does provide minimum standards for employers who choose to do so and grants important rights to employees who participate. In essence, the purpose of the law is to ensure that if a company offers a pension, a participating employee can, after long years of work, expect the pension to be reasonably maintained and disbursed upon retirement.
But ERISA is a complicated law and relying on your employer to tell you your rights can be unwise. If you are concerned about your pension or if your employer is trying to change your pension or deny your benefits, consult an Illinois pension fund attorney at DeBofsky, Sherman & Casciari, PC
Illinois pension plan lawyer
ERISA covers most private-sector pension plans but does not apply to pensions for state or local government employees. It covers defined benefit plans-where benefits are paid from a trust or other account shared by all participants-as well as defined contribution plans-where each participant has a separate account. An Illinois pension plan lawyer can advise you how ERISA affects your particular pension plan.
In most cases, an employer cannot require an employee to work for more than a year in order to participate in a defined benefit pension plan. Under ERISA, employees gain vested rights to their pension benefits after a defined number of years of service. An employer cannot take away vested pension rights unless the employee consents.
Employers are also, in many cases, required to pay benefits to the surviving spouse of a pension participant, even if that participant dies before retirement. ERISA prohibits those responsible for administering pension funds from engaging in certain transactions with pension assets. These persons are liable for any losses caused by the mishandling of pension funds and must post a bond to ensure their responsibility. Knowledge of these rights and protections under ERISA is essential not only for your retirement security but for your peace of mind as well. An Illinois ERISA lawyer can advise you how best to protect the financial future of you and your family.
A Chicago pension attorney can help you protect your rights
If your employer tries to alter your pension or refuses to pay the pension benefits, you are entitled to receive, a Chicago, Illinois pension fund lawyer from DeBofsky, Sherman & Casciari, PC can guide you to the best course of action. Call us today at 312-702-1842 or 800-237-5182 or contact us online.