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Friday, June 10, 2011

What is an ERISA Summary Plan Description and How Do I Get Mine?

If you have benefits through work, your employer or union benefit plan is required by law to have a document that summarizes the key terms of the benefit plan. The law is called ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The summary is just that, a summary of the rules of the Plan. However, the law does not require that they give you a copy of the full rule book. Instead, that have to give you a summary, called the Summary Plan Description (abbreviated as “SPD”). You only get a copy if you ask for it, and the administrator of the ERISA Plan has 30 days to give you a copy of the SPD.

If you ever have to make a claim for benefits under your employer's or union's plan, be sure to get a copy of the SPD. It tells you what benefits are offered under the Plan, as well what the qualifications are to get the benefit you are seeking. We recommend that you ask for both the Plan Document and the Summary Plan Description to make sure you know all of the rules that apply to your Plan. Send a letter to your employer and the administrator (for example, the Plan's insurance company) asking for these documents by certified mail or some other method you can track (like overnight delivery carriers with tracking numbers). If they do not send you the documents within 30 days, send a second copy of the letter by overnight deliver with a tracking number. If they still don't send you the documents, call an ERISA attorney.

Copyright (c) 2011 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. For assistance with your Long Term Disability claim or ERISA Disability benefit claim, call Florida ERISA Disability Lawyer John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

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