Many American employees depend on a pension after they retire or become disabled to support themselves. The United States has laws in place designed to protect the right of an employee to receive a retirement benefit.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, (ERISA) establishes minimum standards for pension plans in the private sector. It protects employees who participate in retirement benefit plans and their beneficiaries. Once a pension plan is established, ERISA regulates what the pension plan can and cannot do.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
The history of ERISA began when President John F. Kennedy created the President’s Committee on Corporate Plans in 1961. The pension reform movement gained additional momentum after the Studebaker Corporation closed its plant in 1963 and failed to provide all employees with their proper retirement benefits. After this, in 1967, New York Senator Jacob Javits proposed legislation that would further regulate pension plans and benefits. Although initially opposed by business groups, the push for pension legislation reached a feverish pitch after NBC released a television special called Pensions: The Broken Promise. With popular support for the laws, ERISA came into effect in 1974. ERISA has been amended many times by Congress and today it is a very complicated statute.
ERISA Pension Regulations
ERISA does not require employers to establish retirement plans. However, once in place, the law regulates the plan’s operation and its distribution of benefits. ERISA requires vesting of employees’ pension benefits after participating in the pension plan a specified number of years. Retirement plans are required to meet certain financial requirements. Furthermore, the law controls the way in which the plan delivers benefits. ERISA also created the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation which pays guaranteed benefits when the pension plan does not have sufficient assets.
Located in Manhattan, the law firm of Cary Kane LLP has experienced ERISA lawyers who can help you obtain the pension benefits you are entitled to receive. If you are experiencing problems with your retirement benefits or have been denied a pension you think you are entitled to receive, contact a New York ERISA Lawyer at Cary Kane LLP to schedule an immediate consultation.