Sometimes, retirement plan administrators, managers, and others involved with
the plan make mistakes. Some examples include:
Your 401k or individual account statement is consistently late or comes at
Your account balance does not appear to be accurate
Your employer fails to transmit your contribution to the plan on a timely basis
Your plan administrator does not give or send you a copy of the Summary Plan
Your benefit is calculated incorrectly.
It is important for you to know that you can follow up on any possible mistakes
without fear of retribution. Employers are prohibited by law from firing or
disciplining employees to avoid paying a benefit, as a reprisal for exercising
any of the rights provided under a plan or Federal retirement law (ERISA), or
for giving information or testimony in any inquiry or proceeding related to
Start With Your Employer And/Or Plan Administrator
If you find an error or have a question, in most cases, you can start by looking
for information in your Summary Plan Description. In addition, you can contact
your employer and/or the plan administrator and ask them to explain what has
happened and/or make a correction.
Is it possible to sue under ERISA?
Yes, you have a right to sue your plan and its fiduciaries to enforce or clarify
your rights under ERISA and your plan in the following situations:
To appeal a denied claim for benefits after exhausting your plan's claims review
To recover benefits due you
To clarify your right to future benefits
To obtain plan documents that you previously requested in writing but did not
To address a breach of a plan
To stop the plan from continuing any act or practice that violates the terms of
the plan or ERISA.
What is the role of the Labor Department?
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
is the agency responsible for enforcing the provisions of ERISA that govern the
conduct of plan fiduciaries, the investment and protection of plan assets, the
reporting and disclosure of plan information, and participants’ benefit rights
However, not all retirement plans are covered by ERISA. For example, Federal,
state, or local government plans and some church plans are not covered.
The Department of Labor enforces the law by informally resolving benefit
disputes, conducting investigations, and seeking correction of violations of the
law, including bringing lawsuits when necessary.
The Department has benefits advisors committed to providing individual
assistance to participants and beneficiaries. Participants will receive
information on their rights and responsibilities under the law and help in
obtaining benefits to which they are entitled.
Contact a benefits advisor by calling toll free at 1.866.444.EBSA (3272) or
electronically at http://askebsa.dol.gov.
Contact the Department of Labor’s EBSA for questions about ERISA, help obtaining
a benefit or if you believe your claim to benefits has been unjustly denied or
that your benefit was calculated incorrectly.
If you have information that plan assets are being mismanaged or misused;
If you think the plan fiduciaries are acting improperly; or If you think your
employer has been late in depositing your contributions (see