Hi, thanks for submitting your question today. Your claim is covered under a law known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act which covers all work-based health and retirement plans
. Generally, the plan must follow the plan documentation of survivors; i.e., pay out to whomever is listed as the beneficiary regardless of who would have the most just right to the funds with some exceptions.
You should first request all the plan documents, under ERISA
. If they refuse to do this within 30 days, that refusal is a violation of ERISA and a $100 a day penalty; make the demand by certified mail. If documents are not sent to you, then you'll have to take the matter to federal court - see below.
Then, after reviewing the documents, if you still believe you are rightfully owed the benefits, you can file a claim for the benefits. If the plan denies your claim, then you have to follow the plans appeal process. If it is denied at the administrative appeal, your next and only option for recourse is to file a federal lawsuit against the plan. A few points need to be mentioned you are precluded from offering evidence in federal court if you do not present it at the administrative appeal. Lastly, the issues in these cases involve a complex body of law. Thus, you should consider retaining a local attorney that specializes in ERISA and/or employee pension claims.
I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – select the Reply to Expert or Continue Conversation button. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.