Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Your claim to benefits is covered under a law known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The law provides that at a minimum, the plan must provide that you will start receiving benefits within 60 days after the end of the plan year in which you satisfy the conditions for retirement. Most plans however provide that benefits are to be paid within 90 days of application. You have a right to all plan documents within 30 days of request under the law.
One option you have is you could try contacting the Department of Labor - Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) to file a complaint against the plan. EBSA will try to resolve the issue with the plan and possibly issue a fine against them for non-compliance. EBSA is a federal agency and does not charge you anything. If that sounds like something you're interested in, then you can contact EBSA or file an on-line complaint with them at this link here.
Another course of action would be to mail (return receipt requested) the plan under Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). State that you are demanding the pension application documents pursuant to ERISA and if they refuse you will be pursuing all available remedies under ERISA. If they then fail to do this within 30 days, that refusal is a violation of ERISA and a $100 a day penalty. You could then file an action to force them to get you your pension documents and for payment of the penalty.
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.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX will be sending another letter. Just one more thing. They said on the phone that I am not entitled to any pension because I haven't worked in 2 years, so to them, I left the industry.
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