Enforce Your Rights
If your claim for a benefit under the plan is denied, in whole or in part, you have the right to:
- Know why benefit was denied
- Obtain copies of documents relating to the decision without charge
- Appeal any denial, all within certain time schedules
Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce the above rights. For instance, if you request materials from the plan and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in federal court. In such a case, the court may require the plan to provide the materials and pay you up to $110 a day until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the Administrator.
If you have a claim for benefits which is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you may file suit in a state or federal court. In addition, if you disagree with the Plan’s decision or lack thereof concerning the qualified status of a domestic relations order, you may file suit in court.
If it should happen that the plan fiduciaries misuse the Plan’s money, or if you are discriminated against for asserting your rights, you may seek assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor, or you may file suit in federal court. The court will decide who should pay court costs and legal fees. If you are successful the court may order the person you have sued to pay these costs and fees. If you lose, the court may order you to pay these costs and fees. (For example, if it finds your claim frivolous.)