As a Participant in the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local Union No. 73 Welfare Fund, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA). ERISA provides that all Plan Participants are entitled to the following rights.
Receive Information About Your Plan and Benefits
You have the right to:
- Examine, without charge, at the Fund Administrator’s office and at other specified locations, such as worksites and union halls, all documents governing the Plan. These include insurance contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and a copy of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) filed by the Plan with the U.S. Department of Labor and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).
- Obtain, upon written request to the Fund Administrator, copies of documents governing the operation of the Plan. These include insurance contracts and collective bargaining agreements, and copies of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) and updated summary plan description. The Fund Administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies.
- Receive a summary of the Plan’s annual financial report. The Fund Administrator is required by law to furnish each Participant with a copy of this summary annual report.
Continue Group Health Plan Coverage
You also have the right to:
Continue healthcare coverage for yourself, spouse, or Dependents if there is a loss of coverage under the Plan as a result of a qualifying event. You or your Dependents may have to pay for such coverage. Review this summary plan description and the documents governing the Plan for the rules governing your COBRA continuation coverage rights.
Prudent Actions by Plan Fiduciaries
In addition to creating rights for Plan Participants, ERISA imposes duties upon the people who are responsible for the operation of the Employee benefit plan. The people who operate your Plan, called “fiduciaries” of the Plan, have a duty to do so prudently and in the interest of you and other Plan Participants and beneficiaries. No one, including your Employer, your Union, or any other person, may fire you or otherwise discriminate against you in any way to prevent you from obtaining a welfare benefit or exercising your rights under ERISA.
Enforce Your Rights
If your claim for a welfare benefit is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, you have a right to know why this was done, to obtain copies of documents relating to the decision without charge, and to 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 a copy of the Plan documents or the latest annual report from the Plan and do not receive them within 30 days, you may file suit in a federal court. In such a case, the court may require the Fund Administrator 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 Fund Administrator.
If you have a claim for benefits that 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 medical child support order, you may file suit in federal court. If it should happen that 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 a 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 is frivolous.
Assistance with Your Questions
If you have any questions about your Plan, you should contact the Fund Administrator. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, or if you need assistance in obtaining documents from the Fund Administrator, you should contact the nearest office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), U.S. Department of Labor, listed in your telephone directory or:
The Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries
Employee Benefits Security Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
You may also obtain certain publications about your rights and responsibilities under ERISA by calling the publications hotline of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). For single copies of publications, contact the EBSA Brochure Request Line at 866-444-3272 or contact the EBSA field office nearest you.
You may also find answers to your Plan questions at the website of the EBSA at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/. A list of EBSA Field Offices is located at http://www.dol.gov/ ebsa/aboutebsa.