Employee Benefits Law Report

Tag Archives: Employee Benefits/ERISA

IRS provides guidance to 403(b) plan sponsors who can’t locate participants required to receive distributions (but be mindful of DOL rules too)

The IRS’s Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division recently issued a memorandum (the memo) to its auditors that directed them not to challenge a 403(b) plan as failing to satisfy the required minimum distribution (RMD) standards under circumstances set out in the memo. This guidance is helpful to 403(b) plan sponsors and consistent with missing participant procedures that the IRS set forth for qualified plan sponsors last year. For those 403(b) plans that are governed by ERISA, however, we note that the Department of Labor (DOL) requires plan sponsors to follow additional standards. We describe these issues below.…

Sixth Circuit Upholds Denial of ERISA-Based Income Protection Benefits; Plan Administrator Need Not Investigate Whether the Employer Violated FMLA

I wanted to direct our readers to a recent post from Brian Hall – Editor of our sister blog – Employer Law Report – regarding a recent Sixth Circuit decision in Farhner v. United Transportation Union Discipline Income Protection Plan.  As Brian states:

… a well-drafted ERISA income protection or severance pay plan should enable the plan administrator to rely on the employer’s stated reason for termination of an employee, rather than conducting an independent review of the facts regarding the termination.

Click here to read Brian’s complete post.…

Supreme Court Time Travels with an ERISA Case

Supreme Court decisions about ERISA cases, while infrequent, typically contain some surprises, as demonstrated most recently in CIGNA Corp. v. Amara.

In 1997, CIGNA notified employees that it was freezing accruals under its traditional defined benefit plan, and converting the plan into a cash balance plan. A cash balance plan is a “hybrid” defined benefit plan with features similar to a defined contribution plan. The method for determining accruals under the cash balance plan is different from the method under the traditional defined benefit plan, and in many cases takes into consideration the benefits already accrued under the traditional …

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