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ERISA Rights

Your Rights Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)
As a participant in the ITPEU Annual Benefit Plan, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA provides that all plan participants shall be entitled to:

  • Examine, without charge, at the plan administrator's office and at other specified locations, such as union offices, all plan documents, including insurance contracts, collective bargaining agreements and copies of all documents filed by the plan with the U.S. Department of Labor, such as detailed annual reports and plan descriptions.
  • Obtain copies of all plan documents and other plan information upon written request to the plan administrator. The administrator may make a reasonable charge for the copies.
  • Receive a summary of the plan's annual financial report. The plan administrator is required by law to furnish each participant with a copy of this summary annual report.

In addition to creating rights for the plan participants, ERISA imposes duties upon the people who are responsible for the operation of the 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 benefit under the plan or exercising your right under ERISA.

If your claim for a benefit is denied in whole or in part, you must receive a written explanation of the reason(s) for the denial. You have the right to have the plan review and reconsider your claim. 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 a federal court. In such a case, the court may require the plan administrator to provide the materials and pay you up to $100 a day until you receive the materials, unless the materials were not sent because of reasons beyond the control of the plan administrator. If you have a claim for benefit which is denied in whole or in part, you may file suit in a state or 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 persons 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.

If you have any question about your plan, you should contact the plan administrator. If you have any questions about this statement, or about your rights under ERISA, you should contact the nearest Area Office of the Labor Management Services Administration, U.S. Department of Labor.