The Employment Retirement Income Security Act is one that many people won't be familiar with. This plan is often part of your work benefits, and it's something you should familiarize yourself with. ERISA, as the act is better known, was enacted in 1974 and became one of the primary ways of regulating employee retirement benefits and pension plans.
The federal ERISA law sets minimum standards for pension and health plans through the private industry. ERISA also protects those who have become part of its program through their employers. When you have an ERISA plan, you must receive plan information, funding and feature information, your fiduciary responsibilities as well as those of your employer or the person controlling your plans, and you must be told about your right to sue if your rights are violated with regard to your benefits or if the person responsible for your benefits breaches his or her duties.
What could be a violation of ERISA? Selling your information off, which could include private medical information, is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It is illegal to share that information without your prior consent. Another violation could be if your money is spent from the account without your authorization.
Because you are protected under ERISA, if you question anything that has happened with your pension plan or other benefits, you may want to discuss those changes with someone familiar with recent amendments to ERISA. Our website has more information about ERISA and what it covers, so you can understand it better and know if your rights have been violated.