Except for health coverage, there is no requirement that private companies offer employee benefits.
Federal law does require, though, that firms that offer benefits live up to their promises.
That’s where the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, comes in. It says that companies must adequately fund any benefit it promises employees, from pensions to life and disability insurance. It requires companies to carefully spell out the details of those plans and to make sure employees have that information. It mandates a fair and fast process for making claims.
It can include 401(k) plans, health savings accounts, life insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability, and much more.
It’s a complex area of the law for both companies trying to manage the programs and workers trying to figure things out when trouble arises.
That’s why it’s important for an employee who’s denied benefits to consult an experienced ERISA attorney as soon as possible.
Nekki Shutt is our lead employee benefits attorney. She’s worked in the field for decades, first in a corporate human relations department and then as an attorney.
She’s literally written the book on ERISA litigation, authoring chapters in the South Carolina Bar’s definitive guide to employment law. Peers have recognized her work – she’s been honored as the Lawyer of the Year in ERISA litigation for the Midlands.
Clients have benefited from her combination of experience, knowledge and tenacity. She’s battled big companies on behalf of disabled workers. She’s fought to force insurance companies to pay medical bills. She’s advocated for hundreds of clients over the years, pushing employers, insurers and the law on behalf of workers whose backs are against the wall.
Sometimes employees are tempted to go it alone at first, thinking the claim will be quickly resolved. That’s usually a mistake. Remember that companies have people who work with ERISA every day. They, in turn, are backed by insurance companies and their lawyers. Help balance that out by turning to Burnette Shutt & McDaniel to represent you.