As a participant in the Local 734 Welfare Fund, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employer Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). ERISA provides that all Plan particpants shall be entitled to:
Receive Information About Your Plan and Benefits
Continue Group Health Plan Coverage
Reduction or Elimination of Exclusionary Period for Preexisting Conditions
You have a right to a reduction or elimination of exclusionary periods of coverage for preexisting conditions under this Plan, if you have creditable coverage from another plan.
Prudent Actions By Plan Beneficiaries
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 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 administrator. If you have a claim for benefits which 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 you believe that Plan fiduciaries misuse the Plan’s money, or if you believe 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. If you have any questions about your Plan, you should contact the Fund Administrator.
Assistance With Your Questions
If you have any questions about this statement or 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, 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 Administratin. You may also find answers to your questions and list list of EBSA field offices at the website of the EBSA at www.dol.gov/ebsa
How To Read or Get Plan Material
You can read the material listed in the previous section by making an appointment at the Fund Office during normal business hours. This same information can be made available for your examination at certain locations other than the Fund Office. The Fund office will inform you of these locations and tell you how to make an appointment to examine this material at these locations. Also, copies of the material will be mailed to you if you send a written request to the Fund office. There may be a small charge for copying some of the material. Before requesting material, call the Fund office to find out the cost. If a charge is made, your check must be attached to your written request for the material.