Your Rights Under ERISA

Your Right to Receive Information About Your Plan and Benefits

As a participant in the Electrical Workers Local No. 26 Pension Plan, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The Board of Trustees complies fully with this law and encourages you to first seek assistance from the Fund Office when you have questions or problems that involve the Plan.

ERISA provides that all participant and beneficiaries are entitled to certain rights as outlined in the following information. 

Receive Information About Your Plan and Benefits

You have the right to:

  • Examine, without charge, at the Fund Office and at other specified locations, such as worksites where at least 50 participants are employed and the Union Hall, all documents governing the Plan, including insurance contracts and Collective Bargaining Agreements, and a copy of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) filed by the Plan with the U.S. Department of Labor and available at the Public Disclosure Room of the Employee Benefit Security Administration.
  • Obtain, upon written request to the Fund Office, copies of documents governing the operation of the Plan, including insurance contracts and Collective Bargaining Agreements, copies of the latest annual report (Form 5500 Series) and updated summary plan description. The Fund Office may make a reasonable charge for the copies.
  • Receive a summary of the Plan’s annual financial report. 
  • Obtain a statement telling you whether you have a right to receive a pension benefit at normal retirement (age 62, or if later, the fifth anniversary of your participation in the Plan) and if so, what your benefits would be at Normal Retirement Age if you stop working under the Plan now. If you do not have a right to a pension, the statement will tell you how many more years you have to work to get a right to a pension. This statement must be requested in writing and is not required to be given more than once every twelve (12) months. The Plan must provide the statement free of charge.
  • Obtain, upon written request, a complete list of the employers and employee organizations sponsoring the Plan.
  • Obtain, upon written request, information as to whether a particular employer or employee organization is a sponsor of the Plan and the sponsor’s address.
  • Obtain, within 30 days upon written request, the following documents:
    • Any periodic actuarial reports for any plan year that have been in the Plan’s possession for at least 30 days.
    • Any quarterly, semi-annual, or annual financial report prepared for the Plan by any Plan investment manager, advisor or other fiduciary which has been in the Plan’s possession for at least 30 days.
    • Any application filed with the IRS requesting an amortization extension and the result of such application.

Prudent Actions by Plan Fiduciaries

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 pension benefit or exercising your rights under ERISA.

Steps You Can Take to Enforce Your Rights

If your claim for a pension benefit is ignored or denied, in whole or in part, you have a right, within certain time schedules:

  • To know why this was done;
  • To obtain copies of documents relating to the decision without charge; and
  • To appeal any denial.

Under ERISA, there are steps you can take to enforce your rights. For example, if you request, in writing, a copy of the 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 Plan 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 Plan Administrator.

If you have a claim for benefits that is denied or ignored, in whole or in part, after you have complied with the appeal process of the Plan, 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 domestic relations order, you may file suit.

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 person 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.

Assistance With Your Questions

If you have any questions about your Plan, you should contact the Fund Office. If you have any questions about this statement or about your rights under ERISA, or if you need assistance in obtaining documents from the Fund Office, you should contact the nearest office of the Employee Benefit Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, listed in your telephone directory or the:

Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries Employee Benefit Security
Administration (EBSA)
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room N1513
Washington, DC 20210

You may also obtain certain publications about your rights and responsibilities under ERISA by calling the publications hotline of the Employee Benefit Security Administration at 202-693-8673.