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Can pension disputes arise with defined contribution plans?

As far too many Ohio residents already know, pension disputes can arise with any type of retirement plan. Sometimes it is not possible to prevent a dispute. However, other times, knowledge of the plan combined with solid legal counsel can help employees avoid a disaster.

For people who are uninformed about retirement options, a defined contribution plan means that the employee -- and sometimes the employer--contributes to retirement funds. This type of retirement plan has become popular for employees because it offers several important benefits. Let's look at a few of them.

Filing tips to prevent long- and short-term disability disputes

A significant injury or illness can take you away from work for a long time or a short time. If you have disability insurance, you probably feel secure about your financial situation in the event of time away from your job. In truth, most employees in Ohio never expect that an insurance dispute could arise to make their situation even worse. However, long- and short-term disability disputes do occur.

Disputes occur for many reasons. Insurance companies are businesses, and as such, they do not like to shell out money if they feel that they do not have to. They may deny your disability claim hoping that you will not pursue the matter. Other times, errors you make when filing for benefits may cause long- or short-term disability disputes. To improve your odds of a successful insurance claim, consider following these filing tips.

  • Know your policy so that you can comply with all of its regulations
  • Start working on your claim as soon as possible to avoid a lengthy gap between your last paycheck and your first insurance payout
  • Make certain you provide the names and contact information for all of your medical providers
  • Inform your physicians that you are filing for disability so that they will be prepared to answer questions about your medical status
  • Take the proper steps to submit all requested information within established deadlines
  • Keep the lines of communication open between yourself and the company responsible for providing your benefits

When are employers legally required to pay severance?

Like most members of the Ohio workforce, you probably believe that severance payments are voluntary on the part of employers. This is certainly the case in most employment situations. However, there are times when the law requires employers to compensate workers upon the termination of their employment. When employers fail to do it may be possible to initiate a formal severance dispute, which can help you make ends meet until you find a new job.

If you held a C-Level, or executive, position within your company, you probably have a contract outlining the terms of your employment. In most cases, these agreements contain provisions detailing your right to severance pay. Obviously, this is one scenario in which an employer is legally bound to provide severance. Three situations in which you may qualify for severance pay without a contract include the following.

  • When your company's employee handbook or personnel policy promises severance pay upon termination
  • When your employer makes an oral promise to you that you will receive a severance package upon your termination
  • When the company for which you work has established a history of providing severance to terminated employees in circumstances similar to yours

Fighting for the short-term disability benefits you need

When you are unable to work due to a disabling medical condition, it can be disheartening. You may feel overwhelmed by the fact that you cannot earn a living to support yourself and your Ohio family. You may have short-term disability insurance through your employer or a personal insurance policy, but what happens if you have trouble getting the support you need?

If your limitations from your injury will likely not last long or it is not clear how long your recovery will last, you probably have valid grounds to file a short-term disability claim. This means that you will be able to get financial support for a limited amount of time or until you are able to go back to work. If you do not recover as expected, you may be able to then seek long-term disability benefits. 

Can you sue over life and accidental death insurance disputes?

Having insurance policies in place typically makes residents of Ohio feel secure about the future. This is particularly so when you acquire life insurance and/or accidental death insurance. While no insurance payout can make up for the loss of a loved one, it can help the bereaved face the future without suffering financial hardships.

Unfortunately, there are times when insurers deny claims filed by a deceased person's family members. In some cases, the denial may be justified, but in others, the insurer has no valid reason to issue a claim denial. These unfair denials can lead to life and accidental death insurance disputes, which complicates the process of healing after the death of someone you love.

Protecting your pension contributions from misuse

Losing all or even part of a pension plan is one of the most devastating events you could face in your lifetime. Like most Ohio residents, you have worked very hard and very long to build a nest egg that will fill your needs upon retirement. Even though the last thing you want is a pension dispute, you may one day need to deal with such a dispute if your retirement funds are at risk.

Many of us who work in America contribute to pension plans with our own personal funds. Typically, we trust the investors in charge of our retirement funds to make wise, well-informed investment decisions. In most cases, this trust is justified, but sometimes, investors misuse our contributions. As laymen, we might not know our funds are in danger, but there are ways to spot such misuse. Below are several warning signs indicating possible misuse of pension plan funds.

  • Your pension account balance is different from what you expected
  • Your statements reflect investments that you did not authorize
  • You see evidence of unusual transactions such as loans to your boss or your pension trustee
  • Your account statement does not show the contributions that you have made
  • Your account balance experiences a significant and unusual drop in funds
  • Your account statements arrive late or not at all

Examples of employer ERISA violations affecting Ohio residents

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is comprised of federal laws developed to protect the workforce. Those who qualify for ERISA work for private companies that offer employees retirement plans, health insurance and other benefits.

As with other federal benefit programs, ERISA can be complex. This means that it is easy for employers to violate the program. In most cases, the employer does not want to interfere with a worker's benefits, but it can happen all the same. Below you will find several of the most common ways an employer can violate ERISA plans.

  • Wrongfully denying current or former employees access to their benefits
  • Interfering with the rights of workers who are covered by these plans
  • Breach of the employer's fiduciary duty to employees covered by ERISA

Do you have a bad faith claim against the life insurance company?

Your loved one spent years faithfully paying premiums for the life insurance policy in which you were the beneficiary. Upon his or her death, you expected to receive the proceeds of that policy.

When you file a legitimate claim, the insurance company refuses to pay on the policy or fails to process your claim in a timely manner. What is going on here? Is the insurance company acting in bad faith?

What are the pros and cons of long-term disability insurance?

Ohio is full of hard-working individuals who want to make certain they remain protected in the face of a debilitating illness or injury. Many people approach such concerns by comparing different types of disability insurance policies. For some, long-term disability insurance is the logical way to avoid a future financial disaster if tragedy strikes and renders them unable to continue working.

As with all insurance plans, there are advantages and disadvantages to disability insurance. One of the most troubling cons involves dealing with long-term disability disputes when an insurer refuses to pay a claim. Other cons associated with long-term policies include the following:

  • Most people must endure a waiting period of 90 or more days before they can collect on their claims
  • Often, long-term disability insurance policies only cover the insured for a specific length of time (typically two to five years)
  • You may lose some of your Social Security benefits when you choose a long-term disability policy

Think ahead to avoid severance disputes down the road

Employment in the 20th and 21st centuries is much different than it was decades ago. Many members of the Ohio workforce know better than to accept an unfair employment agreement, for example. Despite this increased attention to detail, some workers still walk away from a termination with an unfair severance package.

It is safe to say that no one wants to deal with severance disputes addressing unfair treatment, but what other options exist for employees? Thinking ahead can be a solution to help you avoid severance disputes before they have a chance to occur.

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Law Offices of Tony C. Merry, LLC
7100 North High Street
Suite 302
Worthington, Ohio 43085-2567

Phone: 614-372-7114
Fax: 614-505-6109
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